Mr. Baseball was a added to my Baseball Movie Classics list based on three things: it’s about baseball, Netflix suggested it when I was adding these movies to my queue, and it stars Tom Selleck. I think I may have inherited my fondness directly from my mom, who has a non-secret Thing for him. (Looking at my dad, maybe it’s the mustache?) Personally, I’m a sucker for a dude with a deep, good-sounding voice, and Tom Selleck fits the bill. Or maybe I just love Three Men and a Baby/Little Lady and transfer that love to Tom Selleck in general. Okay fine, I like Tom Selleck! So sue me!
Ahem. Anyway, in Mr. Baseball, Tom plays aging first baseman Jack Elliot. He’s old, there’s a new first baseman in town, and the only team interested in Elliot is the Chunichi Dragons in Japan. So Elliot goes to Japan, where he is instantly a big star. To be perfectly honest, this movie was kind of boring and I may have… slept through a good chunk of the middle and part of the end as well. It’s not so much about the game of baseball, but about the brash American Jack Elliot having no respect or understanding for Japanese culture or its impact on baseball. (For example, there’s a big to-do about how Japanese players consider the field to be sacred, meaning no spitting. So Elliot shows how annoyed he is about the rules and strictness by chewing a big wad of tobacco and spitting on the field.) It was made in 1992 and comes off as dated, but not in the charming way, in the this-is-verging-on-offensive way. And as much as I love you, Tom Selleck, I couldn’t even stay awake for the meat of the movie. So perhaps I was a bit brash in adding this to my list. But that’s part of why this project is a ton of fun.