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April 14, 2011

Span and Sain and Pray for Rain

Now a Major Motion Picture

by Emma Span

I have a new favorite road trip game/bar conversation/internet time-waster: if baseball players were movies, what movie or genre would they be?

This came about because of Manny Ramirez. I was talking to a friend and one of us asked, if Manny Ramirez were a movie, what kind of movie would he be? Tragedy? Comedy? Something with a lot of explosions? We actually never did come to a satisfying conclusion about Manny, but then, he’s an unusually difficult case. Maybe something from M. Night Shyamalan post-Sixth Sense—a lot of thrills, suspense, and manipulation… and then such a silly ending.

Other players are easier, and though of course there is no one right answer (except as regards to Luis Castillo; I will defend that pick to the death), if you're at all like me that won't stop you from debating the subject at great length.

Nick Swisher is, I’m thinking, an Old School-type Will Ferrell bro-comedy. Not exactly groundbreaking or mature, but goofy fun and well-intentioned enough that you enjoy it anyway. Also, inexplicably hot women cast as the romantic interests.

Tim Lincecum: I resisted the pot jokes here because, first off, it’s too easy. But also there’s a lot more to Tim Lincecum than long hair, a laid-back demeanor and a pot bust. I’m thinking he’s more of a Christopher Guest mockumentary—fun, often subtle, a pleasure to watch, and well outside the mold of usual Hollywood fare, but still successful.

Kyle Farnsworth: Hostel-type torture-porn. Protesting Rays fans, save it—you’re still in the movie’s early minutes.

Barry Zito: Ishtar. Not Waterworld, you say? No, because Waterworlda) was a complete and utter mess of a movie, and b) actually made most of its money back when all was said and done—international box office, DVD sales, and so on. Whereas Ishtaris actually kind of promising in places, and isn’t as much of a critical disaster as you may have heard… but was indeed an enormous financial sinkhole.

Derek Jeter: Genuinely good yet overrated Oscar-bait. Shakespeare in Love, The Departed, Slumdog Millionaire, Return of the King—all of those are very good movies, but the best of the whole year? Probably not. You can’t really blame everyone for loving them, but the level of praise may eventually drive you crazy.

Alex Rodriguez: A Michael Bay-style blockbuster and its sequels. Big stars, lots of explosions, and it makes a ton of money, and yet no one wants to defend it too vociferously. Terrible reviews do nothing to keep it from being number one at the box office. It’s not winning any awards (except maybe something like Best Sound Editing), but if you’re a studio head, it's just what you want.

Ryan Braun: Frozen River. I heard this was really good, but I never saw it.

Aubrey Huff, the right fielder: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. It’s time to pull the plug.

Roger Clemens: Titanic. Once a huge critical and commercial success, it wowed everyone at the time, but people eventually got over the cinematography and special effects and realized how silly and annoying the script is. Also… well, you know.

Randy Johnson: I Spit On Your Grave. Well-made and influential, mean and ugly.

Luis Castillo: Troll 2. Not just a bad movie, but incredibly ill-conceived.

What am I leaving out?

Emma Span is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Emma's other articles. You can contact Emma by clicking here

Related Content:  The Academy Awards

29 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

jrbdmb

When I saw Tim Lincecum's name, I immediately thought of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure - just a bit off but still effective and entertaining.

Apr 14, 2011 06:44 AM
rating: 1
 
dianagram

Kyle Farnsworth: Hostel-type torture-porn. Protesting Rays fans, save it—you’re still in the movie’s early minutes.
==================

ROFL .... that's made me laugh out loud at work ... damn you Emma! :-)

Apr 14, 2011 08:04 AM
rating: 2
 
dianagram

Would (insert name of PED user here) be related to "Transformers"?

Apr 14, 2011 08:05 AM
rating: 0
 
The Beef

Jose Canseco - Bigger, Stronger, Faster - the only guy who told the truth other than possibly Giambi.

Barry Bonds - Guilty As Sin - nuf said

Apr 14, 2011 09:27 AM
rating: -2
 
marctacoma

Livan Hernandez: Caligula.
Started off as one type of a thing, but fate, time, and money radically altered it until he's essentially unrecognizable now. There are fans of what he's become; the market for a 'proven veteran' to 'stabilize a rotation' is as reliable as the market for a gratuitous lesbian scene.

Ichiro: District 9.
Noticeably foreign, but thrilling and provides a great deal of entertainment given its small size.

Josh Wilson: (Any direct-to-video 'family' movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr.).
He's not up to being a major leaguer. He didn't really ask to be, he was barely average in AAA. It always seems like there's comedy in the 'fish out of water' scenario, but Brian Bocock did this better years ago. This is just repetitive and dumb, as Wilson's manager (inexplicably played by a grizzly bear) bats him against Neftali Feliz and Zach Greinke. Eyes wide as saucers, he mouths 'help me', and is thrown into the batters box by a pack of sled dogs.

Apr 14, 2011 09:36 AM
rating: 1
 
Emma Span

Ha! Excellent call on Caligula.

Apr 14, 2011 12:46 PM
rating: 0
 
steve.k

Fast and Furious: Lefty Grove

Apr 14, 2011 09:40 AM
rating: 0
 
goldenyeti

Rob Deer as 3 Men and a Baby? Neither is particularly well remembered today, though lots of people would have recognized both at the time, both made a few people smile back then, and both featured at least one awesome mustache.

Apr 14, 2011 09:50 AM
rating: 3
 
Wrigleyviller
(883)

Albert Belle: Requiem For A Dream

Fantastic but extremely unpleasant and not an experience you would want to repeat.

Apr 14, 2011 09:55 AM
rating: 3
 
Emma Span

Excellent choice.

Apr 14, 2011 12:47 PM
rating: 0
 
josher464

Tim Raines as The Shawshank Redemption. Fantastic all around, but come awards time: snub city

Apr 14, 2011 10:40 AM
rating: 2
 
irussma

Given that you compared Derek Jeter to a bunch of Best Picture-winning films, I'd hasten to point out that for all the praise he's gotten, he never did win the MVP.

Apr 14, 2011 11:19 AM
rating: 0
 
Emma Span

True, but those Gold Gloves sure keep rolling in.

Apr 14, 2011 12:47 PM
rating: 0
 
Emma Span

Upon further reflection, I guess Gold Gloves are more like Golden Globes, though.

Apr 14, 2011 12:53 PM
rating: 1
 
dianagram

Golden Globes? That's Minka's ummm .... assets, right?

Apr 14, 2011 14:18 PM
rating: 0
 
jonjacoby

Johnny Damon: Passion of the Christ, based mainly on his 2004 look.

Apr 14, 2011 11:36 AM
rating: 1
 
Deadheadbrewer

Ms. Span, I very much enjoy and appreciate your unique and entertaining perspectives on the world of MLB and its players. Keep up the fine work, please!

Apr 14, 2011 12:36 PM
rating: 0
 
Jobert

I think Pettitte works better for Return of the King. Solid pitcher, but benefited from good teammates.

Apr 14, 2011 12:52 PM
rating: 0
 
saschweigert

Well, Return of the King was covered, but Kevin Youkilis: Lord of the Rings trilogy-both involve taking a lot of walks to get back to home.

Apr 14, 2011 13:47 PM
rating: 2
 
rbrianc

Bo.
Superman.

Apr 14, 2011 15:07 PM
rating: 0
 
Ben F.

Jamie Moyer=Rushmore. The first time you watch you think.."meh" but upon the second and third viewings the subtle genius becomes apparent.

Apr 14, 2011 16:24 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

Jose Bautista - Came from another country, made a lot of people think about drugs, earned a lot more money than anyone every thought possible while being simply way better than expected. Many people questioned whether the director was a one hit wonder, but as things turned out, he wasn't, Wait, am I getting ahead of myself?

Apr 14, 2011 17:25 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

Dammit - I forgot to put in the movie name - Trainspotting.

Apr 14, 2011 17:25 PM
rating: 0
 
NYYanks826

Shifting to TV...

Yuniesky Betancourt = The George Lopez Show...How does this guy keep getting work!?

Apr 15, 2011 04:39 AM
rating: 1
 
irussma

Hmmm. What's the TV equivalent of 'positional scarcity?'

Apr 15, 2011 08:23 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Michael Street
BP staff

Love this idea, Emma, and all the great comments, too. Here's my submission:

Ty Cobb: The Birth of a Nation. Brilliant, groundbreaking, and profoundly influential--but too disturbing to completely enjoy.

Apr 15, 2011 20:52 PM
 
hjw099

Andre Dawson, Con-Air. Bloated, remarkably dated already, but still makes you smile.

Apr 16, 2011 09:37 AM
rating: 0
 
Noel Steere
(965)

I would have thought Ryan Braun's movie would be obvious: The Hebrew Hammer

"Hey, kid"

"Yeah?"

"Stay Jewish"

Happy Pesach!

Apr 18, 2011 19:02 PM
rating: 0
 
jnossal

Dick Allen = Taxi Driver
Ted Williams = Unforgiven
Andy Van Slyke = Office Space
Bill Lee = Repo Man
Manny Ramirez = Zero Effect
Albert Belle = Raging Bull
Curt Flood = Norma Rae
Dennis Eckersley = Crazy Heart
Tim Raines = Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Barry Bonds = Jeremiah Johnson/Pulp Fiction

May 01, 2011 22:37 PM
rating: 0
 
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Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: YOU Ma... (04/14)
<< Previous Column
Span and Sain and Pray... (03/29)
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Span and Sain and Pray... (04/28)
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