Rookie of the Year (1993) Poster

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Bringing the fun back to baseball
brian-crouch-120 November 2004
This movie asks the question: "What if pro baseball was fun again, like in little league, and not so taken so seriously?" The device of Henry's miraculous arm allows the story to inject a kid's eye view into a somewhat cynical world. Juxtaposing the sleazy Dan Hedaya's attempted $25 million trade of Henry to the Yankees with the Henry and his buddies taking a day trip on a boat, as well as Henry's adolescent antics on the field, director Daniel Stern is trying to get us to look at baseball, and maybe sports, maybe life, like we did when we were ten.

I think Roger Ebert, although I agree with his review, took pretty poor notes while reviewing this film. From his article: "When the cast comes off, his dad takes him to Wrigley Field, and he catches a home run ball while he's out in the bleachers, and then he throws it back - all the way to the catcher behind the plate." Actually, he went with his friends, he doesn't even know his dad. And he didn't catch it, his friends pick it up from nearby, and hand it to him because they're scared to throw it on TV and embarrass themselves. Doesn't he have a fact-checker to proof his reviews?

Second, he writes: "Henry becomes an overnight celebrity, and is signed to the Cubs by the team's genial owner." This ignores the desperation of Dan Hedaya, the would-be owner of the team, who sees the publicity and marketing windfall in having a kid on the team. The sell-out crowd is an important story element, as it reinforces the idea that we are all hungry for baseball to be fun again.

There's are lots of laughs to be had in this film, although Stern seems to want to indulge in over-the-top hysterics from time to time, such as with the character he was playing. Also, the bilious "Jack" who gets Henry's mom to sign a contract without telling her it's a trade to NY, is downright spastic in his final scene. Stern shows a lot of promise as a comedy director if he could tone it down just a touch with the tangential characters. Understatement can be funny, as Busey shows with a few choice glares at the right moments. I loved Stern's allusion to the Wizard of Oz, likening the Emerald City gates to the Wrigley stadium gates, when Henry first arrives to play.

The Cubs haven't won a Series since 1909. "And a little child shall lead them..." Every kid should see this movie.
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7/10
Another good "kid-in-the-big-leagues" movie
nucksfan4life3 June 2002
For some reason, I get a kick out of movies like "Rookie of the Year." I guess the fact that so many young boys, myself included, fantasize about playing professional sports contributes to the popularity of this genre. I think Daniel Stern did a good job directing this movie because he doesn't ever let it become too kiddy and childish. Sure there are a lot of funny moments, but they can be funny to adults as well as children. The setting of this movie cannot be beat: Wrigley Field. It doesn't get any better than that. "Rookie of the Year" is a fun movie to watch with the family.
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9/10
Very funny baseball comedy
jhaggardjr4 December 2000
"Rookie of the Year" is one of my favorite baseball movies. One of the things I liked the most about this movie is that it's set in Chicago, my hometown. Most of the action in the film takes place at Wrigley Field, home of the long suffering Chicago Cubs. It's about a clumsy 12-year-old boy named Henry Rowengartner, who loves to play baseball. However, the kid can't do anything right on the field. One day, trying to impress a girl, he tries to catch a fly ball. But ends up slipping on a baseball lying on the ground and in the process breaks his right arm. After four months of recouperation, the cast comes off. Afterwards Henry's mother gives him and his two best friends tickets to the latest Cubs game. The three boys are sitting in the bleachers when a home run is hit. The ball lands close to where they're sitting and one of Henry's friends recovers the ball. The fans sitting nearby yell at the kid to throw it back on to the field. The kid doesn't want to do it and gives the ball to Henry's other friend who ends up giving the ball to Henry. He agrees to do it. Then an amazing thing happens. Henry not only throws the ball back on to the field, he throws the ball all the way to home plate! The crowd is in stunned silence after seeing this. Who threw that ball? is the question on everyone's mind. When the owners find out it's Henry, they ask him if he would like to pitch for the Cubs. Henry goes bonkers and agrees to pitch. After throwing some practice pitches, the owners and managers discover that he has a 100 m.p.h. fastball. They think this could be the perscription the Cubs need since they're already going through another disasterous season (which is all too familiar in real life). Henry becomes the star rookie of the team as the closer. And the Cubs start winning and begin to turn their season around. "Rookie of the Year" has alot of big laughs and a terrific cast. There are four memorable performances in this film. Thomas Ian Nicholas is wonderful as Henry. This actor has grown up since this film (he was most recently seen in the hit film "American Pie"), but he's in a role to remember; Gary Busey is also very good as the aging star pitcher known as 'The Rocket' who helps out Henry in certain spots; Albert Hall as the Cubs manager who repeatedly keeps mispronouncing Henry's last name in different formats; and Amy Morton, a Chicago stage actress, as Henry's mother Mary. Some of the most effective moments in the film are with the boy and his mom. Also there are hilarious smaller performances by Eddie Bracken as the Cubs owner; John Candy as the Cubs broadcast announcer; and Daniel Stern (who also directed) in the film's goofiest role as the dim-witted pitching coach. "Rookie of the Year" has the usual predictable sports ending, but since this film is so much fun, who cares. There is one obvious continuity error in the film. When they fly to L.A. to play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, you can tell they're really playing at Comiskey Park, home of Chicago's other baseball team, the White Sox. You can tell just by that, that this film was shot entirely in Chicago. "Rookie of the Year" is a baseball winner in my book.

***1/2 (out of four)
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9/10
A fun, warm film for the whole family.
Venturin17 March 1999
I really enjoy the film Rookie of the Year. I even bought the tape, and I pop it in once a month or so when I need a pick-me-up. It's funny and warm and rewarding as well. I really like the character of Mary, the mother of the boy with the 'rocket fire' arm. A single mother, she worries that her son has no one to look up to, but we learn things about her that gives the finale an extra shot of warmth. Daniel Stern did a very nice job of directing, and he got good performances all around. Gary Busey is great, and the way he and the other ball players come around to liking the kid is fun. I also like the pacing of the movie, there's always a 'moment' just around the corner. The film is full of fun moments, and when I start the tape I have to watch through to the end. Have kids? Have they seen this film? Give it a try, good clean fun family entertainment.
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The Dreams of Countless Children Come True...
MovieAddict201611 December 2002
I was never much into sports. I never fantasized about becoming a huge sports star. However, I realize many adults did dream of such things when they were children, and that is why "Rookie of the Year" may surprise some adults.

The plot is childish, of course, and the acting -- apart from Daniel Stern and an unbilled cameo from John Candy -- is not Oscar-worthy. Still, it's worth a few bucks, and may transport adults back to their memories and make them fantasize more than children.

I don't like this film a whole lot, but it's just one of those films that when you see it on TV, you just...watch it! Hard to explain. It's like some cosmic force draws you to it. I think it could be the worst film in the world and I'd still have to watch it every time it's on.

I give "Rookie of the Year" 3/5 stars. Not great, and not even that good, but there's just something about it...
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4/10
More Like 'Disappointment of the Year'
ccthemovieman-116 November 2006
I love sports movies and especially ones with nice characters, especially nice kids, ones that set good examples for others. So, call me old-fashioned or whatever else you want, but this film was stupid. Maybe if you're kid, you wouldn't think so, but adults - stay away.

As for kids, I found way too many "OMGs" in this film, both by the mother and the 12-year- old kid (played by Thomas Ian Nicholas). This was actor Daniel Stern's directorial debut and he promised publicly to make "safe family films." That's great, but this isn't a great start. "Oh my gosh," said by the kid would have but a better and smarter example to set to other kids than the other blasphemes. We also see early '90s Hollywood "fad" of having a mother literally punch out her boyfriend. That's "safe family fare?" I am tired of Hollywood's PC-feminist baloney of showing women acting tough like Mike Tyson. It just ain't so.

The one good part in this film was the role played by Gary Busey. At least he played someone who was a good role model.
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7/10
Not a Bad Sports Movie!
g-bodyl19 October 2010
Rookie of the Year is a pretty good sports movie even though I have seen better. I thought that Daniel Stern as the pitching coach was hilarious but in reality a guy like him would have been fired before the first pitch of the season-at least the late, great Steinbrenner would. It was also nice to see how a young teenager would adapt to the adult world of baseball.

This is about a 12-year-old who can suddenly throw a hundred miles an hour after he recovered from a broken arm. Once again, that's impossible in real life. Anyway, he is a midseason addition to the Cubs and he makes them more than the mediocre team that they were.

Overall, this is a pretty solid sports movie. There was great acting by the kids. But the ending is all to predictable. I rate this film 7/10.
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8/10
Don't Take It So Seriously
Hitchcoc7 January 2017
If you are unwilling to accept the basic premise of the film, that a child who has surgery on a broken arm is suddenly able to throw a pitch over 100 miles per hour, you aren't going to like this movie. I've been a baseball fan for 60 years and I know when a baseball movie is going to present an accurate portrayal of the game. If you read anything about this film and you are a purist, there are probably another ten movie to pick from this day. That said, this is a delightful film with a joyfulness that brings back memories of what it was like to be a mediocre baseball player, still hoping to be a major leaguer someday. The boy in this film is klutzy, so his entrance into a major league game is filled with fear and worry. There are good guys and bad guys, especially the father candidate. At some point, we know that reality will set in and, like "Damn Yankees," someone is going to have to face a real situation. This is just charming and fun. Enjoy it. It was never meant to be a documentary.
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10/10
If you don't love baseball ...
daniel-schlachta18 June 2016
... or Gary Busey or the Cubs or twelve year old kids this thing is probably not for you. Otherwise I found some really good laughs in it. The story was appealingly filmed and professionally cut and so on. My point is that most Europeans don't have a clue about the game and it is quite important for the story. (For how long will this go on? - Well it's the third inning and they play at least eight. - God help me!) It is great to see how the boy is brought up by his mother to be nice to people and show them respect and how the really manly men repay the favor. All in all I give it a ten because it achieves what it aims for. Do watch it. If you can tell a sinker from a curve ball that is.
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10/10
Great
steve-maniago21 September 2009
Rookie of the Year is a great and fun film for anyone who loves Baseall, or even those who don't. Most people may say that this movie is for young children, but I believe that even adults can enjoy Rookie of the Year. It has a great plot with a lot of comedy. My favorite character is Brickma, who is played by Daniel Stern. He is a goofy guy who cracks jokes the entire movie. I think that everyone should see Rookie of the Year at sometime in their life, even if they are not a baseball fan. It is a good pick-me-up movie for when you are feeling sad. This movie can definitely be watched over and over again. A great movie for all types of people
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8/10
Hilarious Movie!
robertaltman3 October 2000
I thought it was a fantastically funny movie. I laughed so hard at time-it was a blast! I really enjoyed the idea of the movie. I had never picked up on such an idea as a young boy making it to the majors.. I imagine that it is an idea that many major leaguers had thought about before the movie was made. Is it why the Cubbies hardly ever make to the Series?? -because they got a soft spot for their fans? Anyway, the movie is a lot of fun. There isn't a whole lot you can do with such an idea, although I think it was done very well.

I especially enjoyed how fast he made it to the majors. It was just like that. Wow what an arm.

I liked the way the child actor portraying the youngster who made the Cubs-the way he was so innocent in such a stressful position-it just added to the laughs.

Overall, I think that it was a well done flick and if you want some fun and something to think about.. then this is the movie for you!
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A fun film for everyone
Monika-523 March 2000
Sure, this movie is geared towards the younger generation, but I think that anybody can enjoy it, especially if you are a baseball fan. I don't know why people have criticized Rookie of the Year so much for being unrealistic. Duh! It's supposed to be fictional! What young kid hasn't dreamed of being a star player on a favorite pro sports team, and what Chicago Cubs fan hasn't wanted their team to go all the way? (Personally, I'm a Cleveland Indians fan, so I think you get my point.)

Yes, Daniel Stern puts in an embarrassing role as a clumsy pitching coach (now, fantasies aside, this clown wouldn't last 10 seconds as a major league coach!), and Thomas Ian Nicholas is OK in the title role but comes off as pretty annoying most of the time. I will say that Gary Busey was very good in this film as the veteran pitcher/father figure. A decent, passable sports flick.
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9/10
90 feet from being a classic.
pmtelefon29 March 2019
"Rookie of the Year" is as close to a classic as a movie really can come. I watch it quite often. I totally dig it every time I see it. It's great. There's just one problem and it's a weird one. It's Daniel Stern. This might be the only great movie where the only problem is with the director. It's hard for me to explain. Daniel Stern directed a beautiful movie but for some reason he ruined his own character. Even though he gets laughs (at least from me), Stern's character is so outrageous that it takes me out of the movie. All of the other performances are fit the tone of the movie. It's a minor gripe. It's not a deal breaker. "Rookie of the Year" is a great movie. Honorable mention: Albert Hall.
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6/10
"Pitcher's got a big butt"
bkoganbing13 February 2019
Young Thomas Ian Nicholas gets a once in a lifetime chance to play for the Chicago Cubs and lead them to a pennant in 1993 the year Rookie Of The Year came out. At the time the Cubs had not won a pennant since 1945 and no World Series victory since 1908.

It happens quite by accident because the young man wasn't the most talented of players. An accident where he broke his arm and some ribs had him in a most uncomfortable cast. But it tightened the tendons in his pitching arm. So when at a game at Wrigley Field where Nicholas is sitting in the bleachers and the bleacher bums who occupy it tell him to throw the opposing ball back, Nicholas unlooses a throw that Carl Furillo would have envied, a perfect strike on the fly to home plate.

With nothing else to lose the Cubs sign the 12 year old up. The wartime Cincinnati Reds signed Joe Nuxhall at 15 to their roster. In real life that record still has to be broken.

Tommy John surgery never gave anyone in real life speed like young Nicholas has.

Young Nicholas is surrounded with a good cast of adults such as Amy Morton as his mom, Gary Busey as a washed up pitcher hoping for a comeback, Eddie Bracken as the Cubs eccentric owner and John Candy who is unbilled and was a famous Cubs fan as their play by play announcer.

No story would be complete without villains and two real good ones are here. Dan Hedaya as the Cubs GM and Bruce Altman who specializes in smarmy villains is at his smarmiest as a talent agent. Both are looking to exploit young Nicholas to the max without considering him.

The finale includes a playoff with the Mets and young Nicholas uses some sandlot savvy in the crucial moments.

In 2016 the Cubs finally did it, but this film Rookie Of The Year is still a delightful baseball fantasy.
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8/10
A good comedy for families
mwcrunner29 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is a pretty funny comedy here for anyone's family to watch. You can also tell that Marv from Home Alone and Home Alone 2 is in this. Also at first I thought that Ernie Banks aka Mr. Cub was in this movie, but it was someone else that looked like him. One very funny part of this movie is when Henry's arm is fully healed and the joint in his arm was healed tightly he smacks the doctor in the face and the doctor shouted out, " Funky butt lover." XD. We also see lots of the scenes of this actually at Wrigley Field and that was all very cool. This movie is definitely recommended for families who enjoy good family comedies. 8 out of ten for this.
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6/10
Wholesome family fun
SnoopyStyle15 October 2013
Henry Rowengartner is a 12 year old boy who got injured in school trying to catch a ball. When the cast comes off, his arm becomes a rocket launcher. On his day in the Cubs bleachers, he takes a HR ball from the opposition and throws a clothsline to the plate. The desperate Cubs immediately tracks him down and signs him as a pitcher.

This is Daniel Stern's only directorial full length movie. He's done some Wonder Years episodes before this. There isn't any glaring directing problems. It's a relatively good effort. Stern must be a long suffering Cubs fan. Only a Cubs fan could come up a 12 year old savior for the long suffering club.

Thomas Ian Nicholas is a charming little boy. He encompasses the innocence and the wonder that this movie absolutely requires. The final 3 outs are the stuff of teen boys' fantasy. That's the kind of wholesome entertainment this is all about.
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6/10
One of those inspiring movie of my childhood
shamimriaz30 January 2012
Really loved the movie when i watched it, I was 14 then. Maybe, 2 or 3 times then and I liked both the fun side and the inspirational side of the movie. That was the first time I came to know about baseball through this movie.

Its all about a boy Henry who accidentally can ball fast after having and accident! And, no wonder he becomes famous. The movie gets along with the incidents happening with Henry.

Not so fast in pace, but I am sure, it wont bore you at all. You will love the events in the movie. And Thomas Ian Nicholas(Henry) really did good job in acting also did the director Daniel Stern. I am being a nostalgic about this movie. After so many years of watching the movie I still remember most of the story. No doubt its a kids movie, still adults can give a try with their kids!
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4/10
Cheesy family fun
Agent1024 June 2002
See Thomas Ian Nicholas in a film before forever becoming known as a pervert in American Pie. As a kids movie, this movie hits a homerun. Consider many of the aspects: a goofy central character, a bad to good storyline, and supporting members who seem rather believable in their traits and actions (except for Daniel Stern of course).

Sure, younger kids will get a hoot out of this film, but older folks might as well keep away.
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8/10
Good family film
satterwh19 February 2002
OK, it's not the Wizard of Oz, but this is a fun film. Henry (I'm not even going to *TRY* to spell the last name) lives every boy's dream - playing major league baseball. In some ways, though, the *WAY* he played was what made the film. At no point did he become a 30 year old in a 12 yr old body... he behaved like a 12 year old on the field, having the fun that a kid would have. In some ways, this is the dream of the adults - to play the game like a kid again. I think that's what makes this film work. Thomas Nicholas was absolutely believable as the 12 yr old with the fast arm. Daniel Stern did an excellent job of directing this, keeping the fun in the film as well as the game. Watch Robert Gorman as Henry's friend; he's the loyal friend every kid wants. Stereotypes? You betch'um Red Ryder. Doesn't matter, they work in this context. Recommended; I gave it an 8.
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6/10
A mostly-vanilla film existing in an already overblown genre
StevePulaski26 September 2014
Rookie of the Year is just about as genial as a baseball movie of the nineties can be before it becomes a tad too grating for my personal tastes. The film dances on a line between being too concerned with ridiculous humor and too fixated on creating a sentimental environment that, between those two things, has difficultly really making one enjoy the fun of the baseball game at hand.

The film stars Thomas Ian Nicholas as the ambitious youngster Henry Rowengartner, a twelve-year-old Little League player with dreams of playing in the major leagues for his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. His dream is often mocked by his friends and classmates, as Henry isn't a very good player and has quite a clumsy aura about him. In an attempt to catch a ball thrown by one of the school's bullies, Henry slips on another ball lying on the ground and breaks his arm, having to wrap it in a thick and relatively debilitating cast. When the arm finally heals, the doctor removes the cast to reveal that Henry's tendons have healed very tightly, with Henry able to cock his arm back and fire a ball with incomparable force.

His talents are shown throwing a foul ball back to home plate from the stands at a Chicago Cubs game, prompting the Cubs to contract the youngest player in MLB history as the team's starting pitcher. Henry couldn't be happier, but earns some justified opposition and hesitance from the team's aging pitcher Chet "Rocket" Steadman (Busey), one of Henry's idols. Despite his good-nature and kind spirits, Henry's presence has the ability to ruffle feathers and occasionally upset his teammates, and also makes him the target for his mother's greedy boyfriend Jack (Bruce Altman), who looks to take advantage of him and his abilities.

Rookie of the Year inevitably suffers comparison to Little Big League, another nineties baseball film that was more-or-less eclipsed by the success and familiarity of this film just a year later. While Little Big League did a fine job at illustrating what could potentially happen if an eleven-year-old was left to his own wits to manage a Major League Baseball team he inherited, Rookie of the Year deals with an equally unlikely story in a less interesting manner. Despite all efforts by director Daniel Stern (famous for his role as one of the burglars in both Home Alone films among many other comedies) and writer Sam Harper, Rookie of the Year only manages to be a fair and humbly likable picture, light on its humor elements with more emphasis placed on redundant, and occasionally crude, gags.

The nineties was already a time where baseball films were a dime a dozen, with films being made for children and adults alike. I'm holding Rookie of the Year to the works of the era, like A League of Their Own, Little Big League, and, everybody's favorite, The Sandlot. The film's funniest scenes come from the uncredited John Candy, who plays the Cubs announcer always eager to bet against them. With all of this in mind, Rookie of the Year is harmless and cheery, like its protagonist, always bearing a good heart and a clear mind, but admittedly, pretty forgettable.

Starring: Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, Dan Hedaya, Bruce Altman, Daniel Stern, and John Candy. Directed by: Daniel Stern.
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10/10
Very Good Baseball Movie
jvfunn11 December 2010
I just watched Rookie of the Year on the Disney Channel and let me tell you. It's a great kids baseball movie about a boy named Henry who gets on the Chicago Cubs Baseball Team! Thomas Ian Nicholas did a good job playing the boy Henry. Daniel Stern couldn't of cast a better child actor to play that role. The rest of the cast gave good performances such as Gary Busey playing the player Rockie and Eddie Bracken did a good job playing the Cubs owner. I also liked John Candy's hilarious performance as the announcer for the games. And Daniel Stern also gave a good performance as the goofy player Phil Berquist. In my opinion that's one of his greatest and funniest roles next to Marv in the Home Alone movie series. Filled with hilarious scenes and a great story and great characters Rookie of the Year is a Great Baseball Movie that any Baseball fan could love. Young or Old. I give it a 10 out of 10.
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7/10
fun for the whole family
disdressed1213 July 2010
this is a movie the whole family can enjoy.it's fun and there's nothing offensive about it.sure it is a bit over the top on occasion,and there is one running joke that is stretched a bit too thin.you'll know which one i mean about halfway through the film or earlier.but other than that,it's enjoyable,and you can allow your inner child to live on courtesy of the fantasy elements.also,it helps that the lead,Thomas Ian Nicholas(13 years old at the time)is engaging and charismatic.this movie won't change your life,but it should provide some laughs and keep you entertained for one hundred minutes or so.for me,Rookie of the Year is a 7/10
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Lotsa strikes.
JRGBUCS13 July 2001
Pretty much a big strike out all around. If I want a good baseball movie, I'll flip on Bull Durham, which has more laugh out loud funny lines than this piece of junk. Daniel Stern is out of his league with this film, which shows why he hasn't directed a film since this one.

I'm sure kids will enjoy it. It's inoffensive, it's cute and it's easy to get.

I can say that you should probably avoid this film, if possible. Daniel Stern shows that films should be made by filmmakers, not him.
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What a waste of time.
bgydwn16322 July 2001
I saw this movie in the theaters when I was 11. I begged my father to take me to see the movie... Awww man, do I regret ever wasting my time and my fathers time watching this garbage of a movie. You would think that as an 11 year-old this movie would be entertaining, but it was far from that. I kept yawning throughout the movie. Not even worth renting it. By far the worst baseball movie I have ever seen. Just a stupid, pointless movie.
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9/10
Very good film
dgibson899 March 2004
At first i thought that the fim was going to be rubbish but then i found that thomas ian nicholson so i thought that id watch it ! and i found out that it was very good ! I found it quite funny as well ! That is why i rated it 9/10 !! Thomas Ian Nicholson is such a good actor ! This flim i could watch time and time again as it is so good ! Thomas Ian Scott should do a Rookie of the year 2 where he is the worlds famous baseball player and he has a wife n kids but there is a crisis where his arm breaks and he is not allowed to play ever again !But they try and find something to make him play and at the end he finds something and he gets a big cheer when he plays again The End ! Dgibson !
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