The montage in which Coach Jim Morris' team is playing baseball against several different teams includes clips filmed at Thrall High School in Thrall, Texas. During March of 2001, the filmmakers spent one full day of shooting at Thrall High.
The scene where Jimmy walks out to the mound for the first time at The Ballpark in Arlington was filmed during the seventh inning stretch of a real Rangers game. All of the pitching shots were done after the game.
Dennis Quaid did much of his own pitching, but he was doubled in shots that required truly fast pitches, by former minor league pitcher Jeff Dowdy. No special effects were used to enhance the speed of the pitches; however, some camera tricks, such as "whip pans," were used to make Quaid's own pitches appear faster.
When Jimmy says to Brooks, "You know what we get to do today? We get to play baseball," it is a reference to a deleted scene, where Brooks tells Jimmy how his father said the same thing before every game he would play as a boy.
Producers contacted Royce Clayton, the first batter Jim Morris faced in the Major Leagues, and got his permission to use his name, etc for the film. It actually took Morris four pitches to strike him out. Clayton managed to hit one foul. But it was too difficult to film a ball going foul, so they left it out.
The park used for Durham Bulls home stadium was actually the new Dell Diamond in Round Rock Texas. The stadium was the home of the triple-A Astro farm team that has since changed to the triple-A Texas Rangers farm team. The teams name is the Round Rock Express.
In real life, there were only 10 players on the team, which is shown in the movie. Four of the "talking" Owls came from LA, the other six came from Austin. They held a camp and 800 kids came out, and the producers got to pick from them.
The tennis shoes young Jimmy Morris is wearing when he first moves to Texas and visits the old ball field by the oil derrick are Converse "Jack Purcells," named after a popular Canadian badminton player from the late '20s and early '30s. It was perhaps the first popular rubber and canvas American "tennis" shoe. They preceded the iconic "Chuck Taylors," which came later.
When the Owls win the championship, the announcer cheered, "Owls win" over and over in an obvious homage to the famous radio call when the New York Giants beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1951 playoff game on Bobby Thomson's game winning homer.
In the film, when Jim is called up to the majors, a teammate named Brooks is called up with him. In real life, Steve Cox was the player called up with Jim. Brooks was a fictional character created for the film.
Even though they played high school kids, the main "players' " actual ages at time of filming were as follows: Jay Hernandez (Wack) was 23, Rick Gonzalez (Rudy) was 22, Chad Lindberg (Joe David) was 25, and Angelo Spizziri (Joel) was 27. Spizziri passed away in 2007 of undisclosed causes.
During the championship game, the final batter of the game hits a foul ball. When he hits it, he attempts to wave the ball fair in a matter identical to Carlton Fisk when he hit his famous homer in the 1975 world series.
The scenes depicting Jim Morris trying out for the majors were filmed in Taylor, TX at the former Taylor High School, now the Main Street campus. This location was a stand in for Angelo State university where the tryouts were supposed to have been held. Taylor is about 15 minutes west of Thorndale, TX which stood in for the town of Big Lake, TX and is 15 minutes east of the Dell Diamond where most of the minor league games depicted were filmed. The Round Rock Express, a AAA farm team for The Texas Rangers, plays their home games.
Jim Morris: In the district championship game, with the Owls down 2-1, "Wacko" Campos is up to bat, and sends an extra-base hit to right field that scores the tying run, even when third-base coach Jimmy Morris tries to hold the runner. There are two shots during that scene where you can see the real-life Jim Morris and his wife Lorri (both wearing sunglasses) rooting the team from behind the backstop. He's sporting his trademark mustache and is wearing a gray t-shirt.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
In this film Brian Cox's character is given a baseball by Jim Morris from his first game in the majors. In the movie For The Love of the Game his character is given a baseball from Kevin Costners character (Billy Chapel) pitching in his final Major League game.
The scene in which Jim first enters Rangers ballpark shows the beauty of the ballpark. In reality however, players enter the ballpark from an underground location leading to the clubhouse and never enter the concourse.