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This week in sports history: ‘The Sandlot’ memorialized baseball’s golden years

The movie industry is always evolving, and 28 years ago the sports genre took a big step in the right direction. On April 7, 1993, the baseball movie “The Sandlot” was released and became more than a sports film — it became a classic family movie. “The Sandlot” portrayed the excitement and joy kids have playing the sport they love, while also showing just how competitive the sport of baseball can be. Unfortunately, in today’s major league game, emoting high levels of competitiveness has become frowned upon and sometimes even punished.

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about how “America’s pastime” is declining from an entertainment perspective. Baseball has the least amount of action in comparison to other major sports leagues, which means the MLB has to market the game in a way that appeals to casual fans. “The Sandlot” perfectly exemplifies how the game should remain and be popular for players and spectators alike. Throughout the movie, there are several scenes that show the team of teenage boys’ motivation to play and practice at every possible moment in order to improve. Their trash-talking, good-natured banter during games offered an inviting atmosphere for the young and evoked fond memories for the old.

It is easy to argue that from a baseball perspective, the most valued part of this movie is the idea that baseball is fun. This sounds simple, but this is what the MLB needs to get back to if they want to maintain and build a consistent audience. The 2021 MLB season is officially underway and there is a percentage of fans allowed to be present at each ballpark around the league. In the first weekend of play, a controversial event took place in the Reds v.s. Cardinals game which left baseball fans and players puzzled.

Nick Castellanos, one of many electric players baseball has in its game today, careened full speed into home plate and scored following a wild pitch from the Cardinals pitcher, Jake Woodford. After he was deemed safe by the umpire, he stood over the catcher, Yadier Molina, and flexed while screaming in response to extending his team’s lead in the game. This is the type of play that reminds sports fans how baseball can be exciting. Between the lulls in the action, these situational plays that result in players showing a wide range of emotions. One of the main reasons people tune in to sporting events is to feel the energy from players exhibiting an immense desire to win.

A few days after this game took place, the MLB announced a two-game suspension for the Reds outfielder, which he then appealed. Castellanos never made contact with anyone on the opposing team, making the suspension a questionable decision by the league. This led to current players speaking out as a way to wonder how players are supposed to show emotion during exciting moments of a game. Time will tell whether or not this suspension gets upheld. Either way, this serves as a topic of discussion for sports fans, and it can have a massive impact on the future of baseball’s popularity.

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