Editor’s Note: In the spirit of counting down to the start of the Major League Baseball season over the next two weeks we here at Triple B will present our completely subjective ranking of the Top 10 Baseball Movies. Today we look at number 5 on the list.
Today we have a doubleheader of sorts on our totally subjective baseball movie list with two movies about the baseball scouts who travel the country evaluating talent.
Coming in at number 5 on the Triple B Top 10 Baseball Movies list are Talent for the Game and Trouble with the Curve which each shine a light on what it takes to be a Major League Baseball scout.
Although the movies came out around 20 years apart they each do a superb job of showing the life of a professional baseball scout.
Throughout the history of baseball individuals have scoured the back roads of America looking for that hidden gem of a player that can be the missing piece of the puzzle for a team looking to have long term success.
Countless hours are spent by these scouts out on those back roads watching baseball games at Ballparks across the country trying to find players for their organization to draft.
In recent years teams have focused on international players with baseball academies in the Dominican Republic and other nations but the fact remains the bulk of Major League Baseball players are still from America and someone needs to discover them.
Of course with the addition of the internet and other factors the need for scouts to physically travel the back roads has diminished in some way over the last couple of decades as You Tube and other sources provide a way to track players nearly from the first time that they pick up a ball or a bat. Several teams have even made drastic cuts in the size of their scouting departments while ramping up efforts on the analytical side of the game.
Personally I prefer to think of baseball with the scouts as part of the game and not some area to be replaced by computers and spreadsheets.
A few years back I attended a Baltimore Orioles Spring Training game at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota and was seated in the “scout section.” Throughout the entire game I was entertained by stories from these rough around the edges baseball lifers and was given a firsthand look into a piece of the life of a scout.
Many of the stories were not politically correct but they showed insight into a brotherhood where there was a kinship among the nomadic brothers in arms despite the competitive nature that goes along with the job.
For those without access to scouts of their own, Talent for the Game and Trouble with the Curve transport the viewer into a scout’s life as they balance their love for the game with the elements of time that are encroaching to make their fate seem like that of the dinosaurs.
Edward James Olmos and Clint Eastwood each give strong performances as the scouts. Both movies also feature strong supporting casts and story lines that have one pulling for the scouts to defeat the odds and find a way to continue doing what they are doing.
Next year I plan to once again find a Spring Training seat with the scouts to hear more tales of a nomadic live on the road. Until then, Talent for the Game and Trouble with the Curve will be my guide to the life of a baseball scout in search of the next big thing.
Copyright 2014 R. Anderson