On the surface it’s cool to have your team get a little love from Hollywood, but when you get right down to it most of the time your team is down in the dumps when the cameras start rolling.
One minor curveball being thrown at my theory is the fact that right now the A’s don’t totally suck. They’re hovering around .500 and second place in the AL West.
But they are a whopping 8.5 games out of first and they’ve had a losing record for three seasons in a row so I think they easily qualify as a crappy team being featured in a film.
Some cases in point:
Major League: This comedy classic was released in 1989 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097815/) when the Cleveland Indians were a sixth-place team and a perennial also-ran. The Tribe didn’t finish in first place until 1995.
That’s a long dry spell and right now the Indians look like they’re ready for another closeup as they battle the Royals for the rights to last place in the AL Central.
The Rookie: Dennis Quaid starred in the Disney-fied true story of longshot middle-aged relief pitcher Jimmy Morris’ unlikely ascent to the big leagues with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0265662/).
The movie came out in 2002 when the Rays lost a franchise-record 106 games.
By 2008 the Rays finally finished in first place in the AL East.
For Love of the Game: This sappy Kevin Costner film hit the big screen in 1999 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0126916/) a year in which the Detroit Tigers would lose 92 games.
They finally made it to the World Series in 2006 but still haven’t laid claim to a division title since 1987.
Angels in the Outfield: The little piece of Disney dreck released in 1994 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109127/) was the last time the Oakland A’s were prominently featured in a movie.
The most notable thing about this flick is that Tony Danza played a character that wasn’t named Tony.
The A’s actually finished in second place when “Angels” came out but promptly went into a tailspin finishing in last place three out of the next four years.
If I stretch the facts a little bit to fit my point we can look back to 1993 when the movie was filmed at the Coliseum and note that the A’s finished the season in last place with 94 losses.
Oakland would have to wait until 2000 to reach the top of the AL West again when the front-office approach chronicled in the book “Moneyball” started paying off with big wins for the A’s.
In general, it looks like the rise from “crappy baseball team featured in a movie” to “contending baseball team worth watching on the field” is about 6 years.
I guess that means I have plenty of time to start saving up for A’s playoff tickets.