"Field of Dreams" was released in theaters on April 21, 1989. (Copyright/Universal Pictures)
Today is the day we can utter sentence that has brought joy to the hearts of baseball fans for generations:
Pitchers and catchers report today.
As warming as those words may seem, the harsh reality is that we in Wisconsin are still nealry 50 days from opening day (and probably 100 days away from reliably decent weather).
What's a fan to do to pass the time until the national pastime returns?
I'd like to share two of my favorite activies for this period: re-reading my all-time favorite baseball book, "Ball Four," and avoiding my least-favorite baseball movie, "Field of Dreams."
I realize this isn't going to be a popular opinion. Every time I've expressed it - which has been often - I experience blowback. I also know, though, that I'm not alone.
Craig Calcaterra, a columnist for NBCSports.com, wrote a column yesterday entitled "Field of Dreams" is absolutely terrible."
I've been reading Craig's work for years and seldom agreed more strongly.
For all the reasons he states, and maybe a few more, I think "Field of Dreams" is awful. I know folks who have visited the site where the movie was filmed, somewhere in Iowa, and love it.
You won't catch me there. I consider it the Branson, Mo., of baseball.
Now, since you didn't ask, here are my all-time favorite baseball movies - aka the ones I will not instantly turn off when I stumble across them on late-night cable.
1. "Bull Durham" - Ron Shelton nails the story. Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon give awesome performances. And, it has the great candlesticks scene.
2. "Major League" - Charlie Sheen is much more believable as a pitcher. This movie has some ridiculous moments - like players staying in a barracks during spring training - but the fact that it was filmed in Milwaukee and features Bob Uecker as Harry Doyle make it extra-special.
3. "The Bad News Bears" - I only include the original, with Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal. I don't want to hear about the Billy Bob Thornton remake.
4. "Eight Men Out" - This is a fantastic period piece on the 1919 Black Sox.
5. "A League of Their Own" - Tom Hanks and Geena Davis are incredible and the story is terrific.
6. "The Natural" - It's sappy in a similar vein as "Field of Dreams," and contains nearly as many holes in the plot, but it's riveting in its own way.
7. "The Sandlot" - It's the "Space Jam" of baseball movies for children of a certain generation.
Note: I didn't include "61*," "42," "Little Big League," "Bang the Drum Slowly" or "Pride of the Yankees" on my list, mostly because the process by which we embed videos on the site is a little bit clunky. I also left off my dad's favorite, "Roogie's Bump," which was a precursor to "Rookie of the Year."
If you have any others you'd like to add, hit me up. I'll watch almost anything to avoid seeing "Field of Dreams" again. Yes, that includes "The Bachelor."