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The Lookout | March 9, 2021

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For What It’s Worth: filling sports void

For What It’s Worth: filling sports void
hookl

By Larry Hook
The Lookout Adviser

How does a huge sports fan survive when sports comes to a standstill?

I can give some perspective on this topic because I am a huge sports fan. My bowling season was interrupted when the COVID-19 quarantine began in mid-March. My softball season is currently on hold, and it looks unlikely that I will be able to play in a softball league for the first time in 44 years.

In addition, the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball seasons are all in limbo. And the NCAA Basketball Tournaments, better known as “March Madness,” were completely canceled.

So how do I get my sports “fix?”

Well, I have been able to play tennis with my family members. And I have gone for walks around the block with my wife and kids pretty regularly. I guess that’s sports. At least it’s exercise.

I have 11 pinball machines, so I play a lot of pinball. That’s sort of like sports. I compete with myself to see if I can beat my high scores.

I also spend a lot of time sorting my collection of baseball cards, and shopping for more cards on eBay. I have been collecting cards since 1971 and have over 300,000 cards, so there’s always a new way to sort them.

And I have watched a lot of “classic” baseball and basketball games on ESPN, Fox Sports and YouTube. It’s fun to watch Detroit Tigers’ and Pistons’ games from when they were actually good.

Last week, I came up with a new sports hobby. I decided to start collecting and watching baseball movies. I already had a few, so I began gathering a list of baseball movies. I found out there are way more of them than I had expected; well over 100!

Baseball movies date all the way back to 1915, before there were even “talkies.” I knew there was no way I would be able to find all of the baseball movies.

Upon further research, I found a list of the “top 25 baseball movies,” as compiled by Will Leitch, a national columnist who covers Major League Baseball. Leitch published his list this past March 15, so it is definitely up to date.

Leitch’s list seems to include all the best baseball movies that I had thought of, as well as a few surprises.

I decided to collect and watch the 25 movies suggested by Leitch, then give then my own ratings on a scale of 1 to 10. I already had several of the movies, and I recently ordered several more on eBay.

As of this writing, I have watched 11 baseball movies in the last 10 days, including classics such as “Major League,” “The Natural,” “A League of Their Own,” “Moneyball,” “The Bad News Bears” and “42.”

This was the first time I had ever seen “42,” which is the story of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier. I was very impressed.

Among the movies I will soon be receiving in the mail are “The Sandlot,” “Bull Durham,” “Angels in the Outfield” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The latter movie is from 1949 and stars Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. I am especially looking forward to seeing that one for the first time.

So even though I can’t bowl, play softball or watch the 2020 Tigers on TV, I am finding “sporty” things to do.

When I finish watching all the baseball movies, I will write another column and list my favorites, as well as the worst of the bunch.