For those of you that don’t know, maybe you are too young or live under a rock, Angels in the Outfield is a childhood classic. Ironically, by today’s standards, it is seemingly controversial to a celebrate a movie that may or may not endorse believing in angels, perhaps that is why it is not mentioned a lot or appears on television as often as some of our other favorites. Either way, it is a childhood memory that gives us not only hope & faith but a lot more to take away about life and America’s favorite past time.
Angels in the Outfield is the story of Roger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a kid), who prayed for real angels to help the baseball team Angels (the California Angels, not the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) win the pennant because his Dad told him that was how they would become a family again. Led by what ends up being a superstar cast including, Levitt, Danny Glover, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Adrien Brody, Matthew McConaughey, and Neal McDonough, Angels in the Outfield has a bit of a cult following and is a top contender of most young baseball fans who grew up in the 90s.
There are many throwbacks in the movie that give us the same feeling as hitting a thrilling home run in the bottom of the ninth… And so we breakdown Angels in the Outfield for our avid sports fans!
1. Being able to watch the game from a tree outside the stadium
Angels in the Outfield reminds us of a time when baseball and sports were simple. At the beginning of the movie, Roger and his best friend J.P. (Milton Davis Jr) were caught watching a game with binoculars and a portable radio from a tree in the outfield. When they were eventually caught, they ran away through a hole in a fence covered by a sign. Neither of these things would ever happen in today’s world of security guards and rules. It makes many nostalgic for my childhood.
2. George Knox
Another throwback situation. George Knox (Danny Glover), was the Angels manager and fought one of his pitchers on the field, punched a reporter, and stood by his belief in angels in front of the media. Any and all of these things would have gotten him suspended/fined and/or otherwise thrown out of baseball in today’s game. It hearkens back to a time when men were men, and behavior like this was expected and sometimes even revered. I’m not old enough to really remember those days, but I still miss them.
3. Roger bribed JP to be quiet with a dime.
Self Explanatory. It was almost enough money too.
4. The Angel has arrived signal
A kid standing next to the dugout flapping his arms like a bird and the manager coming over and talking to him every time.
The manager then makes weird in-game maneuvers and no one notices the pattern. Just one thing in this movie that makes me wonder what went on in the age before there were cameras on every move.
5. Non-subtle lesson about not smoking
This scene didn’t really catch my eye until this last time seeing the movie. One of the more sad scenes in the movie, when during the last game against the White Sox, Al (Christopher Lloyd), the head angel, tells Roger that Mel Clark (Tony Danza) is about to become an angel because he’s smoked for years. It compels Roger to convince George to keep Mel in the game, leading to one of the more heartfelt scenes of the movie when Roger stands on the top step of the dugout, flapping his wings in trademark angel fashion. Also, a typical Disney style to include a positive life lesson for the kids watching.
6. Baseball is romantic
If watching this movie doesn’t make you believe that there is something romantic about baseball, just pack it up and go home. Baseball is and always will be the most romantic of all sports. The players are humans with faces, not hidden by facemasks. The game is determined by the players, not a clock, and who can’t romanticize sitting outside on a hot summer day eating peanuts, relaxing, and taking in the magic around you?
7. Baseball is a children’s game
Along those same lines, it’s easy to forget that baseball is a children’s game. In a sports world dominated by headlines about steroids and money, we don’t always remember that baseball is supposed to be about competition and the pure joy of winning. We forget about the days of our own childhood playing little league, or our pickup baseball games at the playground. Back when baseball truly was only about fun.