a2JxfGOm The Sandlot Kids 1993 2
The Sandlot Kids 1993 2
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The Sandlot Kids: Hercules has got ’em licked

Riley Riley

Introducing the grandkids to movies that your kids loved when they were young is a gratifying experience.

You have to be careful what you pick though because kids have a very low tolerance for stuff that doesn’t catch their attention right away.

But here’s a tip, if you’re looking for a sure-fire winner — look no further than The Sandlot Kids.

My seven-year-old grand daughter, the oldest of the four, is a big fan of animated movies, especially those with singing and dancing such as Frozen and Tangled.

She was sceptical at first when I suggested The Sandlot (it’s sometimes called just The sandlot), wanting to know what the movie was about and whether it featured girls as well as boys.

Trust me, I said.

So, on a rainy Saturday night, we settled down on the big wraparound lounge to watch The Sandlot Kids and it wasn’t long before the little ones were enthralled.

For those unfamiliar with the movie, it’s a 1993 American comedy that tells the story of a group of young baseball players and the fateful events of the summer of 1962, events that would shape their lives. 

The action gets underway as fifth-grader Scott Smalls (Tom Guiry) arrives in the San Fernando Valley with his mum and new stepfather, Bill.

Scott just wants to be left alone to play with his Erector construction set (a larger version of Meccano), but his mother encourages him to get out and make some new friends.

He tries to break into a tight-knit circle of boys who play baseball almost every day on a vacant piece of local land, but his inability to catch or even throw the ball earns the scorn of the other boys.

All of them, that is, except their leader and best player, Benjamin Franklin “Benny” Rodriguez (Mike Vitar), who encourages the group to give him a go.

In a bid to develop his ball skills, Scott asks stepfather Bill (Denis Leary) to play catch with him, but it ends badly when he is struck in the eye with the ball, earning him a large shiner.

It turns out his stepfather is a bit of a baseball tragic with a collection of sports memorabilia, including a ball signed by the legendary Babe Ruth.

Despite his lack of talent, Benny invites Scott to join the group, coaching him on the finer points of pitching and catching, and helping him to earn the respect of the other boys.

When catcher, Ham (Patrick Renna), blasts a home run over the fence of an adjacent backyard, Scott runs to retrieve the ball, but he has second thoughts after hearing scary noises from the other side of the fence.

That night in their tree house and the boys tell Scott about “the Beast”, a huge, fearsome English Mastiff that lives on the other side of the fence.

Every baseball ever hit over the fence has never been reclaimed, guarded by the Beast which is kept chained up by his owner, Mr Mertle.

To curry favour with the team, Scott steals into his stepfather’s study and takes his signed baseball and . . . you guessed . . .  it ends up over the fence too.

The rest of the movie follows their endeavours to get back the ball before Bill returns from a business trip and finds it missing.

Originally titled as simply The Sandlot, The Sandlot Kids was co-written, directed and narrated by David Mickey Evans.

Other characters include Karen Allen as Scott’s mother, while James Earl Jones features as Mr Mertle.

We won’t spoil the rest of the fun for you, suffice to say The Sandlot Kids is one of those movies that is just as entertaining for adults as it is for adults.

There’s two sequels, but neither are anywhere near as good as the original (although you’ll probably have the kids begging to watch them).

  • The Sandlot 2 (2005) – a direct-to-video sequel with a new Sandlot gang. The only returning cast member is James Earl Jones.
  • The Sandlot: Heading Home (2007) – also direct-to-video, stars Luke Perry as Tommy “Santa” Santorelli who gets knocked back to 1976 from 2005 and relives his childhood. Chauncey Leopardi reprises his role as Squints.

You can catch The Sandlot Kids on Disney+. Enjoy.

 

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Time out score

Final thoughts . . .

The Sandlot is a genuine classic

Overall
4.5

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Riley