Why You Should Hate The Kid From ‘Rookie Of The Year’

With the MLB season in full-swing, one of my favorite things about our national pastime comes to mind: baseball movies.  Just the thought of the sport brings back memories of seeing films like The Sandlot, Bull Durham, Major League, Little Big League, and of course Rookie Of The Year.

For those of you who have never seen it, Rookie Of The Year stars Thomas Ian Nicholas.  You know, the dude who would later go on to eat out Tara Reid in American Pie (Side Note: I sure hope he got paid well to put his head that close to Ms. Reid’s disease encrusted ham wallet).  Anyways, Nicholas plays a 12-year old Chicago Cubs fan that breaks his arm and, after the cast is removed, develops the ability to throw a baseball very fast, a talent that seems to elude every other Cubs player (This is about as close to reality as the film gets).

As a result of this newfound ability, Nicholas’s character is signed as a relief pitcher by the Cubs.  And after a few marginally comedic scenes and some sappy life lessons learned, the kid successfully leads the Cubbies to a division title.  The film is far from being one of the better baseball flicks listed above, but if you’ve got 103 minutes to kill, there are way worse things you could watch.

So why, 18 years after the film’s release, am I bringing it up now?  Well, I happened to be watching it recently, and I came upon some huge gripes I now have with the ending.  Here’s what happens:

During the final inning of the division title game, our pint-sized star pitcher runs onto the field to close out the game.  As he approaches the mound, he slips on a badly-placed baseball and lands directly on his throwing arm, losing his ability to bring any kind of velocity to his pitches.  Because he can no longer bring the heat, he intentionally walks his first batter and uses the hidden ball trick for his first out.  Then, he intentionally walks the second batter and dares him to try to steal second, eventually tagging him out.  For the third and final batter, he throws two “change ups” for strikes one and two.  And for the all important third strike, he, under advisement from his mother, throws a pitch that can only be described as an “underhanded third-grade style bitch toss lob” that sees nothing but the catcher’s glove for the strikeout.  Cubs win!  Cubs win!

Now I’ve seen that ending at least a dozen times, and one thing never occurred to me:

The kid in that movie is a selfish little bitch.

Let’s backtrack shall we.  The kid goes onto the field for one of the most important games in the history of the Cubs franchise, and after losing his ability to pitch, what does he do?  Does he try to pop his shoulder back into place and get his throw back? No.  Does he signal to the manager that he can’t play? No.  Does he suggest the team bring in another hurler who can possibly throw the ball faster than 25mph?  No. 

Instead, he conjures up a few hackneyed schemes that could easily go wrong and leave him with thousands of pissed off North-Siders who want nothing more than his prepubescent head on a stick.  And for the grand finale, he takes advice from his mother and lobs a softball floater pitch.  Hey mom, why don’t you tap into those maternal instincts and tell your kid to leave the game so he could possibly walk out of Wrigley without drunken swarthy Cubs fans on his tail aching to go all “Ike & Tina” on him.

And what the fuck is Gary Busey doing in a kids’ movie?

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