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You may have heard they’re an insult to the game. You may have heard they don’t even play on a real diamond or wear real uniforms. Hell, you may have heard they like bobbing for apples in the toilet and live in constant fear of a neighborhood dog. Honestly, some of those claims have merit, but even so, I’m here to tell you the 10 and 11-year-old boys who congregate at The Sandlot are, without question, collectively the greatest baseball team ever assembled in the San Fernando Valley.
With a combination of vicious heaters, timely hitting and mean-spirited insults, they’re able to run over every single opponent like an unstoppable juggernaut. They proved it by beating a bunch of pee-drinking crap faces recently, and with plenty of celebratory chewing tobacco on hand, they’ll gladly take on any and all-comers, at least provided it’s not too hot.
If we’re being honest, however, there are still a few holes in that Sandlot line-up. There are a few players who do almost all of the heavy-lifting and a few others who coast on the greatness of their teammates. So, let’s have an honest conversation about the men on the field. Just as we recently did with The Mighty Ducks, let’s rank every single player in The Sandlot by baseball greatness.
9) Michael "Squints" PalledorousPosition: Right Field Or Center Field
Pros: Nice Footspeed, Fooling Around Experience, Grandpa In Law Enforcement, Good Storyteller, Plays Multiple Positions
Cons: Non-Swimmer, Banned From The Pool, Poor Bat Speed, Lack Of Power, Suspect Eyesight
Analysis: Pretty much every time Squints swings the bat, you can tell he’s not coming around on it fast enough. We don’t get quite enough game action to know for sure, but it’s a pretty safe bet that he grounds out to second base on a regular basis. Fortunately, with a short little choppy swing, it’s likely he’s a contact hitter, and with good speed, if he hits it even toward a hole, he can probably beat out the throw. He also seems to be at least an average defensive player, given no one bitches about his play, and he’s sometimes seen playing center field.
Every team I’ve ever been on includes at least one dude who loves to tell weird sex stories. Think Moe in Slap Shot. As the only player who has kissed a woman long and good, Squints fits that niche quite well here. He’s done some weird shit, and he planned all of it years ahead of time. In addition, I also have it on good authority that he’s probably going to own a drug store later in his life; so, painkillers for everyone’s sore knees.
8) Scotty SmallsPosition: Left Field
Pros: Good With Erecter Sets, Easily Excited, Has A Ball At Home, Doesn't Know What To Call Bill
Cons: Doesn’t Own A Glove, Can’t Make Smores, Terrible Hat
Analysis: If we’re judging the Scotty that showed up on his first day, clearly, he’s the worst player. He’s got more throwing problems than Chuck Knoblauch, and unlike the former Yankee, he’s not a 4-time all-star with a great bat. He has no redeeming qualities, just a really shitty hat and no fundamentals. He’s a complete embarrassment, and deep down, he knows how much of a goofus he is. But over the course of the film’s runtime, he improves rapidly. He actually even goes yard by the end of the summer. So, let’s judge him mid-The Sandlot, at a point in which he’s rapidly improved to being the second worst player on the team.
There’s something to be said for Smalls’ enthusiasm too. Look in the background of any scene, and there’s a good chance he’s got a big ass grin on his face for no reason whatsoever. You need foolish dumbasses like that to get the rally hats going when you’re down four runs in the second inning. And you also need people willing to sprint as fast as possible to go get a new ball. In short, you need at least one dude who is prone to making this face…
7) Tommy "Repeat" TimmonsPosition: Right Field, Center Field, Some Infield
Pros: Good Listener, Sneaky Bunter, Good Utility Man, Late Birthday, Excellent Fundamentals
Cons: Frequently States The Obvious, Lacks Power, Poor Self-Confidence, Annoying As Shit
Analysis: If this were a draft format, Repeat would be way higher. Half the guys who play professional sports for a living grew up getting pounded by their older brothers (or sisters). Playing against better competition is the easiest way to get really good, and older kids almost always provide better competition. With a solid set of fundamentals, a good attitude and plenty of time to mature, Repeat is going to be a force when he gets older. Unfortunately, that’s then and this is now, and in the now, his small stature and lack of strength are serious blows to his overall skill level.
Still, it’s quite an impressive accomplishment to get out there with bigger kids and blend in. No one is complaining about Repeat’s play. He’s more than capable of holding his own, and he can seamlessly slide into various positions depending on who is available, who is hitting, etc. If he's your seventh best guy, you're in good shape.
6) Bertram WeeksPosition: 2nd Base
Pros: Gets Low On Groundballs, Excellent Sliding Technique, Has Chewing Tobacco
Cons: A Little Bit Lanky, Lacks Common Sense, Is Currently Missing
Analysis: Bertram squares to the ball really well when he fields, which is key for a second baseman. He also has, without question, the best sliding form of anyone on the team, except maybe Tommy Timmons. He loses almost no momentum when he slides, as opposed to some of the other kids who have terrible timing and/ or sketchy balance. Seriously, go back and watch The Sandlot and look for it. You’ll see.
If you do, you’ll also see that Bertram steps toward third base a little too much on his swing. No doubt that produces a lot of groundouts to shortstop, but that’s something that can easily be fixed with good coaching. His interest in chewing tobacco could probably be fixed with good parenting, but I’m gonna go ahead and let that go. First of all, it’s baseball and baseball players are into chewing tobacco for some reason, and second of all, its’ not like he peer pressured everyone into trying LSD. Though on a related note, it’s possible LSD is the reason why Bertram is missing. We just don’t know. Someone get me Jessica Fletcher immediately.
5) Timmy TimmonsPosition: 1st Base
Pros: Steady Fielder, Fundamentally Sound Swing, Tells His Brother To Shutup, Goes With The Flow
Cons: Lack Of Power, Lack Of Charisma, Drops The SH-Bomb At The Pool
Analysis: Timmy is probably the most underrated player on the team. He just puts his head down and does his job. He’s the type of guy who could field 500 routine groundballs in a row without making an error. Clearly, whoever taught him and his brother Tommy the game of baseball had a real solid head on his shoulders. Plus, there aren’t a lot of people who play an effective first base. More often than not, teams try to hide a fat power hitter/ defensive liability there. It’s not a horrible strategy, but for my money, I’d rather have a Mark Grace type or a Timmy Timmons type than an obese power hitter who can’t pick the ball cleanly out of the dirt.
Another big pro to Timmy is he’s a go with the flow type guy. You can’t have too many strong personalities in the dressing room, and when he’s not dealing with his brother’s repetitions, he’s calm and collected enough to just float with the water like a comfortable lazy river.
4) Alan "Yeah Yeah" McClennanPosition: Shortstop/ 3rd Base
Pros: Excellent Top Of The Order Speed, Good Defensively, A+ Lateral Mobility
Cons: Lacks Discipline According To Parents, Runs Like A Duck, Chews Gum With His Mouth Open, Bad Catchphrase
Analysis: I’m pretty tolerant of bad catchphrases because I appreciate the fact that people have catchphrases at all, but even as the bad ones go, "Yeah Yeah" is pretty terrible. It makes him sound like he’s constantly on the defensive and losing every single argument, which is especially bad since he weighs about fifty-five pounds and is maybe four feet, six inches tall.
On a brighter note, Yeah Yeah’s weird manic energy is exactly what you want in a lead-off man and shortstop. He can hit the holes hard on groundballs, and he’s a threat to steal anytime he gets on base. With a punchy little swing, I’m sure he makes contact with the ball on the majority of his at-bats too, which is good since a lead-off hitter who strikes out a lot is practically worthless.
3) Hamilton PorterPosition: Catcher
Pros: Fat Kid Power, Expert Trash Talker, Competent Smore Maker, Plenty Of Confidence
Cons: Poor Self Awareness, Overreacts To Everything, Slow, Below Average At Babe Ruth Impressions
Analysis: Don’t give it to him low and outside. I don’t care if you’re throwing a heater. That’s where the man likes it, and he’s going to make you pay for throwing heaters into his sweet spot with monster homers, even if it means wasting the last ball and ruining the rest of the afternoon. That being said, feel free to feed Ham as many high pitches as you want. He lacks the patience and willpower needed to lay off early in the count-- like Kit from A League Of Their Own. In fact, he lacks a lot of other things too like tact and self-awareness, but that’s part of what makes him such a good catcher.
I’ve known a lot of cocky assholes in my day, many of whom were also catchers. I’m not sure I’ve ever met one with as big of a mouth as Hamilton Porter though. He loves a good confrontation, and it shows when he gets into it with that moron with the naked sister in left field. Like any good catcher, he doesn’t hold back either. He steadily increases the pace and aggression of his taunts until he drops the hammer and leaves everyone in the immediate vicinity looking like this…
2) Kenny DeNunezPosition: Pitcher
Pros: Throws Smoke, Hits Very Well For A Pitcher, Cocky, Good Speed, Good Mechanics
Cons: Can’t Blow His Fastball Past Good Hitters, Often Tells The Batter What Pitch Is Coming
Analysis: Kenny actually has really good mechanics, but it’s hard to notice when we see him get shelled in the majority of his scenes. That’s just the downside to being a pitcher though. People really don’t watch full baseball games live anymore, or at least not as many of them. SportsCenter and apparently director David M Evans are way more into showing people hit home runs and get on base than they are in showing well-placed change-ups. So, what we get is a steady stream of hits.
Kenny has real potential. It’s hard to tell how much his curveball breaks, but with a catcher that’s able to call the right pitches, he’s capable of mowing down damn near any lineup of 10 and 11-year-olds in California. Plus, it’s always nice to have a pitcher who can swing the bat and especially one who has speed.
1) Benny "The Jet" RodriguezPosition: Every Single Position
Pros: Great Speed, Good Power, Willing To Fight The Beast, Owns Multiple Gloves, Can Hit Cover Off A Baseball
Cons: Too Obsessed With Baseball, Mediocre Personality, Less Sexually Experienced Than Squints
Analysis: You know how old men love to say, "That guy can probably hit the cover off the baseball"? Ha Ha. Well, Benny the Jet Rodriguez did that. He literally hit the cover off a baseball, which is probably the most impressive thing ever to happen in California since William Randolph Hearst died. No matter where he goes or what he does (like say playing for the Dodgers), I’m not sure he’ll ever be able to accomplish that again. It just doesn’t happen, but as a five tool player, he’ll certainly be able to accomplish some other sweet highlights too.
The idiot on the opposing team knows as well as anyone. You can talk trash against the other kids all you want. Hell, you can even call Hamilton Porter a fat kid, but you cannot talk shit to The Jet. He’s not an insult to the game, and he’s more than capable of scoring on every rundown and making solid contact with the ball every time he’s up. He’s simply the best player on the team, and ultimately, it’s not even very close.
Honorable Mention: Wendy PeffercornPosition: Lifeguard
Pros: Knows CPR, Fills Out A Swimsuit, Waves Like A Porn Star, Knows Exactly What She’s Doing
Cons: Weirdly Into Squints, Might Not Know How To Play Baseball
Analysis: With the greatest red bathing suit this side of Farrah Fawcett, the greatest sunglasses this side of Lolita and the greatest diving form this side of Cindy Morgan, Wendy Peffercorn owns the pool. She dominates it every bit as aggressively and thoroughly as The Jet dominates a baseball diamond.
Speaking of which, we have no way of knowing whether Wendy is capable of hitting a curveball. We don’t know if she’s good on the base paths or whether she’s even capable of bunting a runner into scoring position. For all we know, she might be godawful at baseball, but something tells me every single player on the team would gladly teach her how to play.