Think of some of greatest sports teams in cinematic history; Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez and the boys from “The Sandlot,” The 1989 Cleveland Indians, The Mighty Ducks, and the 1971 TC Williams football team just to name a few. These groups all had the captain, the hero, the go-to-guy who kept the team afloat through the ups and downs. But not everyone can rise to the top and throw the team on their back when they need it the most, can they?
As the old saying goes, a team is only as strong as its weakest link. These clubs had some players who had major accountability issues on and off the field. It’s time that these burdens of success be held accountable. Let’s look back at the worst athletic liabilities in film.
Scotty Smalls – “The Sandlot”
What a dope. I’ve never been the new kid in town, but I did change schools a few times as a young lad. What’s the number one rule when trying to fit in? Keep a low profile. Not only did Smalls awkwardly peep in on The Jet, Ham, Squints and the boys; when he got his time to shine, he threw that wayward baseball with a wet noodle that might not ever be replicated.
He had a plastic baseball glove. He didn’t know who Babe Ruth was. He went clout chasing and swiped a Great Bambino-signed baseball to actually play with. He didn’t know how to catch until Benny put one right in his (non-plastic) glove. Total disruption on what was a solid team.
Roger Dorn – “Major League”
I have to give it to Roger Dorn, the guy was a planner, which I can appreciate. He was ready to get out of that hell hole in Cleveland, hit free agency for one more pay day, and had an eye on a lucrative post-playing career as well. You can’t blame a man for trying to secure his future, unless it gets in the way of the goals of the team in his present.
The man had a contract clause that stipulated he didn’t have to do any calisthenics. Again, heady play by Dorn and his agent. But if your starting third baseman isn’t taking care of his body, how is that helping you out on the field? Luckily for the ’89 Indians, they overcame Dorn’s lack of enthusiasm and went on to beat the Yankees in a one-game playoff to win the AL East.
Goldberg – “The Mighty Ducks”
I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I’m some hockey czar. But, a goalie seems to be a fairly critical part of assembling a successful team. As far as I know, the main responsibility of a goalie is to stop the puck from heading into the back of the net.
Let’s break down one of Goldberg, the goalie’s, most noteworthy lines:
Goldberg: Be careful, man. It almost hit me that time!
Charlie Conway: Goldberg, you’re the goalie. It’s supposed to hit you.
Goldberg: Does that sound stupid to anyone else?
Do you sound as stupid as anyone else, Goldberg? Plop yourself between the pipes, secure the crease, and quit being such a burden to the rest of the Ducks. Thank God Julie “The Cat” Gaffney eventually came around and supplanted this loaf.
Alan Bosley – “Remember The Titans”
Alan Bosley was a cornerback on the TC Williams Titans football team in one of the greatest football movies ever made. As good as this movie was, Bosley was equally as bad on the field. Watching Alan try to lock down high school wide receivers was like a toddler trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube…just wasn’t going to happen.
Alan became such a liability in the Titans’ secondary that he was eventually replaced by Petey Jones; a running back (THEE, runnin’ back, ya’ll) with fumbling issues. It was a good look by Alan to take the demotion as well as he did; but man, he did some serious damage while he was out there. Even worse, turns out Alan Bosley wasn’t even a real player on the team. I wonder what ever happened to that actor that played him, seemed like a nice kid.
Despite all of the disadvantages these duds put their teams at, each squad ended up successful. The Sandlot boys handed a strong “L” to an organized little league team, we already talked about the Indians winning the AL East, and TC Williams & The Mighty Ducks both won their respective state championships. The power of cinema, folks.