“The Rookie” is the latest baseball movie from Disney, but don’t skip it because you’re expecting another “Angels in the Outfield.”

This movie is compelling and thoroughly enjoyable. If it is also a little bit corny and predictable, it’s because it all actually happened. You know what they say about the truth being stranger than fiction.

It is the story of Jim Morris, a 37-year-old high school science teacher and baseball coach who makes it all the way to the major leagues. Morris was drafted as a promising young pitcher out of junior college, but arm injuries prevented him from making it to the majors his first time around.

Fortunately for Morris, a bet with his high school team gave him a second chance.

After a brief history of baseball in Morris’s future hometown, the movie starts with a young Morris playing catch in the snow in Connecticut.

Trevor Morgan was only on screen for about 15 minutes, but he did a great job of acting a desire to play baseball and young Morris’ disappointment every time his family had to move because of his father’s Navy job.

Dennis Quaid then took over as Morris, and he was excellent. I have never been a big Dennis Quaid fan, but he made me believe that he was passionate about pitching and his reactions in each scene were so realistic that I thought of him as Jim Morris instead of Dennis Quaid by the middle of the movie.

There were four really good scenes in the movie, and I don’t feel bad telling you about them because it’s a true story and they did a great job of sticking to the facts.

The scene that really got me into the movie was when the catcher on the high school team convinces Morris to play catch and “bring his heat.” When the ball whooshed into the mitt with a pop and Quaid’s face lit up, I couldn’t keep my face from splitting into a huge smile.

Shortly after that, the team made the bet with Morris. If they won the District Championship, he would try out for the majors. Even though you already knew what would happen, the winning streak leading up to the championship and the game itself were still exciting.

The movie ends with the emotional scenes of Morris finally getting called up to the big leagues and then pitching in his first major-league game.

The amazing thing about the movie is that there really were no slow spots. The whooshing noise they use every time Morris throws a fastball gets a little old by the end, but the feel-good moments do not.

The Rookie is the first sports movie I’ve ever seen that’s without a doubt not a chick flick, but still brings some moisture to the corners of your eyes.

It’s about having dreams and chasing them. It’s about fathers and sons, teachers and students, teammates and friends.

It’s about baseball, and it’s a must see.

Jacobs can be reached at bjacobs@campustimes.org.



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