The Sandlot

From BR Bullpen

The Sandlot is a 1993 motion picture about a group of neighborhood friends who play baseball on a sandlot. It is set in California in 1962. The story begins when the new boy, Scott Smalls, moves at the end of the school year. Slight and without the chance to make friends before summer, Smalls is lonely until he is accepted by the guys at the Sandlot.

The group of boys at the sandlot, generally between the ages of 10 and 13, accept Smalls and teach him how to play baseball. Underlying the coming-of-age story, is the English Mastiff that lives beyond the right field fence. The tales of the dog, named Hercules, are legendary. Hercules has been known to eat children and is nicknamed "The Beast". Hercules is owned by a mean, blind gentleman named Mr. Mertle, played by James Earl Jones.

The boys would play on the sandlot daily until the ball was irretrievably lost when it was hit over the fence into Mr. Mertle's yard. To keep the game going, Smalls borrows the baseball signed by Babe Ruth that was acquired by his stepfather as a boy. Smalls, being naive about the history of the game, thinks Ruth is "some lady". The story takes a twist when the signed Ruth ball is hit in to Mr. Mertle's yard and needs to be retrieved before Smalls' stepfather returns home from a business trip.

After several unsuccessful attempts, the leader of the Sandlot, Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez retrieves the ball and is chased by Hercules. After a romp around the neighborhood, Rodriguez returns the ball to Smalls and Hercules is seemingly crushed by a fallen fence. Rodriguez, Smalls, and the other boys remove the fence from the dog and Hercules licks the boys.

Further complicating matters, the boys need to explain to Mr. Mertle that his dog became loose. Upon knocking on the door, they discover Mertle is a gentle soul. They also discover that Mertle played in the Negro Leagues before he lost his eyesight. He trades the destroyed baseball signed by Ruth for a ball signed by the entire 1927 Yankees club. He also wishes for the boys to visit weekly to talk baseball.

In a final scene, Smalls is a radio broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rodriguez is an aging outfielder for the club. Rodriguez steals home in a glorious finale. He gives his old friend a thumbs up in the press box.

Two direct-to-video sequels were made more than a decade after the film debuted. The sequels did not feature any of the original performers.

The oft-repeated line "You're killing me, Smalls" has become a tag line for a generation of young people who grew up watching the film.