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True Facts: Five Unmade Baseball Films

Posted By Carson Cistulli On December 2, 2010 @ 2:59 pm In True Facts | 5 Comments

Yesterday, at his blog, Friend of NotGraphs and All-Around Ubermensch Rob Neyer — responding to this list of the 50 best baseball movies — both provided his own dozen favorite baseball movies and bemoaned the general lack of quality within the genre.

Be that as it may, some investigation within the film industry reveals quite a few potentially interesting baseball-related films that haven’t, for one reason or another, made it to theaters. Below are five notable and super-factual examples of such cases.

Working Title: The Fresh Kills Nine
Synopsis: A typically whimsical Wes Anderson project in which Owen, Luke, and the seven other Wilson brothers play a 19th century barnstorming club from Staten Island. The screenplay was very well-received within the industry and included what would have likely been a memorable cameo by Bill Murray as a New York City machine politician. Unfortunately, the project stalled when it became clear that more tweed was required for it than had ever been made in the entire history of the world.

Working Title: Rod Carew: A Serious Man
Synopsis: This Coen Brothers’ script was an early version of a film the pair actually made — i.e. 2009′s A Serious Man. Like that film, this iteration also takes place in the Coens’ native Minnesota and also explores the Coens’ Jewish faith. The difference is, of course, that the story revolves around not Michael Stuhlbarg’s physics professor, but Minnesota Twin hiting-machine Rod Carew. The baseball narrative was ultimately dropped when musician and Minnesota-native Prince refused to play the part of Carew.

Working Title: Papi
Synopsis: Papi was written and developed in late-2004 by Disney’s Pixar Studios in an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Sox DH David Ortiz in the wake of Boston’s thrilling playoff run. The project was sure to create much in the way of cross-promotional and merchandising opportunities; however, copyright issues became unavoidable when animators were unable to render a version of Ortiz that didn’t resemble almost exactly DreamWorks’ property Shrek.

Working Title: Casey Jones at the Bat
Synopsis: A project originally conceived at the height of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ popularity, Casey Jones at the Bat never really progressed past the earliest planning stages, but promised to include a lot of made-up, and vaguely African-sounding words..

Working Title: The Bear Jew
Synopsis: Not, as you might expect, a fleshing out of Eli Roth’s character from Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 war film Inglourious Basterds, The Bear Jew is actually just a biopic of Boston corner infielder and on-base machine Kevin Youkilis. Filming is going on now, and it is happening everywhere.


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