Indians History Abounds with Movie Possibilities

When I heard they were making a movie about Game 7 of last year’s World Series, I said … well, I said lots of things, most unfit for public consumption.

Of course, this comes the day after David Ross – whose forthcoming book “Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series For the Ages” will serve as the basis for the book – made his appearance on the “Dancing With the Stars” season opener. (As a child of the 80s, I feel obligated to root for Mr. T.)

I can’t even bring myself to hate-watch this movie, and you’d be surprised at the movies I’ve hate-watched. (Hellooooo, “Spice World!”)

That project aside, it’s actually a really interesting time to be an Indians fan as well as a movie fan. “The Pitch That Killed,” the seminal account of the fatal beaning of Indians shortstop Ray Chapman, was optioned for a movie several years ago (it appears to be stuck in what’s known in the industry as “development hell”). And a movie’s in the works based on the book “The Catcher Was a Spy,” about journeyman backstop Moe Berg – who, they said, could speak seven languages and not hit a curveball in any of them – whose baseball career included two stints with the Tribe.

There are plenty of movies to be made from Cleveland Indians history. We wouldn’t even have to think up new titles:

  • “Citizen Lane” – A baseball executive has an almost pathological need to make transactions, trying desperately to fill the void left by his childhood sled.
  • “The Madness of King George” – The scion of a Cleveland shipbuilding firm runs a basketball team into the ground and then tries to buy the Indians. The sale is blocked, but the movie ends with him taking a call about another team being for sale.
  • “Electric Boog-aloo” – A mountainous first baseman resurrects his career at Municipal Stadium – wearing a red uniform that makes him look like an overgrown blood clot.
  • “On the Waterfront” – A tale of survival of a family of four taking in a night game in April at Municipal Stadium – in the days when the Indians were nowhere near the point where they coulda been contenders.
  • “Field of Dreams” – A new baseball-only stadium combines with a team overflowing with talent to lead to the best era of Indians baseball in 40 years.

While we’re at it, there are plenty of other Cleveland sports stories that could end up on the silver screen:

  • “L.A. Confidential” – a New York millionaire buys Cleveland’s NFL team and engineers a move to the West Coast right after the team wins the title.
  • “The Color of Money” – ANOTHER New Yorker rips Cleveland’s football team from the only home it’s ever known to avoid bankruptcy. The movie ends with him selling the team, the unhappiest happy ending since “Godfather II.”
  • “The Return of the King” – LeBron James makes his triumphant return to Northeast Ohio where, to borrow from another famous trilogy, he fulfills his duty as the chosen one and brings balance to the Force.
  • “West Side Story” – the tale of a Bay Village home that’s been looked at by Bill Cowher, Tom Izzo and every other high-profile coaching candidate we’re sure is going to come to Cleveland.
  • “Slap Shot” – the misadventures of the Barons, Cleveland’s brief entry into the NHL – and the last team in any of the four major leagues to fold.
  • And finally, in a tribute to the late, great Jimmy Breslin, “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” The story of the Browns from 1999 to the present.

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