Foothill League coaches reflect on “The Sandlot” on its 25th anniversary


The phrases “The Great Bambino,” “The Sultan of Swat” and “The Colossus of Clout” can only remind us of one thing: “The Sandlot.”

Portraying a bunch of baseball-loving kids, the movie brings back nostalgic memories of playing on the baseball diamond, getting in trouble and enjoying a Southern California summer.

Debuting in 1993, growing up in southern California, you were more than likely to have this movie on replay all day long.

Twenty-five years later, Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez and his ragtag group of friends celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the movie’s release this week and they’re bringing back old memories.

The Signal asked several coaches from Foothill League baseball and softball teams to comment on what the movie meant to them and how it influenced their baseball careers.

Jim Ozella, Hart baseball

“Just make sure you never use a baseball signed by Babe Ruth.

It’s a great movie for kids to get to know the game. It’s kind of old school and a lot of kids that watched it love it because it goes back to the old days of baseball and playing in the neighborhood.

Playing in the lot and organizing things yourself was kind of hard and now with everything going on in club and parents being so involved the essence has kind of changed. I remember organizing games all the time with no adults. Picking kids to play on my team, that was the hard part.

I never had a crush on Wendy,” Ozella added, chuckling.

Julie Archer, Saugus softball

“A legendary movie and one that you can relate to as a kid. It’s about a group of friends playing together, so kids in high school and college can relate to that.

Benny ‘The Jet’ was a stud. He was obviously the best guy of the group.”

Mike Killinger, Valencia baseball

“The funny thing is, when I was going through high school ‘Major League’ was kind of the movie that influenced baseball. ‘The Sandlot’ came out when I was in high school, so I kind of already had my movie.

The scene where he doesn’t know who Babe Ruth was and they start coming at him and making fun of him was a blast.”

Casey Burrill, West Ranch baseball

“An American classic. I think anyone that has been in baseball for quite a while, it reminds them and reflects on their childhood. We all went out and played in the street making makeshift bases and batters’ boxes, so I think we all relate to it. All those things intertwine into baseball. I still use quotes from the movie like, ‘You’re killing me, Smalls!’

It’s funny because we are getting a generation of kids that don’t know the movie and when I pull out my Sandlot quotes, half of the boys get the reference and half look at me with blank stares.

And of course, we all wanted to date Wendy Peffercorn.”

Phil Giarrizzo, West Ranch softball

“Inspiring. I enjoyed how the kids tried and actually wound up getting past the dog and retrieving the Babe Ruth ball.

It reminded me of a situation, where my wife took an entire set of baseball cards that I owned and pawned them for some money while I was at work. When I came home she told me the news and I said, ‘You did what?’ The cards were my Babe Ruth ball.”

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