If there is a piece of pop culture that perfectly captures summer, baseball and childhood in America (and Canada probably!), it’s The Sandlot. Since baseball and summer are almost and oh so close to being here (not to bum you out, but childhood is gone forever so just get over it, old man!), I put together a list of the top five scenes from the film as it celebrates its 20th anniversary (again: you’re old).
5. The Chase
Benny is childhood athleticism personified. To outrun The Beast is to beat perfection and realign an onlooker’s imagination for what is possible on the baseball field and in life. Benny is a game changer. He is Nolan Ryan’s fastball, Ozzie Smith’s range and Ken Griffey Jr.’s home run swing all rolled into one.
Best quote: “Heroes get remembered. Legends never die. Follow your heart, kid.” (whispered by off screen ghost)
Also notable: PF Flyers would’ve been extinct as a brand a long time ago if it weren't for this three minutes of film.
4. 4th of July
To be an American kid running around the streets on a hot summer night while your parents are off eating grilled meat and getting a little drunk and letting loose with their friends for once because they are always working so hard is a special experience and this scene captures it perfectly.
Best Quote: “Because you see, for us, baseball was a game, but for Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, baseball was life.”
Also notable: Everyone at some point should watch fireworks at night in a big empty field while listening to Ray Charles sing “America, the Beautiful.” Man, I’m glad I didn’t grow up in France.
3. The Legend of the Beast
The Story of The Beast scene is kids imitating adults. Squints probably heard his uncle tell a story about how he hit a baseball over a mountain once and thought it was so cool, so he tells his own overblown story about the local hermit and his dog. And he does it really well.
Best Quote: “For. Ev. Er.”
Also notable: Right before this scene, Ham says probably the most iconic line from The Sandlot (“You’re killin’ me, Smalls.”) because Smalls doesn’t know what a s’more is.
2. The Challenge
Rich kids vs. Poor kids. Ego and showboats vs. Hustle and scrappers. Clean jerseys vs. Dirty. Yankees vs. Any team that's not the Yankees.
Best Quote: "You play ball like a girl."
Also notable: My personal most quoted Sandlot line: “You bob for apples in the toilet...and you LIKE it." (delivered by the rich kid with textbook impotent rage)
1. Wendy the Lifeguard
For a certain generation, Squints is the original American perv.