There are only a handful of classic baseball movies that qualify as unimpeachable. The Natural. Bull Durham. Field of Dreams.
And yes, 1993’s The Sandlot.
So when we hear that 20th Century Fox is apparently working on a prequel film? The only appropriate response is “You’re killin’ me, Fox!”
Even with original director David Mickey Evans reportedly returning (along with a new writer, Austin Reynolds), this can’t help but strike us as a bad idea. The original Sandlot stands as an iconic, nostalgia-fueled paean to innocent childhood life in the suburban U.S. in the 1960s, as well as a glorious ode to the beauty of the game of baseball. Have we learned nothing from the ill-fated, direct-to-video Sandlot sequels, each of which is so bad that we’d rather attempt to swallow a baseball whole than watch them again? What did we do to earn this kind of punishment, the same year that The Sandlot is celebrating its 25th anniversary?
Moreover, what kind of story do you write in a Sandlot prequel? Main character Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) obviously wouldn’t have moved to town and joined the gang at the Sandlot just yet, and the rest of the players, led by Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez (Mike Vitar) wouldn’t yet have come up against The Beast, the giant dog that resides in the junkyard next to the field. Does that mean the story is simply baseball-centered? Or will it revolve around an earlier crew of Sandlot inhabitants in the 1940s or 1950s? Just how Little Rascals are we going here?
At the very least, the film will hopefully work in some of its original cast members into new roles, even if they’re simply cameos. We need to see the return of Michael “Squints” Palledorous (Chauncy Leopardi) or Hamilton “Ham” Porter (Patrick Renna) if this movie is going to have a chance at winning anyone over. And even then, it would be better to simply let it rest in piece, rather than digging up the bones of the original Sandlot all over again.
You know what they say: Heroes get remembered, but Legends periodically get reanimated against their will.