So the other night I was channel surfing trying to find something to help fight off boredom. Unable to find anything on about 500 some channels I found myself wandering into the movie channels. What did I find you ask? One of
the greatest movies from my childhood, Rookie of the Year. It was the heart warming tale of 12 year old Henry Rowengartner, a little leaguer who breaks his arm and in a freak coincidence develops a 100 mph fastball after it heals and signs with the Cubs. He was played by Thomas Ian Nicholas. Some of you might know him better as the guy trying to give Tara Reid the business in American Pie. That’s quite a career arc to be honest.
Anyways, what can we really learn about a movie like this? From my point of view there are definitely ten things we can take away from this piece of American cinema history. I would just like to point out that in no way am I trying to make fun of this movie in a bad way. I absolutely love this movie. It’s one of the defining movies of my childhood and as such I felt necessary to write about it… in a humorous way of course. Without further adieu, the Top Ten Things We can Learn from Rookie of the Year.
- Break your throwing arm. Break it on purpose if you have to and hope that your ligaments heal back too tightly causing a freakish 100 mph fastball at 12 years old. Unfortunately I didn’t realize this until I was twice that age. When I’m a dad I’m going to litter my backyard with baseballs and hope my 12 year old son is clumsy enough to break his arm. You might call it child abuse. I call it forward thinking.
- Don’t ever, under any circumstances, call your girlfriend a whore, floozy, slut, or any combination of the three. This is especially true when the whore is the mother of your client/potential step-son. It won’t end well. In fact, it’s most likely you’ll end up getting punched in the face so hard you fall off the porch.
- Hot Ice. That’s right Hot Ice. Some argue after pitching a good 7 or 8 innings whether it’s better to use heat or
cold to recover. Fortunately, thanks to pitching coach Phil Brickma we can have the best of both worlds. Hot Ice! You take the ice cubes and heat them up in the microwave. Absolutely revolutionary.
- Harness the “Have To.” That’s right the “Have To.” It’s what you use to do something you don’t want to do. It’ll make sense, just think about it. If it helps just remember this concept was introduced to you by a character
being played by Gary Busey.
- Don’t deny the power of a boat. Long before there was “I’m On a Boat” there was the touching seen where Henry and his two friends patch up their differences by taking their new finished boat out onto the lake. Looking back you can imagine the boys pulling up to the beach to get the girls and shouting out, “we’re on a boat mother effers!” and proceeding to party hard with the Julie “The Cat” Gaffney from Mighty Ducks 2 and two other floozies.
- The Yankees, as also seen in real life, are evil. In real life the Yankees attempt to buy their worlds series titles by essentially buying players such as A-rod, Sabathia, and Texiera. In the film the Yankees attempt to buy Henry. Damn you George Steinbrenner! Does
your villainous ego and desire to win know no bounds?
- Owners have no idea about concession prices. During the final game against the Mets, the Cubs owner decides to sit in the stands. Doing so he buys hot dogs for everyone and is bewildered by the price of a hot dog. In all honesty this might be the most realistic aspect of the entire movie.
- Pitching coaches are overrated. This movie proves it. The Cubs are able to finish a road trip with their pitching coach trapped between room connecting doors in a hotel and the biggest game of the season with him locked in the supply cage down in the clubhouse. Granted Phil Brickma was a genius with his revolutionary Hot Ice we covered earlier, but this proves that his actual on field contributions were useless, especially when you have Chet “The Rocket” Steadman dispensing life altering advice like the “Have To.”
- Barry Bonds undoubtedly took steroids. Don’t believe me? Go watch this movie. During a montage in the middle
of the movie Henry strikes out Bobby Bonilla, Pedro Guerrero, and Barry Bonds. Take time to pause and stare in amazement at Bonds. In fact look at the lack of Barry Bonds. He’s tiny… like really tiny. That’s the same guy that would go on to break Hank Aaron’s record of 755 homeruns… right. I’m totally convinced he did that naturally.
- The float pitch is an unstoppable force. So much so that it can
render any large, barbaric power hitter useless. Even one’s who are able to squeeze the saw dust out of a bat handle. Henry end’s up using the pitch, which we come to find out his floozy of a mom has patented and passed along through the blood line and not his dead beat dad. In a pinch the floater can also be used to get items such as sun block to people already through airport security.
As I said earlier, this is truly one of the greatest movies ever made and many of life’s simple lessons can be learned from it. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I for one enjoyed writing it. SO much so that I think I’m going to keep this going and periodically write life lessons for other sports movies. Stay tuned.