Tonight’s the night for Game 2 of the World Series! The Cubs have already made history and are angling to lay the curse to rest once and for all. And then there’s Cleveland—they can hit; they have a bullpen; they’re, like, really good at baseball! The matchup promises to be one of the most exciting (non-Mets’ series, of course) we’ve seen in a long time. But there’s more! The two teams are also stars of the silver screen: Major League takes on Rookie of the Year.
This time last year I was considerably less excited about the Cubs’ movie moments, particularly when Panic City was aflutter about the potential clairvoyance of Back to the Future 2, in which Doc and Marty travel to October 21, 2015 and the Cubs win the World Series. But now that there’s nothing on the line for us Mets fans, I find the Cubs cameos considerably more charming. I mean, let’s be real—I spent many a Blockbuster trip on Rookie of the Year. (Fun fact: Rookie of the Year was a remake of the 1954 Roogie’s Bump, in which the kid joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and Carl Erskine, Billy Loes and Roy Campanella starred.)
Then again, the Kings of Queens themselves are no slouches when it comes to movie appearances. In a 2000 interview with the LA Times, Cindy McManus of Major League Baseball Properties—which clears the use of team names and iconography in film and TV—confirmed that the Mets are “definitely one of the more popular teams” as far as frequency of depictions. So while the options are many, I offer you my top five favorite Met movie moments:
The Odd Couple
This 1968 film based on the play featured the ever impressive game-winning “triple play,” with which the Mets get out of a jam to topple the Pittsburgh Pirates. The scene was filmed on location at Shea preceding an actual Mets-Pirates game on June 27, 1967. The Mets went on to win the real game, too, 5-2—Ron Swoboda the night’s MVP with a three-run homer.
Movie Stats: A perfect 100 on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer, (maybe critics were nicer then?) with an 89 percent Audience Score … let’s just ignore that a remake ever happened, shall we?
1967 Mets: Turns out the aforementioned game was special indeed—a rare win for a team that went 61-101 that season, batting .238/.288/.325 with an ERA of 3.73.
The 1978 remake of the Wizard of Oz was, in many ways, groundbreaking—it featured a predominantly African-American cast, was instrumental in the renovation of the Kaufman Astoria studios, and filmed at iconic locations across New York City, one of which was, you guessed it—Shea Stadium! Sadly, the Mets don’t exist in Oz, but Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the scarecrow do lead a star-studded flying-biker-monkey chase up and down the stadium’s ramps.
Movie Stats: Maybe the critics weren’t ready for The Wiz—it scored a 36 percent on the Tomatometer, but fared better with audiences at 65 percent. But, ahem—Michael Jackson Grammys: 13 wins and a Lifetime Achievement Award, Diana Ross Grammys: 4 nominations and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
1978 Mets: Looks like it was a pretty lackluster year for the Mets, too, going 66-96, .245/.314/.352 with an ERA of 3.87.
Billy Crystal may be well-known for his diehard Yankees fandom, but his character in City Slickers, Mitch Robbins, is definitely a Mets fan. Robbins is often seen sporting a Mets shirt and cap in unlikely places, including Pamplona’s running of the bulls, and later atop a horse at a cattle ranch. Crystal is said to have featured the Mets in the movie because they were big donors to his charity Comic Relief, where Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams helped raise more than 50 million dollars for the American homeless population. The Mets are also mentioned in the film Awakenings starring Robin Williams, as the film is set in ’69 and the Mets’ World Series win is big news.
Movie Stats: 90 percent on the Tomatometer, 64 percent Audience Score
1991 Mets: 77-84, hitting .244/.317/.365 and an ERA of 3.56
Two Weeks’ Notice
Okay, so I have a crush on Sandra Bullock. Hugh Grant is also a bonus. But the Mets game in Two Weeks’ Notice is also a timely feature, as Bullock’s character has a Steve Bartman moment and receives a good old-fashioned Shea shaming from her fellow fans, Mr. Met, and Mike Piazza (in a killer cameo).
Speaking of Rom-Coms, the Mets are the butt of a joke in You’ve Got Mail, in which Hanks’ character writes that his dog Brinkley was such a good catcher he was offered a try-out for a Mets farm team. Lucky thing Hanks is otherwise so goddamn delightful, or… *shakes fist*
Movie Stats: Poor Sandy—Two Weeks’ Notice gets a rotten 42 percent on the Tomatometer and 59 percent Audience Score but hey, sometimes the ump is wrong! You’ve Got Mail made out better with 69 percent /73 percent, though to be fair, they did have Shakespeare on their team.
2002 Mets: The Mets were 75-86, batting .256/.322/.395 with an ERA of 3.89; 2002 Piazza slashed .280/.359/.544 with 33 home runs.
Men in Black
This 1997 favorite featured a quick but crucial Mets moment, in which Mets outfielder Bernard Gilkey had a cameo. In the outfield he stares up at a giant alien spaceship, only to be conked in the head by a fly ball. Sure it’s a fleeting scen, but it’s the climax and there are aliens to kill here, people! There’s also a Mets’ mention (of 1969) in Men in Black 3.
Movie Stats: A sky-high 92 percent on the Tomatometer, with a 79 percent Audience Score makes this the most-loved post-internet movie on the list.
1997 Mets: And the best Mets season on the list, too—they went 88-74 hitting .262/.332/.405, with an ERA of 3.95.
Honorable Mentions: Frequency and Gone Girl. I haven’t seen Frequency, but I hear the 1969 World Series is an integral plot point in this fantasy time-travel thriller. Also a thriller, Gone Girl is worth a mention in that the protagonist, Nike Dunne (Ben Affleck) is supposed to be a Yankees fan, but Affleck is such a Sox fanatic he reportedly refused to wear the hat—Met-Sox Alliance, represent!