Baseball movies to watch right now

I polled Facebook friends and Twitter followers before the MLB season started in search of the best baseball movies ever made.

Since then my favorite big league team has slid into the dumps, making this an ideal time to grab some popcorn and embrace predictable endings in front of the television.

Every movie mentioned by anyone is listed below, grouped together by the most nominated and placed in order by year of release.

The first five movies were the overwhelming choices among those that responded, meaning movies like The Bad News Bears and The Natural seem underrated in this study.

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The Mysterious Death of Harold R. Carnahan

The headlines read “Tragic End” and “Dies on Way to Bar Exam” via the local newspapers after he was found with a bullet in his head.

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Harold R. Carnahan hanging out somewhere back in the day.

They said it was a .22 caliber revolver and a “target pistol which he had owned for years…” which did him in.

That’s how it ended for Harold R. Carnahan, a 24-year old aspiring legal practitioner bound for Columbus to take the Ohio bar exam.

Was it an accident? Was it intentional? Maybe it was neither, or maybe it was every bit of all of those things.

It was a Wednesday in 1929 at the family home on 15th Street NW in Canton. He was due to leave in 45 minutes when his body was discovered at 9:45 p.m.

Harold’s father, A. Roy, found his youngest son with what was declared to be an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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I cried on Christmas

My son opened Christmas presents the morning after the three of us returned from a seven-day cruise.

We slept. I listened to music. Was overcome with gratitude while hearing “The Night Me and Your Mama Met” by Childish Gambino. Then sat to write these words…

I cried on Christmas

Had nothing to do with sadness

Tide of this sea ascending.

Spirit of existence

Mutual acceptance

Waves as natural

       as blossomed from beneath.

Afternoon slumber

Lights of December

Port is on the horizon.

Time passes then forgets

Except what’s destined to persist

The night me and your mama met.

Currently Spinning: Killer Mike and El-P make “R.A.P. Music” work

Back in 2012 an album came out that truly got me excited about hip hop again.

A white guy from New York and a black guy from Atlanta, each from different spectrums of the same genre, joined forces to collaborate and plant their freak flag in the middle of a cookie-cutter music industry.

I’ve since come to realize that what makes the 12 tracks on R.A.P. Music by Killer Mike so impressive is not only the atypical production style of El-P, but the passion and sincerity with which the leading character delivers his commentary.

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Break on through with The Doors

I was in my early teens when dad loaded us up and headed for the outer banks of North Carolina. The vacation rental was stocked with a record player and piles of albums with speakers in all corners of the house.

It was the self-titled debut by The Doors that I remember spinning the most that week.

I’ve since analyzed the band’s career over the ensuing years, long after my 15-year old former self was making out in a theatre during the Oliver Stone film or was initially inspired to scribble poetic drivel of my own.

And so last week while binge listening to The Doors I solicited people for their favorite songs via Facebook and text. I was only slightly taken aback by the responses as not many veered from the typical selections.

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Cleveland stuck in shadow of Pittsburgh while on brink of title

Sports fans in Cleveland will settle for a championship any way they can get it.

Even if it comes by way of the city’s NBA team as opposed to their beloved NFL Browns.

Even if it comes via the help of the greatest player in the world, who several years back went on national television and publicly embarrassed the region when he took his ball and won titles elsewhere.

But again, make no mistake, you take the sweet taste of success any way you can get it.

That’s what happens when you’ve gone 146 major sports seasons without a title. The last of which came on Dec. 27, 1964 when the Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts for the NFL championship.

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Only old people will appreciate the “Wear Sunscreen” advice

It was at the conclusion of The Big Kahuna many years back when I first heard the inspirational spoken word track “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann.

The words were apparently written by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich, who offered up some sound advice for graduating teens preparing to embark on the next phase of their lives.

It’s likely many of those same teenagers, now closing in on 40, wish they would’ve actually taken those words to heart.

The Big Kahuna, starring Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito, had already riddled my mind by the time this piece of prose began. It served as a worthy backdrop to DeVito packing up his belongings in a hotel room and Spacey checking out at the front desk as each prepared to move along to live another day, ever the wiser for their experiences.

 

We will all eventually die in the end

My grandfather has lived through the deaths of nearly everybody he’e ever known over the years. He turns 80 years old this July.

We often chat about this very topic over vodka and tonic each time he makes his annual trip south to pay me a visit. I’ve come to terms with the reality that I’ll be sitting in his seat decades from now sharing similar stories.

If it’s not the recent passing of pop culture figures I’ve grown up with in some form or fashion, such as David Bowie or Prince, it’s the moms and dads of friends who’ve been laying to rest for the final time over the past few months.

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Joe Skinner continues courageous fight against leukemia

How cruel of a world do we live when people are subject to the kind of torture that comes as a result of cancerous diseases?

Makes you question everything you’ve ever believed in, right down to the battle between good and evil and why bad things happen to good people.

Cancer affects people of all ages and chips at the very spirit of helpless bystanders each and every day.

Earlier this month I wrote a story about 17-year old Joe Skinner, a Bishop Moore senior and UCF baseball signee, and his sudden battle with a rare form of leukemia.

Just a couple of days after it was published Skinner was put in the intensive care unit after going into septic shock. An infection was discovered, then more than a week later he was flown by air ambulance to Dallas in hopes of undergoing a previously planned experimental treatment.

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Geauga Lake is a wasteland

Being nostalgic is my worst trait as a human being. And I’m still trying to come to grips with that reality.

So today we take a trip down memory lane, to a land so desecrated and abandoned that its current state is fascinating only for what it once was.

I made a handful of trips to Geauga Lake in northeast Ohio as a kid numerous times in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Wave and water slides are what still stands out to me most. But it appears those good times were expendable as they no longer stand at all.

In 2007 the doors to what remained of Geauga Lake closed forever. Check out this video from DiJi Aerial Media to experience what it looks like today.

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Looking back at ‘Trouble Man’ with Robert Hooks and Marvin Gaye

I’d been hip to the soundtrack by Marvin Gaye for years.

But it wasn’t until late Saturday that I sat still long enough to watch 1972’s Trouble Man starring Robert Hooks as the original Mr. T.

For starters, the title track by Gaye is a classic in his collection. Be sure to check the video and give it a listen down below.

As for the film, Hooks nails it as an all-around badass-for-hire who’s not to be messed with while playing things cool and confident, even in the most dire of situations.

It’s surprising how the character and film are not as highly regarded in its genre as others from the time period.

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My Top 30 Songs From 2015

I wouldn’t consider this list an absolute “best of” when talking about the songs that came out in 2015. But I can certainly say that I would play each and every one of these tracks on my show if I were still doing the college radio thing at WPRK.

Those were some damn good times, by the way. I miss spinning tunes in that dusty old basement.

There’s plenty of albums I’ve yet to get around to listening to from 2015, so I’m sure I’ll come across plenty more gems to add to this list at another time. For now, enjoy this collection of tracks that abused the speakers in my house and car the most over the past twelve months.

(Also, check out the extended list on Spotify)

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Sometimes I dress up like Santa Claus

I tried like hell to hold back tears the first time I dressed up as Santa Claus to entertain kids at an income-restricted apartment community in Orlando.

A little girl told me, while sitting on my lap as I was dressed for the part, that all she wanted for Christmas were shoes for her little brother. A young boy said he just wanted for his mom to be happy while another boy asked to receive nothing at all.

Similar requests were made in between the typical interactions of kids asking Santa for toys and gadgets they’ll lose interest in by February.

It was the looks in the eyes of parents and grandparents that made my heart ache most as they soaked up whatever joy these kids were experiencing.

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Scott Weiland is dead and nobody is really all that surprised about it

Scott Weiland is dead.

Anyone that knows a thing of two about Scott Weiland is hardly surprised by the news that spread throughout the world early Friday.

Over the course of a decade Weiland fronted Stone Temple Pilots, which built a massive following in the midst of a transition from the grunge era of the early 1990s to the stadium rock scene that followed.

Truthfully, I was lukewarm to STP’s arrival when their 1992 debut Core was put in rotation. The song “Plush” was just too much of a Pearl Jam ripoff for me to ever embrace. But then 1994’s Purple arrived and caught my attention with its layers of depth and groove. In 1996 Tiny Music… Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop took the madness to an unprecedented level, and at that point I found myself in way over my head in the band’s psychedelic rollicking.

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Edmonton Eskimos beat Ottawa RedBlacks in 103rd CFL Grey Cup

One of these days I might actually learn the rules of the Canadian Football League. Though that’s unlikely to happen until I intend to watch more than maybe one game per year.

The 103rd edition of the CFL Grey Cup was played Sunday in Winnipeg and I watched it live on television. Even while having the option to turn to the NFL or college and pro basketball.

Here’s all you need to know: the Edmonton Eskimos claimed its 14th title in a 26-20 come-from-behind win over the Ottawa RedBlacks.

Do you have nine or so minutes to spare? If so you’ll want to give these CFL Grey Cup highlights a look. You might be impressed, if not a little confused as a neighboring American.

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