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Great Moments in Bad Baseball Movie History

Great Moments in Bad Baseball Movie History (photo)

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“I believe in the church of the baseball,” Susan Sarandon’s Annie Savoy said in “Bull Durham.” I do too. Especially right now in early April, when the weather is perfect, and every team has a chance, at least hypothetically, to go all the way. In a few months, half the teams playing and half the fantasy baseball managers watching will already be thinking about next year. But this is the time of year when every baseball fan gets excited, has hope, and believes.

I also like to believe in the church of baseball movies, but they make it awfully difficult sometimes. There are some classics, but just as there are more bad pitchers in the league than good ones, there’s more bad baseball movies than good, and more than a few that deserve to be sent back down to the minors because they weren’t cut out for the big show. Here, now, some classic moments from bad baseball movies that left me offended, slightly bemused, and very glad I have the real thing to watch instead for the next six months.

04122010_MattLeBlancEd.jpgA Monkey Becomes The Best Player in the Game in “Ed” (1996)

You’ve heard the expression “It’s so easy a monkey could do it!”? The tortuously bad movie “Ed” takes that maxim all too literally. The Santa Rosa Rockets and their new young pitcher Jack Cooper (Matt LeBlanc) are struggling, so their owner gets the team a mascot to boost morale: a live chimp. To everyone’s surprise, the chimp, who answers to the name Ed and wears human clothes, is a natural baseball player. Not only does he understand the game, he also seems to understand English, pees in the toilet and is a great wingman on dates. When the Rockets’ manager Chubb (Jack Warden) tries to field his monkey at third base and the other team complains, Ed’s struggle becomes a matter of civil rights. “Baseball is America’s game!” the umpire ultimately rules. “Every American regardless of race, creed, color, species, body hair and brain size has the right to play the game!” Fine. But the Rockets should have looked a little more carefully at their phenom. He throws the ball to first base so hard it actually burns a hole through the fielder’s glove, which would seem to make him more of a liability than an asset. I guess screenwriting isn’t so easy a monkey could do it.

04122010_Benchwarmers.jpgProduct Placement Hits a New Low in “The Benchwarmers” (2006)

There’s a subtle, organic way to do product placement in baseball movies — stick a couple banners on the park’s outfield wall and you’re halfway home. Granted, product placement is rarely subtle or organic, but the way it’s used in the inspirational underdog baseball comedy “The Benchwarmers” sets a new standard for offensive obviousness. After a couple of misfits (played by Rob Schneider, David Spade and Jon Heder) win a baseball game against a couple of neighborhood bullies, it’s time to bask in their glory. “You know the best part about winning a baseball game?” asks Schneider to his dopey teammates. “Going to Pizza Hut to celebrate!” From there, the Hut provides the location for several scenes, and a nickname for Spade’s love interest (that would be “Salad Girl From Pizza Hut”). The Benchwarmers learn some life lessons, eat a lot of sunscreen, teach Craig Kilborn that baseball’s supposed to be about fun, and then triumph in their own unique style at the final game. So where do you think they go for the postseason party? You guessed it. Instead of paying for movies like “The Benchwarmers” to get made, why don’t companies set up relief funds to reimburse people who actually pay to see them? I’m sure they’d get plenty of unsubtle attention and much more organic PR.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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