Results tagged ‘ Major League ’

“You Wanna Have a Catch?” Catching Up with Field of Dreams’ Dwier Brown

Who could have predicted that two baseball movies that came out within two weeks of one another in April 1989 would have such a lasting impact on us today?

Yes, that’s right. This year, both Major League (April 7, 1989) and Field of Dreams (April 21, 1989) are celebrating their 25th Anniversaries. 

And while both movies center on our beloved sport and are legendary in their own rights, the two really couldn’t be more different.

Major League is best known for it’s humor with its many funny, oft-quoted one-liners. And, of course, with Bob Uecker as Harry Doyle and Country Stadium masquerading as Cleveland Municipal, it holds a very special place in the heart of Brewers fans.

Field of Dreams, on the other hand, is a movie that pays homage to baseball’s majestic, magical link to the past. It’s nostalgic and sentimental, yet just as iconic.

And both movies have withstood the test of time,  still resonating with baseball fans young and old alike a quarter-century later as their stars gather to celebrate the major anniversary of their films.

That’s how earlier this season, I had the chance to connect with Corbin Bernsen who played Roger Dorn in Major League, and this weekend, I had the chance  to meet with Dwier Brown, the actor who played John Kinsella in Field of Dreams.

John Kinsella? Don’t you mean Ray Kinsella, Cait? No, John is the father of Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner). He’s only in the film for about five minutes, but they are arguably the most important of all.

No matter how many times you see it, your eyes will start to water as Ray says to John, “Hey dad…wanna have a catch?” 

“I’d like that,” Dwier Brown as John replies.

And now, 25 years later, to coincide with the film’s anniversary, Dwier has written a book titled, “If You Build It…” a “funny and moving memoir about Fathers, Fate and Field of Dreams.”

Despite being an actor for 35 years and performing in hundreds of other films, plays and television shows, it was those five minutes that changed Dwier’s life.

 

He has been recognized by fans all over who have told him poignant stories about their fathers and how watching the film changed their lives. Their touching stories have put into perspective his own father’s unexpected death just a month before he began filming Field of Dreams.

“I have a lot of fathers or sons who come up to me and say they’ve lost their relationship with their father or son… maybe for 15 years they haven’t spoken because of some riff–in some cases they don’t even remember what it was about exactly–but when they saw that movie they managed to take that person, their father or son, to the movie with them, or just took them outside and had a catch with them. And somehow, they managed to just put aside this long history of misunderstandings. That’s happened many times,” Dwier told me.

“Another one that sticks out in my mind is a man who was a lawyer then decided to become a sculptor. By being a lawyer, he thought he could be his dad, as opposed to being happy, which is what his father would have wanted him to do,” he said.

I had a great time meeting Dwier and his wife, Laurie on Sunday. Can't wait to read the book!

I had a great time meeting Dwier and his wife, Laurie on Sunday. Can’t wait to read the book!


At the time, however, Dwier had no idea how iconic the film would become.

“The script was just so good…. I don’t think any of us had any expectations that it would be a particularly successful movie because the script was so sweet and kind of perfect… there was no action, no big romance, so I think it came as a surprise to all of us that a), it was so huge and b), that it’s had such a lasting legacy.”

Dwier grew up in Ohio and says that he loved baseball growing up.

“As a kid, I think I was impatient. I loved playing it more than I did watching it. As I’ve grown older and realized what all goes into the spaces between pitches, I’ve realized what an exciting game it can be. I grew up cheering for the Cleveland Indians, which was one of those hopeless endeavors,” he said.

Another story that Dwier recounts in his book is about getting cut from his freshman baseball team, but having the last laugh.

“I was so disappointed,” he recalled. “I told a friend of mine that the coach would regret that and someday my picture would end up in the Hall of Fame and sure enough….I didn’t end up playing baseball, but I am hanging in pinstripes in the Baseball Hall of Fame, so I think that counts, even if it was the backdoor,” said Dwier, referring to an iconic still from the movie that hangs in Cooperstown.

Now, he says, he doesn’t have a particular allegiance to a team, but instead tends to follow players that he likes. This was evidenced later in the day, as Dwier, who met and took a photograph with Scooter Gennett prior to the game, quickly became one of Scooter’s biggest fans, cheering him on on his way to his two doubles and home run in Sunday’s 9-0 victory over the Cubs.

Scooter Gennett tries on Dwier Brown's dad's old glove from the 1920s.

Scooter Gennett tries on Dwier Brown’s dad’s old glove from the 1920s.

With the film’s underlying theme so closely tied to fathers and sons, it makes sense that a big event is planned to celebrate the film at the Field of Dreams in Iowa on Father’s Day weekend.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Dwier, who has two kids of his own, a daughter who is a senior in college and a son who just finished his freshman year of high school. (Neither was born when the movie first came out.)

“Kevin (Costner) is coming out and I’m bringing my son. My 91-year-old mother is driving out from Ohio with my sister. To see the movie on the baseball field where it was filmed, I think is going to be really magical. The people there, obviously they love that movie. Many of them were in it, all the extras that were in those cars…They are big sports fans, really fired up about it,” he said.

I haven’t read the book yet, but Dwier was kind enough to give me a copy. I’m excited to read it.

While I was quite young when the movie came out, the movie holds an extra-special place in my heart because, in 1992, I took a trip to the Field of Dreams, not with my dad, but with my mom.

While she’s always been a baseball fan, I think Field of Dreams, really solidified that love for her. (Kevin Costner’s performance certainly didn’t hurt.)

Cait and her mom at the Field of Dreams in 1992.

Cait and her mom at the Field of Dreams in 1992.

We went with a friend of hers and her friend’s son, who was just a couple of years older than me. I remember the long drive to get there, playing catch on the field and walking through the cornfield. I don’t think I was quite old enough to grasp the significance at the time, but it certainly made an impression and lasting memories.

In fact, when mom retired a couple of years ago, dad painted this for her:

Field of Dreams Painting Suess

So, I credit both mom and dad (who was a pretty great college pitcher back in the day and a big fan) with my love of the game. And, for me personally, meeting Dwier and feeling like I had a personal connection to the movie was very special. When I told this story to him, he was kind enough to send my mom a special message.

Dwier loved hearing how much the movie meant to my mom and wanted to send her a special message. This was all his idea! Mom was floored.

Dwier loved hearing how much the movie meant to my mom and wanted to send her a special message. This was all his idea! Mom was floored.

So yes, to say I am looking forward to reading the book is an understatement. And given the topic and timing, it also seems like it would make a great Father’s Day gift. Or a late one for Mother’s Day. Stay tuned for the review!

Brewers Field of Dreams Quote

 

-Cait

JohnandCait@Brewers.com

 

 

 

Corbin Bernsen (aka “Roger Dorn” from Major League) Visits Miller Park

Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the release of “Major League,” arguably one of the greatest baseball movies ever made, and one with strong Milwaukee ties.

For those of you kiddos who weren’t born back in 1989, even you have to have seen this classic (and highly quotable) film about  a rag-tag group of fictional Cleveland Indians players that rise up to win the American League pennant. Much of the movie was actually shot at Milwaukee County Stadium, which doubles for Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the film, and the movie features our own Bob Uecker as the team’s broadcaster, Harry Doyle…. and, wait, why am I telling you all this? You HAVE seen this movie, haven’t you?

Actor Corbin Bernsen, who played the character of Roger Dorn, a one-time star third baseman, in the movie,  is in town today as part of the Milwaukee Admirals’ “Salute to Major League” night tonight vs. the Rockford IceHogs and one thing Corbin requested was to swing by the ballpark and check out the marker for County Stadium’s home plate, which is located on the third-base side plaza out at Helfaer Field.

Corbin was so happy to return to the grounds and it was clear that returning to this spot 25 years later, especially when so much has changed, was emotional and perhaps a bit overwhelming.

“I have to call David,” Corbin said right away, pulling out his phone and dialing David S. Ward, the film’s director.

"David? You'll never guess where I'm standing..."

“David? You’ll never guess where I’m standing…”

Corbin enjoyed  spending time out at Helfaer Field, reminiscing about his time in Milwaukee and how fast the time flies.

photo 2

 

He was even so kind as to record this Vine, a G-rated version of his original movie quote, which we’ll use to promote the #Whiff Contest this season.

https://vine.co/v/M5bvYlwXLlt

-Cait

JohnandCait@Brewers.com

We’re Celebrating Mr.Baseball with Our Favorite Ueckerisms & More All Month Long

Back in March, we announced that the legendary “Mr. Baseball,” Bob Uecker, will be honored on Friday, August 31 with a statue placed outside of Miller Park near the Home Plate Plaza.

Well, it is now August and we’re extending our celebration of Mr. Baseball all month long with photos, our favorite “Ueckerisms” and more across our various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

 

We also want to hear from you! On Twitter, post any photos you may have, or share your favorite memories of Uecker, or listening to Uecker, in 140 characters or less using the hashtag: #Uecker. 

Not on Twitter? Share your stories by posting in the comment fields below our various Uecker pictures on Facebook, or email your personal photos to: JohnandCait@brewers.com (Subject line: UECKER).

We’ll compile some of the best fan submissions and share them here on the blog.

An iconic figure for the franchise, Uecker has provided the soundtrack of summer to generations of fans listening to Milwaukee Brewers games on the Brewers Radio Network. His irreverent style and knowledge of the game are unrivaled and his talents have also been known to audiences worldwide for years through his work on television and film projects.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Uecker’s first Major League game and, while Uecker’s roots will always be in baseball (including six seasons as a player and 42 years as a Brewers broadcaster), his career includes an incredible base of performing and entertaining all featuring one common thread – he always leaves the audience laughing.

Uecker blasted onto the national scene as an entertainer in 1969. A visit with Al Hirt led to Johnny Carson booking Uecker for an appearance on the “Tonight Show.” The chemistry between Uecker and Carson was immediate, and it led to approximately 100 encore appearances. Uecker soon became one of the most sought-after guests on the Talk Show circuit as appearances followed on the “Mike Douglas” and “Merv Griffin” shows, “Late Night with David Letterman” and even a hosting role on “Saturday Night Live.”

Highly respected in the industry, Uecker was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Hall of Fame this past spring.

Uecker’s credits go far beyond guest appearances and play-by-play. In 1985, he launched a television acting career as one of the stars of ABC’s sitcom “Mr. Belvedere,” which put 122 episodes into syndication. He also hosted two syndicated television shows, “Bob Uecker’s Wacky World of Sports” and “Bob Uecker’s War of the Stars.”

One of Uecker’s most memorable roles came as the anchor of arguably the most successful advertising campaign in the history of television – The “Miller Lite All-Stars.” For years, Uecker served as the captain of the crew that acted in spots promoting Lite Beer from Miller.

As a film actor, Uecker starred in what is widely regarded as one of the best baseball movies of all time, serving as a radio announcer in the film “Major League.” He followed that up with a reprised role in the equally popular “Major League II.”

Uecker’s national sports broadcasting experience included serving as color commentator for ABC Sports coverage of Monday Night Baseball, League Championship Series and World Series, and NBC’s Major League Baseball Game of the Week.

A former catcher who spent six seasons in the Major Leagues, Bob authored a book entitled “Catcher In the Wry,” a humorous look back on the years he spent with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies. One of his career highlights as a player came in 1964 when he was a member of the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Despite his national attention and success, Uecker has always worked toward helping others. His charitable efforts benefit many organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Uecker will be the fourth person to be honored with a Miller Park statue. Hank Aaron and Robin Yount were the first to be recognized with statues that were unveiled on April 5, 2001, the first year of Miller Park’s existence. The first two statues were donated by the Allan H. (Bud) Selig Foundation. On August 24, 2010, Major League Baseball Commissioner and former Brewers Owner Allan H. (Bud) Selig became the third honoree when his statue was unveiled in an afternoon program.

The statue will be cast in bronze, measure over seven feet in height not including the base, and is being designed and produced by Brian Maughan, who (along with Douglas Kwart) also created the Aaron, Selig and Yount statues.

Specific details related to the statue unveiling & ceremony on August 31 will be announced later this month.

Please join as we celebrate all month long!

-Cait

JohnandCait@brewers.com

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