Three Life Lessons from Three Baseball Movies

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I love [good] sports films.  They take a well-known game and strip the glamour down to the human level, making it relatable.  It doesn’t matter if you are or are not die-hard fan:  a good sports movie can make one feel for the protagonist and walk out with a life lesson.

So.  Since everyone loves lists, here are three life lessons from three baseball films.


1.  Moneyball – It’s all in the details

Based on a true story, Moneyball is about the spectacular 2002 season for the Oakland Athletics.  In the off-season, Oakland lost two of its strongest players, forcing General Manager Billy Beane to recreate his team with the second-lowest payroll that year.  Thus, Beane reforms the line-up through unconventional means.  He doesn’t look for power, defense, or speed—the traditionally valued aspects.  Rather, Beane focuses on one statistic:  how often the player can get on base.

 With hiring loose cannons and the team starting terribly, Beane receives great criticism.  Reporters mock Beane, saying that baseball is a human game that isn’t won by mere numbers.  Yet Beane remains persistent that these statistics reflect a solid team.  In the end, it pans out.  The Athletics have a 20-game winning streak, the longest in their league, and advances to play-offs.

 While there are many themes in this story such as persistence and game curses, this movie reinforces the proverb that it’s all in the details.  While fans may “ooh” at a homerun or great defensive plays, under it all, the fine details is what dictated Oakland’s season.

Often times, we think only the big things matter in life as they are the only things we can see on a macrolevel.  However, it’s in those fine details that we discover the key to our success.


2.  The Natural —  Our vices can swallow our dreams

This story is about Roy Hobbs, a 19-year-old farm boy who is gifted at baseball.  On his trip to a try-out, Hobbs is seduced by a woman named Harriet who fancies him after striking out a great baseball player.  Harriet brings Hobbs to her room, where she then shoots him [we find out later she had a fetish for killing the best sportsmen]

 16 years pass and Hobbs is given another chance to play for a dying team.  Once he’s finally placed on the lineup, Hobbs skyrockets and becomes a phenomenon.  However, Hobbs’s vice creeps up again as he falls for another woman, Memo, distracting him from the game.

 As the season nears its end, Hobbs’s team needs to win the final games.  However, Hobbs gets ill due to a poisoning.  As the doctor pumps the poison out of his stomach, he extracts a bullet—the same bullet Harriet shot Hobbs with.  The doctor tells him to stop playing lest he kill himself.

 All Hobbs wanted was to be the best baseball player that ever lived.  However, his vices got the best of his dreams— losing sight of his goal due to lust.  Despite being a natural, Roy Hobbs ended with only one good season.

 While we may be talented, our dreams are not just given to us.  We best be careful with our choices along the path to our goal.


3.  The Rookie — Improbable dreams can come true

Based on a true story, The Rookie is about a boy who wanted to be a baseball player, but was stifled by lack of support and circumstance.  Years pass and protagonist Jim Morris is now a married teacher who coaches a little league team.  After seeing his fastball—which catches him by surprise—Morris’s team encourages him to try out for the big leagues.

 Despite being 38, Morris’s 98 mph fastball impresses the scouts and is accepted into the minor leagues.  During this period, he’s mocked for his age, receives disapproval from his father, and suffers the news of money problems at home.  Nonetheless, he stays on the path until he is finally accepted into the major leagues.

 A 38-year-old rookie is unheard of these days.  Despite the improbability, even the most unlikely of dreams can still come true with persistence.

These are not the only three baseball films out there that have a life-lessons.  If you have a sports film that has made you think of life differently, share in the comments below.

About Jonathan Seligman

Jon is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of NWYT. While his main profession is in education/music/history, he has a deep passion for philosophy, theology, ice cream, and everything else that life has to offer. See All of Jon’s Posts


  1. ellijordan says:

    Good points. Especially the first two…as a perfectionist, #1 has my full support…

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