For many years, Florida has been the home of Spring baseball. Each year, thousands of ball players, and tens of thousands of fans, travel to the sunshine state to enjoy the beautiful weather, sunny beaches, hot dogs, cracker jacks, and the sounds of bats and balls.
Before the boys of summer begin making their way to Florida’s fields of dreams, the historic Tampa Theatre will rally the fans for an all new Spring Training Classic Film Series, sponsored by The New York Yankees.
Starting Jan. 12, the community’s historic theatre will present seven of the top baseball films of all time, every Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for General Admission and $8 for Tampa Theatre Members, available at the Theatre Box Office or online ($2 convenience fee applies).
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992)
3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12
When World War II threatens to shut down Major League Baseball, a group of young women leave their homes to become part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and keep the Great American Pastime alive for a grateful nation.
Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) is the team's most gifted player, which sparks jealousy from her teammate sister (Lori Petty) and admiration from the rest of the Rockford Peaches. The Peaches are managed by Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), a former Cubs slugger who drank away his career, but ultimately leads his new team to success. Directed by Penny Marshall (BIG, RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS) the film also stars Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Jon Lovitz, and Bill Pullman. 2h 8m/Rated PG/Comedy
THE BAD NEWS BEARS (1976)
3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19
A hopeless Little League team scores big when it acquires a new coach, Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau), a grouchy, beer-guzzling pool cleaner who takes the position for some extra cash. When he realizes that his players are a bunch of talentless misfits, he signs up two secret weapons: Amanda Whurlitzer (Tatum O'Neal), the daughter of an ex-girlfriend who also happens to be an awesome pitcher, and Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley), a motorcycle-riding punk who is inarguably the best player in the area.
With their new lineup in place, the Bears breeze their way into the championship game, where they must battle their rivals, the Yankees, in order to exact revenge and win the title. 1h 42m/Rated PG/Comedy
FOR LOVE OF THE GAME (1999)
3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26
Director Sam Raimi (SPIDER-MAN, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL) completes Kevin Costner's unofficial baseball trilogy with the story — told almost entirely in flashback — of legendary 40-year-old pitcher Billy Chapel (Costner). He’s pitching the last game of his career, which also marks the end of what has been, at best, a mediocre season.
As he takes the mound against the Yankees, Billy ponders another disappointment: his failing relationship with the woman he still loves (Kelly Preston). But as the game unfolds and it becomes apparent that he's on track to pitch a perfect game, Billy begins to wonder if he can win her back, and if his ailing arm can make it through nine innings. 2h 17m/Rated PG-13/Drama
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2
History was made in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the professional baseball race barrier to become the first African American MLB player of the modern era. 42 tells the incredible life story of Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford).
This proves a major test for the Robinson family as they endure unrelenting hostility, both on and off the field, from fans and fellow players alike. But as Jackie struggles against his nature to endure such abuse without complaint, he finds allies and hope where he least expects it. 2h 8m/Rated PG-13/Drama
THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES (1942)
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9
Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig, the legendary Yankees first baseman who succumbs to a crippling and incurable disease. Even as a student at Columbia University, Gehrig is pegged by the press a top ballplayer. Soon, the New York Yankees put Gehrig in the lineup, and he becomes an overnight sensation on the baseball diamond.
But this dedicated player — who never missed a game once he stepped onto a Major League Baseball field — suddenly falls ill with a mysterious disease. As his body begins to fail him, Gehrig has to say good-bye to the fans who idolize him and to the sport he loves so dearly. The film's final scene is a deeply moving portrait of human courage, and Babe Ruth's cameo is not to be missed. 2h 8m/Not Rated/Drama
BULL DURHAM (1988)
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16
The Durham Bulls are in a slump and have spent a hefty sum of money acquiring an untested young pitcher, “Nuke” (Tim Robbins), in the hopes of reversing their standings. “Crash” Davis (Kevin Costner), a 12-year veteran who has spent most of his time bumming around the minor leagues, is assigned to mature the rookie pitching phenom. But when beautiful and enigmatic team groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) comes between the tutor and his student, the resulting love triangle is enlightened by her poetic perspective on the game. 1h 48m/Rated R/Romantic Comedy
THE NATURAL (1984)
3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23
From acclaimed director Barry Levinson and featuring an all-star cast, including Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close and Kim Basinger, THE NATURAL follows the epic journey of Roy Hobbs (Redford). A once-promising ballplayer on his way to stardom in the big leagues, Hobbs finds his dreams shattered when a mysterious woman and a silver bullet end his career prematurely.
Sixteen years later, Hobbs — armed with his childhood bat “Wonderboy” — finds himself coming back to baseball to lead the lowly New York Knights to victory.
Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography, THE NATURAL is an inspiring fable of determination and considered by many to be one of the greatest sports films of all time. 2h 18m/Rated PG/Drama
The Tampa Theatre is a protected landmark and one of America’s best-preserved movie palaces. The majestic building is owned by the City of Tampa and operated as a dynamic film and cultural center by the not-for-profit Tampa Theatre Foundation. Programming is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Council on Arts and Culture. and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. It reflects back to a bygone era where the entire community would gather at the local movie house to learn the news of the day, be entertained, and get out of the oppressive summer heat. It is a destination in and of itself, and the sort of place that any traveler to the Tampa area can't afford to miss.
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