The Baseball Film: A Cultural and Transmedia History (Screening Sports) (Paperback)
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Baseball has long been viewed as the Great American Pastime, so it is no surprise that the sport has inspired many Hollywood films and television series. But how do these works depict the game, its players, fans, and place in American society?
This study offers an extensive look at nearly one hundred years of baseball-themed movies, documentaries, and TV shows. Film and sports scholar Aaron Baker examines works like A League of their Own (1992) and Sugar (2008), which dramatize the underrepresented contributions of female and immigrant players, alongside classic baseball movies like The Natural that are full of nostalgia for a time when native-born white men could use the game to achieve the American dream. He further explores how biopics have both mythologized and demystified such legendary figures as Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson and Fernando Valenzuela.
The Baseball Film charts the variety of ways that Hollywood presents the game as integral to American life, whether showing little league as a site of parent-child bonding or depicting fans’ lifelong love affairs with their home teams. Covering everything from Bull Durham (1988) to The Bad News Bears (1976), this book offers an essential look at one of the most cinematic of all sports.
About the Author
AARON BAKER is a professor of film and media studies at Arizona State University in Tempe. Author of the books Steven Soderbergh and Contesting Identity: Sports in American Film, he also edited the collections A Companion to Martin Scorsese and Out of Bounds: Sports, Media and the Politics of Identity.
“Aaron Baker’s history of how film has represented baseball as a component of American society stands alone. Replete with exceptionally perceptive observations about dozens of baseball films, this book is a 'must' read for students of the game."
— Benjamin G. Rader
"An insightful and necessary analysis of baseball as a sport and a film subgenre through a sociopolitical lens examining race, gender, sexuality, globalization, and more."
— The Brooklyn Rail