If I was to tell you my seven favorite movies in order. I chose seven movies because seven is a cool number. It'll look like this.
7. Pulp Fiction
6. A Bronx Tale
5. Menace II Society
4. 3 Ninjas
3. The Godfather Part II
2. City Of God
1. The Sandlot
The Sandlot has been my favorite movie for over 20 years. It's something for me that will never change. I'm taking it to the end of my time. I own 5 copies of this movie (3 dvd's, 1 VHS, 1 Blu-Ray). The way everyone can recite the movie "Friday" word for word, that's what I can do with The Sandlot. If you see a "Best Sports Movies" list and The Sandlot is not number 1 and something weak as fuck like "Hoosiers" is number 1 the person who wrote that list most likely prefers banana nut bread over Strawberry Shortcake Rolls. A true commander of sucka shit. Baseball was the one sport that I was really above average at. I'm a good all around athlete but Baseball was my calling card. I loved playing shortstop and defense in general. I was on that Big Mike from The Wood Ricky Schroeder shit. In University City growing up that's all they really pushed us to do. St.Louis is a baseball town, just look at the Cardinals. We love the game here so it was very easy for me to relate to The Sandlot. I wanted to be Benny Rodriguez since I was 6 years old (We'll go in depth later about how my alias came to be. Asking my mom can I have P.F Flyers and her explaining to me they don't make those anymore (At that time). Asking for a LA Dodgers hat just like Benny. Imitating his batting stance. I treated him like an O.G.
The kids older than me, their shit is "Stand By Me" a very classic and amazing film. The Sandlot is my age group Stand By Me. A film about the season we love the most, baseball, and friends. You know me though. I always have to look at things in depth. It's my Scorpio tendencies (If you believe in that kind of stuff). Surface level is never enough for me. I always go into the depth of things. I'm not into award shows for real because it's all opinion just like everything else so what makes an award so special but The Sandlot should have won every award imaginable. I've learned a lot of things in life and a lot of what I learned came from The Sandlot.
Scotty Smalls was a dweeb. A nerd. Homie had an erector set that was fully built. My momma didn't buy me that shit because she looked at me like "Nigga who's gonna build that shit? You better go play that Nintendo." It was a Sega but you know mom's call every game system Nintendo. Scotty knew he didn't fit into that group because he couldn't play baseball. He proved that by throwing the baseball like a little bitch in front of everybody. Everyone laughed except Benny. Benny didn't see a lame. He saw a kid who's passionate enough to try to play and attempt to make friends in a fisherman hat with a bill the size of a surfboard. It takes courage to wear that ugly ass hat and showcase throwing a ball with a noodle arm. Just embarrassing. Benny went to him another morning and asked him to play and negated every excuse Smalls had not to go. The rest of the kids got on Benny's back for inviting him out. They called Smalls a Weenie and a geek. Benny taught us right there, fuck being cool and how we look. Let's make a complete team and show him the ropes. He wants to play the game. Everybody different but at the end of the day everyone just want to have fun. Benny realized that and put Smalls on the set. He gang now.
CLOSED MOUTHS DONT GET FED
The oldest saying out there. Smalls did the right thing by following the kids to the sandlot and attempting to be down with the set. Where he fucked up at is not introducing himself and refusing to talk to everyone. I get it, he's a shy guy and so am I, but he probably would have saved himself the embarrassment if he just spoke up (YOU'RE KILLING ME SMALLS!). The scene where he was afraid to ask his stepfather to teach him how to play catch was another example of his timid behavior. If he just told Bill he can't throw, Bill would've taught him right there. If Smalls admits he doesn't know who Babe Ruth is, the gang would've flamed him right there, but they'd tell him who he is after the roast session and he wouldn't have played with Bill's autographed Babe Ruth baseball. It's all good though because without Smalls timidness there would be no movie. It's no excuse for whoever reads this though. OPEN YOUR MOUTH. Speak on what you want. You have a problem, speak up. If you don't know something don't be afraid to ask. People have so much to say through text messaging and the internet but can't speak up in person. Whether it's under positive or negative circumstances, kill that shit immediately. Don't be weak. Just speak.
NICE GUYS DON'T FINISH LAST. WEAK MEN DO.
I'm really over the "Shoot Your Shot" phrase because nobody follows the saying. I've seen it in person and on social media. You are what you are. You like "Safe." I like the message but when the messengers aren't following the message they're conveying it's annoying as fuck. This is where Squints teaches these posers how to G the fuck up. He and "Yeah Yeah" see Wendy Peffercorn (The 1st White Woman in history with cakes) outside Vincent's drug store and Squints falls into a trance. He knows that's his future wife. She's clearly older than him but does Squints give a fuck? Nah (Chief Keef Voice). He was watching this chick for summers at the pool lotion-ing and oiling up the yams and he never did shit about it. Just like the shy people who continuously tell you to shoot your shot. He finally realized he had to "glo up" and make a move. Squints is willing to put his life on the line by drowning in the deep end of the pool for a opportunity to kiss Wendy. Squints almost died over some pussy. He wasn't the first and won't be the last. He was also banned from the pool but who gives a fuck he completed the mission. He went on to marry Wendy and have 9 kids. He seized his destiny. Just imagine if he stayed in the shallow end and never made a move like a hoe. He'd probably be a old man working at Office Depot and tricking his checks on chicks that work at Hooters. He was a nice guy who won by not being weak.
WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
Alright the reason people call me Benny Rodriguez is because me and my homies didn't have a lot of money when we started doing the rap shit. Everyone had nicer studios, cameras, etc. We were compared to The Sandlot Kids because we worked with what we had and out of all of us they thought I was the nicest. I always thought my bro Marty was nicer but he'd always tell me I'd have to lead. I don't like having all the attention because I'm really chill so I deflected it but they eventually convinced me to take the role. Benny was the best player out of the kids. I was the best out of my gang so Benny Rodriguez just stuck. This brings me to the game they played against the other kids for bragging rights. Those kids had the cleats, uniforms, matching hats, bikes, fancy field, nice dugout, a fucking scoreboard, and STILL GOT THAT ASS BEAT. It don't matter who has the nicest shit it's all about what you do with it. Work with what you have. The Sandlot kids played in chucks, had an awful field, a monster dog who took their baseballs, no uniforms, no scoreboard. They were ready to play at the sandlot or the nice field they didn't care. They just played the game. They loved the game. None of that other shit matters. If you have the passion for it and the dedication to work on your craft you will shine. I'll use photography for an example. You can have the most expensive equipment but if you think not knowing the basics won't matter and think you can just jump in and start calling yourself a photographer you're going to get a wake up call. If you can afford the equipment then get it but LEARN THE ART AND PRACTICE. It's something you won't be great at overnight. I've seen photographers with cameras that aren't the fanciest take some of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen. It's all about the knowledge and vision and then when they do get the expensive camera they're even more awesome. Work with what you have and continue to grow and upgrade over time.
LOVE, FOCUS, AND HARD WORK
Benny Rodriguez is clearly the spokesman of all 3. Let's think about this. Benny probably gets up around 5-6am everyday. The first thing that's on his mind is his passion which is playing baseball. He makes all his homies meet him in the morning to practice. He recruits Smalls to the set to be his homie and so he can rotate 8 positions and so he can continuously get better. He wanted to play baseball in 100 degree weather instead of going to the pool. The opps (The rich baseball kids) said and I quote "Except for Rodriguez you all are an insult to the game." He was respected by the enemy set. In the 4th of July night game he hits a bomb, does the most G bat drop you'll ever see and everyone just stares at the sky while he rounds the bases. He was unbothered by the moment. He busted a fucking baseball open and acted like it was just another day at the office. He immediately wanted to get another baseball so they can keep playing. Baseball was his life. Every second he wasn't playing baseball he felt he was wasting time. You see at the end of the film he was the only one to make it to the major leagues and it was because of his love, focus, and hard work. He loved the game more than anyone. The focus he had was extraordinary. The hard work he put in no one could match. The homies told him he was the best on the team and they thought he didn't need to practice but he didn't see it that way. I know Allen Iverson told all of us not to practice and made it sound lame but trust me practice is your best friend. Benny knew this. It's what separated him from everyone else. The greats never think they're good enough. They always feel they can improve no matter how much other people praise their talents. It's what make the greats special. When you combine love, focus, and hard work to pursue your passion you will be hard to beat.
FUCK THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER
The 4th of July night game scene is one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history. Benny's bat drop and stare. Fireworks. The cinematography and the icing on the cake Ray Charles singing "America The Beautiful." It should be our national anthem. Let's figure out a way to make that happen.
CERTAIN OPPORTUNITIES MAY ONLY COME ONCE
Benny reaching out to Smalls was the foundation of their future. At the end of the film you see Smalls is a baseball announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. If Smalls would've never seized the opportunity to come play ball when Benny offered him to who knows what he'd be doing. Smalls took advantage of an opportunity that changed his life. Who knows if the chance would've come again if he said no to Benny and went into the house. Squints did the same thing with Wendy at the pool. Benny asking Smalls to come play changed his life also. He would've never got the nickname "The Jet" and became a neighborhood legend without Smalls. Smalls hit the Babe Ruth ball into Mr.Myrtle's yard. Benny had a dream about Babe Ruth telling him the opportunity to do something great doesn't come around often (Heroes get remembered but legends never die. Follow your heart kid and you'll never go wrong). Benny listened and went to get the ball from the beast and succeeded. They both met Mr.Myrtle who was a former player and friend of Babe Ruth after Benny "Pickled" the beast and agreed to talk baseball with Mr.Myrtle once a week. Mr.Myrtle probably gave Benny and Smalls so much knowledge and history about the game of baseball that it helped Benny become a professional baseball player and Smalls a professional baseball announcer. They also got a ball signed by all of "Murderer's Row" the most feared batting lineup in baseball history. A ball like that has to be worth 6 figures today. If you feel an opportunity in your life is special do not fuck around with it. Take advantage of it because if you don't someone else will.
Let's keep it 100 emoji. The Sandlot Kids took the realest squad picture of all time. The epitome of squad goals. It was 9 members posted and no SMILES. 9 members and they kept it that way even when a member moved away. Real squad shit. No one else in the circle. The fact that all 9 of them did everything together was the true meaning of friendship. Slumber parties in a treehouse eating smores, chewing tobacco at the carnival, the gang was always lit. They weren't just a baseball team they were homies. I've had the same homies my whole life, something I pride myself on. I never fell out with my friends. This film taught me to value my friends and people in general.
Teach the babies. Show them The Sandlot.