March 20, 2008
By JODY VANCE -- Sun Media
Baseball fans, if you exhausted your DVD collection this snowy winter -- when you weren't shovelling that is -- get ready for the upcoming 2008 MLB Season by renting "The Rookie" starring Dennis Quaid.
I love this movie.
A true story of one man's unlikely road to the big leagues, it is not an Academy Award winner, far from it. But "The Rookie" will give you perspective. Perspective on what this time of year might be like for those who don't make the big club when camp closes for yet another spring season.
Jimmy Morris spent a few springs heading back to the buses to the minors, and then eventually quit because of shoulder problems, content to be a high-school ball coach.
But his dreams were resurrected.
I guarantee this story will whet your appetite for baseball while giving you a new appreciation of just how tough the road to the majors can be.
As we get set to pack up here in Dunedin and head back to Toronto, I can't help but feel a little sad for those whose hopes were dashed in the last few weeks. I think of those guys headed back to the minors, their first-class charters and five-star hotel dreams dashed for yet another year.
Their Hollywood moments must wait -- or sadly make way for the reality that those moments may never come.
Most who get an invite to major league camp have had great success at the high school, college and even minor-league level but on the fields of Florida and Arizona many find mid-February optimism crushed by late March.
Fact: Not everyone can live the fairy-tale well enough to it turn into a big-screen script.
Tough truth: The Hollywood ending is one in a million.
It is so easy to get caught up in hype and expectation of greatness.
"The Rookie" reminds us to appreciate the talent before us, and the sacrifice each player has made to get to the field at Rogers Centre.
-- Jody Vance is a sportscaster and personality with Leafs TV. Her column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays in 24 hours.