Posted by: hollyburgh | May 13, 2012

Disneyfying the Pirates

by Lucy Leitner

Though it in no way replaces a werewolf TV series, a new movie will feature Pittsburgh as one of the main subjects (where it is filming has yet to be announced). It’s a baseball movie about the Pirates, but it’s not a Bad News Bears-style nihilistic comedy. It’s a Disney movie. If there is any team both in dire need and simultaneously less worthy of the Disney treatment, it is the Pittsburgh Pirates, the owners of the longest streak of consecutive losing seasons in sports history.

Yet it’s Disney. So this will not be the tale of endless frustration and DUIs, feuds with local bars, and angry fans who are somehow still less prone to battery tossing than those of the World Series winning Phillies.

The film entitled Million Dollar Arm  chronicles the true story of agent J.B. Bernstein who discovered such perennial all-stars as Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel. Bernstein brought the two Indian cricket players, who had never played baseball in their lives, to Pittsburgh where they signed because they were Indian cricket players who had never played baseball in their lives. The agent, and lead character of the upcoming film, found the two by hosting a reality show to find out who could throw a baseball the fastest. Though Patel was released by the Pirates two years ago and Singh is pitching with a 2.66 ERA for the Pirates Class A affiliate, the West Virginia Power, it can be assumed that, since this is a Disney movie, this constitutes a happy ending.

It is apparently a sad state of affairs in the Indian cricket league.

And there’s even more Disneyfying as Bernstein is being portrayed by Jon Hamm, as opposed to, say, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Unlike Art Howe’s expanded waistline in Moneyball, Bernstein will be played by the Mad Men star, who believably claimed during his guest stint on 30 Rock that Prince Eric of The Little Mermaid was based on photos of him in his younger years.

Indeed, Million Dollar Arm seems destined to be a rose-tinted view of the veritable Shangri-La that is the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse.

I look forward to this film because jaded Pittsburghers will ruin it for all Indian cricket players who think this is as good as it gets.

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