Last night on Netflix I took a chance on Chasing 3000, starring Rory Culkin and one of my favorites Ray Liotta. At this point, is there any doubt that Liotta likes baseball?
This movie is described as “Two brothers drive across country to see their hero, Roberto Clemente, get his 3000th hit.” As I began to watch the movie, and the way these two brothers grew up on sandlots and collecting cards of their idols; I remembered back to my days as a kid in the summer playing tennis ball baseball games or incrediball baseball with the boys out in the front yard. Hit it over the road, and it’s a homer. And remember–ghost runners only were as fast as the lead human runner.
The movie also had another tie-in to my personal life. The brothers pass back and forth a book about their idol, Roberto Clemente. A generational talent right-fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates; Bobby Clemente was one of those guys who you wish you could climb into a time machine to go back and catch a glimpse of.
When I was a kid, I won a book at the school carnival titled Pride of Puerto Rico: The Life of Roberto Clemente. We were forced in 2nd grade to bring in a chapter book from home that we would need to read over the course of the semester. Little did I know that this great story about Roberto Clemente would be my very first baseball book that I read; and that it would be a book I ended up reading three times! In the back, in small 2nd grade hand-writing I wrote ‘times read’ and put a tally mark for every time I made it through. And then I exaggerated a few more for some odd reason that I cannot tell you why.
When the brothers are forced to move from their roots in Pittsburgh to Los Angeles due to a health ailment that affects the younger one, they’re taken away from the things that matter to them most in life: their grandfather, the Burgh’, and their hero Roberto Clemente.
This is not a comedy by any means–but a drama that shows the importance baseball can have in impacting and shaping the lives of family and young men.
When Clemente is just several hits from the magical 3,000 the older brother decides through some homesickness that he’s going to venture back to his roots in Pittsburgh to see his hero get the historic hit. His younger brother is played by Macaulay Culkin’s younger brother and decides he will go along for the ride in the journey that becomes the best week of their lives.
Some of the footage shown early on in this movie of the kids playing baseball in the street with their neighborhood friends reminds me so much of summers growing up in my childhood. And if you had summers like that I promise you will grin at a lot of it.
Chasing 3000 is a really good story centered around baseball that will make for a really nice watch for you and might bring back some heartwarming memories. It’s a story about how a generational talent taken too soon from us (stuck on exactly 3,000 hits for eternity) shaped one region of the nation for an era.
Diamond Hoggers Rating: 8.5 baseballs out of 10