Hollywood, meet the YK Fastball League

by Dr. Rug


Hello to all the great Yellowknife Fastball fans out there,

The end of the fastball year is upon us and with it one last chance at glory this weekend. I know you’re all struggling to get through this work week and make it to championship weekend so in order to help you survive, the good Dr. Rug is here to provide a little entertainment.

We all know that one of the best parts of living in Yellowknife is the glorious summers that we have with never-ending daylight and beautiful days as far as the eye can see. However, every once in a while the skies will open up and unleash a torrential downpour. When this happens, the only thing to do is turn off the smart phone and curl up on the most comfortable couch in the world for a movie marathon. And what better theme for a movie marathon than baseball movies!

At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, Dr. Rug is still drunk from last weekend, what the heck does any of this have to do with the fastball league??? Well, I’m getting there. Slowly to be sure, but eventually it will all make sense. You see, this past weekend I did just this thing, curling up on the couch for a baseball movie marathon, and about 14 hours in (shortly after Roy Hobbs sent one into the lights and just before we find out Bruce Pearson has Hodgkin’s disease) I realized that the teams in the YK Fastball League offer a whole lot of similarities to some of our favourite baseball movie teams.

After a little more research, and another couple tubs of popcorn, I have come up with the Hollywood equivalent for every team in the League. In other words, which movie baseball team has the most in common with each of our fastball teams.

Tamarack Thunder

As I watched the lovable punks of the Sandlot struggling to overcome hardships (on and off the field) but triumphing in the end, one team came to mind: the Tamarack Thunder.

You’ve got a bunch of misfits coming together over their love of the sport in an attempt to have a little fun and maybe take down a Beast in the process. Looking a little further, you’ve got Francis Thrasher playing the role of Scotty Smalls… not the best player in the world at the beginning but by the end of the film he’s improved more than anyone else in town. Byron Kotokak as Kenny DeNunez… the stylish pitcher who may give up his fair share of hits but is still the best the team has to offer.

And of course, Josh Brown as Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez… if anyone on this Thunder team has the speed to outrun the Beast, the attitude to whip the team into shape, and the skill level to one day play pro ball for the Dodgers, it’s Josh.

Fire Prevention Blue Jays

Q: What do you get when you take a team that’s struggling to climb out of the basement of the league and add the best pitcher you can find?

A: The Chicago Cubs from the movie Rookie of the Year.

Also acceptable: The Fire Prevention Blue Jays.

This was the most obvious of all of the movie team comparisons and really, the Steve Thomas = Henry Rowengartner is the only comparison that you need to justify it. But if we want to extend the similarities further we easily can:

  • Devon Bouillon as Larry Fisher, the devious GM that first convinces Henry to sign with his team and then later on attempts to dupe his star into signing with the Yanks.
  • Steve Robertson as Chet “Rocket” Steadman. Steve may not be a pitcher like the Rocket was but he still fits the role as a veteran mentor that takes the youngster under his wing and teaches him the way of the league.
  • Ray Risk as Heddo. Yes, technically Heddo plays on the opposition in the movie but a role as the arrogant slugger that won’t shut up and ends up striking out with the game on the line in the climax of the movie is a role that was made for Ray Ray.

Home Building Centre Cardinals

  • Hotshot young pitcher with all the talent in the world but control issues and an attitude problem – Garrett Hinchey, check
  • Veteran catcher who is over-the-hill but still has the skill to compete and more importantly has the smarts to teach the pitcher the ins and outs of the game – Darin Strain, check
  • Coach who can calm things down on a trip to the mound and always knows the perfect wedding gift – Rug, check
  • Deeply religious fielder with talent and innocence in equal measures – Andy Penton, check (with Meghan filling the role of Millie)
  • Veteran leader that has yelled the following at his players: “You lollygag around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Lollygaggers!” – Bruce Waugh, check

Yep, the HBC Cardinals are the Durham Bulls. The only question that remains is, if Darin is Crash Davis, and Garrett is Nuke Laloosh, then who is Annie??

Slades Fire Protection Expos

If there was any one comparison that was even more obvious than the Steve Thomas as Rookie of the Year comparison, it is Ryan Strain as Buttermaker (obviously we’re talking about the 1976 version not the 2005 remake). After realizing that, it was just a matter of lining up the rest of the Slades crew with their Bad News Bears equivalents:

  • Amanda Whurlizer – Greg Skauge
    The best pitcher on the team and the player that gives it back to Buttermaker as good as they get it.
  • Tanner Boyle – Damien Healy
    I was going to post a Tanner Boyle quote here to demonstrate the similarities but we’re trying to keep the website family friendly.
  • Kelly Leake – Carson Roche
    The best athlete on the team… has a crush on Skauge.
  • Ahmad Abdul-Rahim – Joey Borkovic
    The light-hitting centerfielder.
  • Timmy Lupus – Peter Sheldon
    The quiet, shy kid that knows how to make a fantastic martini for Buttermaker.
  • Alfred Ogilvie – Ryan Theil
    The nerdy benchwarmer that assists with the coaching duties.
  • Mike Engelberg – Mitch Madsen
    No explanation necessary.

Optimum Crush Rockies

Hmmmmm… a team that was roundly picked to finish dead last in the division but surprised everybody by making a strong second half charge to take home the title. Ladies and gentlemen, the Rockies are YK Fastball equivalent of Major League’s Cleveland Indians!

You’ve got:

  • The Wild Thing pitcher. Ricky Vaughn aka Brad Waugh.
  • The slugger that crushes fastballs but can’t hit a curve. Pedro Cerrano aka Mischa Malakoe
  • The talented pretty boy shortstop who refuses to sacrifice his body for the team. Roger Dorn aka Brandon Coates
  • The speedster who personifies the statement “With your speed, you should be hitting the ball on the ground and legging them out”. Willie Mays Hayes aka Carter Stirling
  • The veteran catcher on his last legs. Jake Taylor aka Mike Allerston.
  • And the greaseball. Eddie Harris aka Donald Morrison.

Racquet Club Trappers

The basic premise of the movie Field of Dreams is that a guy ruins his family’s income producing abilities, chases ex-ballplayers that he doesn’t know across the country, builds a full sized baseball field in his back yard with no one to use it, and has a wife who encourages him to do all of this just because he heard voices in his head???

If Yellowknife was a small town in the mid-western states, there is a 100% chance that this is something that Rob Johnson would do, and you know Tami would support him the entire way without batting an eyelash.

Let’s just hope that even the voices in Rob’s head realize how ridiculous the “mini green monster” idea is.

Rylo Orioles

Last but certainly not least, we have the O’s. There’s one classic baseball movie that has yet to appear in this article and I can think of no team more fitting than the O’s to receive the honour. This movie featured some of the best players, the most lovable characters and one of the most classic lines in baseball movie history, “There’s no crying in baseball.”

That’s right, the Orioles are the Rockford Peaches.

In fact, the similarity between the two teams is uncanny. Let’s break it down on a player by player basis and you tell me if I’m wrong:

First off, we’ve got the crusty old manager that uttered the famous line about not crying. A guy who probably wonders what the heck he’s doing with this crew but is still able to lead them to success and glory. Andy Williams is Jimmy Dugan.

Next, we’ve got the centerfielder with great speed, who has all the skill in the world but would rather play a flashy game (i.e. catching a ball with a hat instead of a glove) and impress the fans than embrace the fundamentals. Also offers to get naked to draw a crowd to the game. Chad Hinchey is “All The Way” Mae Mordabito.

Then, we’ve got the player with all the physical talents but who continually makes the rookie mistakes like missing the cutoff man or throwing home with a two run lead. Also the player whose crying inspired the famous line. Scott Thomson is Evelyn Gardner.

There’s the decent contact hitter with deceptive speed but a distinct lack of power. Solid in the outfield but not extraordinary. And struggles to read. Aaron Plotner is Shirley Baker.

We’ve got the first player off the bench that can fill in where needed when needed. Can come in in relief and get you out of a jam with a good fastball. To top it off, makes a killer spaghetti. Chris Greencorn is Betty Spaghetti Horn.

The utility player that can play many positions, even catcher if needed. Doesn’t like to be yelled at or change their socks at all. Tyler Blewett is Alice “Skeeter” Gaspers.

Then there’s the player that’s one of the best hitters in the league. Can hit for power and average. Doesn’t exactly have the prettiest face in the world but still manages to find someone willing to marry them. Sean Couvrette is Marla Hooch.

There’s the best defensive player on the team with a gold glove and the ability to throw a few innings on the mound when needed. Doesn’t hit for a lot of power but consistently puts the bat on ball and makes things happen. Matt Mossman is Ellen Sue Gotlander.

We’ve got the all-around talented player with the slick glove, power bat and great skills. But whose incessant chattering is enough to drive even the most dedicate fan to commit murder. Jon Whitford is obviously Doris Murphy.

And finally we’ve got the two rivals. One is an old veteran catcher who’s got all the skill needed to be an all-star, the other a youngster trying to prove themselves and get out from the shadow of the first. The young star gets traded half way through the season and leads their new team to a championship. The old veteran intentionally drops the ball on the game winning play at the plate so that the protégé can have the glory and the victory.

Todd Moran and Steve Robertson are Dottie Hinson and Kit Keller.

Heck, even the fact that the Peaches choke in the last inning of the final and finish second is a page straight out of the Orioles playbook. There’s no denying it, the comparison is perfect.

There you have it folks. The YK Fastball league is essentially Hollywood reborn. I hope you enjoyed this season of ball as much as we enjoyed playing it and I invite everyone to come down to the field this weekend for some great action and cold beers!


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