Baseball: The Movie (Hardcover)

Baseball: The Movie By Noah Gittell, John Sayles (Foreword by) Cover Image

Baseball: The Movie (Hardcover)

By Noah Gittell, John Sayles (Foreword by)


Featuring Field of DreamsThe Bad News BearsA League of Their Own, and more: a probing and entertaining work at the intersection of pop culture and sports

Baseball has always been a symbol as much as a sport. With a blend of individual confrontation and team play, a luxurious pace, and an immaculate urban parkland setting, it offers a sunny rendering of the American Dream, both the hard work that underpins it and the rewards it promises. 

Film, America's other national pastime, which magnifies and mythologizes all it touches, has long been the ideal medium to canonize this aspirational idea. 

Baseball: The Movie is the first definitive history of this film genre that was born in 1915 and remains artistically and culturally vital more than a century later. Writer and critic Noah Gittell sheds light on well-known classics and overlooked gems, exploring how baseball cinema creates a stage upon which the American ideal is born, performed, and repeatedly redefined.

Traversing history and mythmaking, cynicism and nostalgia, this thoroughly researched book takes readers on a multifaceted tour of baseball on film.
Noah Gittell is a culture critic who has written for publications including The Atlantic, The Ringer, GQEsquireThe Guardian, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is a regular film critic for the Washington City Paper and a frequent contributor to BBC. He is also a mainstay at Smithsonian Associates, where he lectures several times a year on various film topics.
Product Details ISBN: 9781637272640
ISBN-10: 1637272642
Publisher: Triumph Books
Publication Date: May 14th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English

“Finally, someone takes baseball movies seriously! Baseball: The Movie blends the passion of a fan with the rigorous analysis of a film critic to create a persuasive argument that the baseball movie matters—to baseball, to Hollywood, even to America.” 

Ben Mankiewicz, host, Turner Classic Movies 

“Like a wise catcher who sees the whole field, Noah Gittell brings a keen eye and sharp perspective to two national pastimes that work as perfect companions: baseball and the movies. The summer game and the silver screen have evolved together through the decades, and Gittell traces their twin histories in rich detail, with riveting behind-the-scenes stories that make you appreciate the ballpark and the box office like never before.” 

—Tyler Kepner, author of K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitchers and The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series

“Absolutely fantastic. Baseball: The Movie is much, much more than a list, a ranking, or a mere remembrance of some beloved baseball movies. It's a truly great work of cultural history.” 

–Craig Calcaterra, author of Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game 

“There's analysis and there's storytelling. In my professional life, I practice them in the booth all season long. Noah Gittell not only masters each skill in Baseball: The Movie, but intertwines them seamlessly with humor, depth, and a personal perspective that makes it a must read for any movie lover, baseball fan, or curious observer of American culture.” 

—Ron Darling, author, baseball analyst, and former MLB pitcher 

“For most of my life, I've been waiting for a great book about baseball movies, because for nearly all my life I've been obsessed with both baseball and movies. Thanks to Noah Gittell, it's been worth the wait. Gittell doesn't just write brilliantly about baseball movies; he also places them in the context of American culture and society over the better part of a century. This book is a bravura, Oscar-worthy achievement.” 

—Rob Neyer, author of Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Game

“There are baseball fans, baseball aficionados, baseball fanatics – and then there is Noah Gittell.  Baseball: The Movie is at once literate, scholarly,  and passionate. Most of all, it understands that the sport's depiction in the movies is as revealing a narrative history of America as it is of our ‘national pastime.’  Imagine reading Franklin Foer’s classic How Soccer Explains The World in one hand while clutching a hot dog and a beer in the other.  Move over, Bart Giamatti and Bill James, here's a new one to add to the canon.” 

—Edward Zwick, director of Glory and Courage Under Fire, Cubs fan 

“If baseball explains America, Noah Gittell explains how movies about America’s pastime teach us about ourselves. Gittell deftly chronicles the arc of the baseball movie the way a fan follows their favorite team—with careful attention, fanatical but rigorous understanding, and a world-weary optimism. As fans, we don’t always win, but we always come back for more.” 

 —Sean Fennessey, co-host “The Big Picture” podcast 

“Just as you can always tell an actor who’s held a bat and ball before being fitted for a uniform, you can always tell an author who has a feel for the sport. Fortunately, Noah Gittell’s baseball mastery is more Costner or Sheen than Cooper or Perkins. To paraphrase Jacques Barzun, whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball movies, and Baseball: The Movie is the best possible primer: a perceptive, persuasive, and comprehensive account of a quintessentially American movie genre. This union of subject and writer is a match made in heaven—or Iowa, anyway. Here’s hoping Hollywood busts baseball movies out of their slump and gives Noah enough material for a sequel someday.” 

—Ben Lindbergh, author of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work and The MVP Machine