After Wednesday’s last minute scrambles and upsets to finalize the playoff slate, it’s a safe statement that baseball is on the nation’s collective mind. Feared players appear on every contender’s lineup, but feared players get all the press. What about the players that no one would fear? Every lineup has its fair share of those as well, but it’s a more curious phenomenon in film, in which any player could be crafted to carry himself as larger-than-life. Despite this fact, many end up being as disappointing as Todd Van Poppel.

Here are seven such Van Poppels.

7. Ed – Ed

Ed is a monkey, which means that, while he lacks the advanced intelligence of a human, it will be hard to get inside his head. I would think that a monkey would have trouble responding to directives such as “intentional walk” and “pitch away.”

Further, not to harp on this bunting thing, but how easy would it be to lay one down the third base line, only to throw a banana down near first. He would predictably go to first, letting the ball roll towards third, but there’s always the chance that the baserunner would step on the banana, angering Ed and causing him to eat the baserunner’s face off.

It’s a trade off.

6. Mae Mordibito – A League of Their Own

Madonna has slept with a lot of baseball players. I’m not positive, but I am CONFIDENT that baseball talent is not sexually transmitted, so I think she would actually need to play baseball to get better at it, rather than just bang-out Jose Canseco or A-Rod.

5. Babe Ruth – The Babe

The actual Babe Ruth is completely clutch. The man called his shot for god’s sake. Who guarantees a home run (beside Paul O’Neil)? However the fictionalized Babe looked less than spry, even by Ruthian standards. He gets winded halfway through his swing, and looks like he may sweat hot dogs.

Also, John Goodman-Babe Ruth is married to Kelly McGillis, which means he makes bad decisions in the clutch. Can’t have that.

4. Ty Cobb – Cobb

Continuing with inadequate portrayals of real ballplayers…

Let’s see. Tommy Lee Jones is 408 years old today, and Cobb was released in 1994, which means it was filmed in 1993, which was 18 years ago, so Tommy Lee Jones would have been 390 years old when he portrayed the much-maligned contact hitter.

He’s too old to pass for an intimidating baseball player, is what I’m getting at. He would make for the world’s greatest manager in a baseball film. How has this not happened? I’m pretty sure TLJ was born spitting sunflower seeds.

3. Roger Dorn – Major League

No wonder the Indians fans were pessimistic during spring training.

“Who’s your starting shortstop?”

“Oh, a tan, leathery Corbin Bernsen. Who’s yours?”

“Ozzie Smith.”


He succeeded in setting Rick Vaughn straight at the end of the single-game playoff, but we never really saw him play any better than he did at the beginning of the season. Sure, he was hustling more than he did with his “olé bullshit,” but my fat nephew hustles his ass off, and he still sucks. He’s went from “bad player that wasn’t a role player” to “bad player that was sort of a role player.”


2. Henry Rowengartner – Rookie of the Year

He had some dumb tendon injury that allowed him to throw much harder than a 12 year-old can normally throw. First off, I know the kid looks young, but he doesn’t look like he’s 12. If his birth certificate is from the Dominican Republic, I’m calling bullshit. Henry’s at least 15.

That aside, 12 or 15, the kid doesn’t have the constitution or experience to hang tight in the clutch. He’s got a wicked fastball, but I would be laying down bunts to him all day long. He’s got one mechanic – overhand fastball. There’s no way he’s charging a dribbler and firing it to first. It would end up in the dugout. Further, I would be showing steal all game long with big leadoffs. The kid has no discipline, which means he’s going to be balking all day long, advancing runners.

He’s got one tool, and that’s not enough.

1. Domo Dominguez – Summer Catch

Wilmer Valderrama, despite his Latinamerican heritage, is not an intimidating baseball player. So it stands to reason that his character is not an intimidating player. Not that anyone in Summer Catch is intimidating. Except for Matthew Lillard. He's got crazy eyes. I’m guessing the only thing that really keeps him in the hunt is “intangibles,” which is also probably how he managed to date Lindsay Lohan for so long.

You would think that someone named “Wilmer Valderrama” playing someone named “Domo Dominguez” would inspire a lot of confidence, but no. It’s just one of the many ways Valderrama has found to keep letting audiences down.