Jon Hamm is making a movie about Indian baseball called ‘Million Dollar Arm’

Jayson Stark is apparently in a baseball movie, and he decided to humblebrag about it yesterday.  According to my Google Machine, “Million Dollar Arm” is a Disney movie starring Mad Men’s Jon Hamm as a baseball agent who signs two pitchers from India after they win a reality show.  This is the true story of Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, who signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008.

Disney has done this before with The Rookie, the 2002 movie staring Dennis Quaid as Jim Morris, the real-life high school baseball coach from Texas who pitched for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999.  “Million Dollar Arm” seems like the same formula.  Heart-warming, family-friendly film with unlikely protagonists achieving their dreams against all odds.  Blah blah blah.

I liked “The Rookie”.  I’ll probably like this one too.  I like most baseball movies, which is unfortunate, because baseball movies are few and far between nowadays.  Movies that don’t sell overseas no longer get made, and since most of the world doesn’t care about baseball, baseball movies have become a thing of the past.  Nobody in Poland is lining up to watch Bull Durham 2.

Which is why “Million Dollar Arm” is doubly important.  Baseball missed the boat on overseas expansion back in the 1990’s when Michael Jordan and the NBA conquered Asia and most of Europe.  While Bud Selig and Don Fehr were bitching at each about salary caps and drug testing, David Stern was marketing his league worldwide.  Now basketball is the fastest growing sport in the world, and baseball has been playing catch up ever since.

This is about more than money.  Yes, more markets means more money.  But it’s really about making the sport better.  Some of baseball’s most exciting players are born overseas.  Baseball is the best sport in the world, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be the most popular too.

The World Baseball Classic is good development.  So are overseas regular season games.  India is the world’s second biggest country.  Even with over 1 billion people, they’re still rapidly growing.  It would be nice to tap into that market.  If it takes a goofy reality show and a cheezed-up Disney movie, that’s fine by me.

 

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