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A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN
CHRIS NASHAWATY
July 04, 2011
IT'S BEEN 22 YEARS SINCE WILD THING WALTZED INTO OUR LIVES, AND MAJOR LEAGUE STILL MAKES OUR HEARTS SING. THE FILM'S CAST AND CREW TRY TO EXPLAIN HOW IT BECAME ONE OF THE MOST BELOVED—AND MOST QUOTED—SPORTS MOVIES EVER
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July 04, 2011

A League Of Its Own

IT'S BEEN 22 YEARS SINCE WILD THING WALTZED INTO OUR LIVES, AND MAJOR LEAGUE STILL MAKES OUR HEARTS SING. THE FILM'S CAST AND CREW TRY TO EXPLAIN HOW IT BECAME ONE OF THE MOST BELOVED—AND MOST QUOTED—SPORTS MOVIES EVER

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Sheen: I didn't like the haircut because it generated so many comments in bars. I've got enough of that already. Add that to the mix and it's a recipe for a fistfight. I was already bitchy because—let's just say that I was enhancing my performance a little bit. It was the only time I ever did steroids. I did them for like six or eight weeks. You can print this, I don't give a f---. My fastball went from 79 to like 85.

Ward: We wanted to shoot the film in Cleveland, but we couldn't because Cleveland was a union town and it was a million dollars cheaper to shoot it in Milwaukee.

Chesser: Major League Baseball pointed out we would need their cooperation. [This movie] would be impossible today. Getting approval to use the Yankees as the enemy in Major League would be a f------ nightmare.

Ward: Milwaukee was great. The night we promoted to gather a big crowd of extras, there were 27,000 people in the stands. We had Wild Thing playing on the loudspeakers, and they were all singing.

Chesser: The idea was to shoot the big-crowd stuff first because when we started shooting in Milwaukee we were a big deal. One of the first sequences we shot was Wild Thing coming through the bullpen gates. But we didn't give those extras food. If they wanted Cokes or hot dogs they had to buy them. By the end of the movie, we were having trouble getting 50 people in the stands.

Sheen: When Wild Thing comes in to get that final out, it's one of the great sports entrances of all time. It was four in the morning, and I had been in the bullpen nodding off. This is pre-opiates—just good old-fashioned fatigue. I had to throw 150 pitches in a night and turn it around the next day. I was like, "Guys, do you know why they have a five-man rotation? So you can heal!" They said, "Look, we've only got the stadium for four nights with the fans." I would stop at the doctor's on the way to work for cortisone shots and anti-inflammatories.

Haysbert: Running out onto the field with 25,000 fans, I had goose bumps the size of golf balls. I was standing next to Yeager, and he was like, "Yup, that's what it feels like 162 games a year."

Bernsen: I was never a great hitter, and David told me to hit a line drive between second and third for one scene. I finally hit one to the track, and I was so amazed that I didn't even think to run. I blew the shot.

Ward: The scene where Cerrano hits the home run, Dennis actually went yard. Everyone stopped and applauded.

Haysbert: That's my favorite scene, when I said my little bit to Jobu: "F--- you, Jobu!" I hit it out of Milwaukee County Stadium. It was 315 feet down that line in left. I think it hit the top of the wall. I was stoked.

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