The Texas Rangers story this season has unfolded like a movie... but not just any kind of movie.
Specifically it has been a Clint Eastwood film.
I'm not talking about the Spaghetti Westerns, the Dirty Harry films or even the Clyde the Orangutan movies.
I'm talking about the respected Clint Eastwood films of the 1990s and 2000s.
You know, the ones he churns out about once every 8 months. The ones where, even if you didn't like them, you'd think, "Well, at least it was well made."
Bear with me, but the story of the 2010 Texas Rangers would be an ideal film for Clint not only to produce and direct but also to star in.
It is a story like Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby where Clint is the grizzled old timer brought in to do what he was born to do... and paired up with a partner his age and a young whipper snapper.
Think about it!
You have Nolan Ryan leaving his ranch to save the Rangers.
You have Ron Washington and Josh Hamilton overcoming their drug past.
You have a Rangers team that is filled with cast offs from other teams giving each other antler signs.
And they beat the Yankees! It seems that every baseball movie, with the exception of Pride of the Yankees and The Scout, has the Yankees as the bad guys. Even the Bad News Bears had the evil little league team called the Yankees.
It adds juice to seeing them win the pennant at the end.
Rent your tuxedo for the Oscars, Clint... the movie is tailor made. The script would practically be a Mad Lib.
And let this blog post be one of two things:
1) My pitch, in case anyone at Clint's Malpaso Productions reads my blog.
2) A way for people to see I predicted this movie before they even rolled cameras.
The film stars...
CLINT EASTWOOD as NOLAN RYAN
Yeah, he doesn't look like Ryan (as Ryan has clearly discovered the Rawlings All American Grill). But Clint has Ryan's imposing presence. He's the legendary cowboy whose background makes everyone stand at attention. He's the old school hero who wants nothing to do with these crazy new ideas. You can imagine him responding to the concept of pitch counts with a quiet, "Say what?"
MORGAN FREEMAN as RON WASHINGTON
Sure he's older than the real Washington, but this is Hollywood. Stockard Channing played a teenager in Grease for Christ's sake! Besides he can play the instant respect card when he arrives in the dugout. And he can play the troubled side when his cocaine use comes out. Plus let's face it, he could narrate the hell out of the film. Give it the ole Shawshank Redemption - Million Dollar Baby treatment.
MATT DAMON as JOSH HAMILTON
Clint has used Matt in his last few films, and why not? He's awesome. He doesn't really look like Josh Hamilton, but who cares? He can play the many layers of Hamilton. Ryan will inevitably get Hamilton pumped up, reminding him not to throw away his gifts and chance to be a great player. The Rangers are his third team and best shot at redemption. And Clint is big on redemption. Plus, when Washington has the cocaine problem, it can be Hamilton, the young player, who reaches out and helps him. When he stands by his manager, it will bring a lump to the throat like Jimmy standing by Coach Dale in Hoosiers.
HILARY SWANK as CLIFF LEE
Let's face it. Hilary is dying for a third Oscar... and Clint loves her. She's already won an Academy Award playing a woman pretending to be a man. Why not push it all the way? She'll just play a guy! And just treat it as if it is normal. By the end people will be saying, "I completely forgot it was a woman playing Cliff Lee" and BAM! She'll have a third golden guy for her collection.
And there are the supporting roles.
ADAM ARKIN as CHUCK GREENBERG
He's the investor who lures Ryan out of retirement to save the team. He has to visit Ryan at his cattle ranch and no doubt steps his expensive shoes in some cow pies. He has to deliver the inevitable "We need you to come back" speech and tell him he can run the team HIS way. Then later in the film they'll cut to him a lot clapping.
JESSICA LANGE as RUTH RYAN
It's a shame Sondra Locke can't play this role, which will inevitably be thankless. Ruth, Nolan's wife, initially is skeptical about Ryan's going back to the Rangers. She realizes how it will be his last bit of youth sparked again and agrees. Then later in the film they'll cut to her a lot clapping.
GIOVANNI RIBISI as JON DANIELS
Ribisi would be spot on as the super young GM who works well (and shows respect) to Nolan Ryan. And along the way teaches Ryan that the young kids may have a few good ideas in their head. He looks concerned during a lot of the ball game scenes and gives Nolan Ryan someone to growl to.
NATHAN FILLION as C. J. WILSON
The left hander has a great season pitching the Nolan Ryan way... and let's face it. He looks like the star of Castle. And why would Fillion turn down a role in a Clint Eastwood film?
MICHAEL PENA as BENGIE MOLINA
The actor from Crash worked with Clint in Million Dollar Baby. He comes over to the team in mid season and gives the pitching staff a boost... plus when he hits for the cycle and later steals a base in the playoffs, it can be a comical moment.
RYAN KWANTEN as MICHAEL YOUNG
The Aussie does a nice job with an American accent on True Blood, and he's in shape enough to play the versatile Young in the film. Plus he's a nice looking man.
JAIMZ WOOLVETT as MIKE MADDUX
OK, he looks NOTHING like Mike Maddux. But damn it, Woolvett was GREAT as the Schofield Kid in Unforgiven and proved he could handle himself in a scene with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. He should be in the cast, damn it!
So, come on! You can picture it! Even the poster can say
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER CLINT EASTWOOD
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER MATT DAMON
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER MORGAN FREEMAN
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER HILARY SWANK
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER JESSICA LANGE
IN A FILM BY CLINT EASTWOOD
(WHO HAS 3 MORE OSCARS NOT COUNTING THE FIRST ONE WE MENTIONED WHEN WE LISTED CLINT IN THE CAST!)
It smells like Oscar bait.
I demand a producer credit.