Alyssa Milano knows her baseball.
A Los Angeles Dodgers season-ticket holder and lifelong fan, she’s written a book about her obsession with the game (“Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic”) and founded the Touch sports clothing and jewelry line for women. And now that she’s expecting a baby boy, she’s looking forward to sharing the sport with her own child the way her father shared it with her.
So since we love a woman who loves baseball here in the Five Most space, we asked the star of “Who’s the Boss?,” '‘Charmed” and the upcoming Garry Marshall comedy “New Year’s Eve” to pick her five favorite baseball movies, just in time for opening day. Here they are, in no particular order, with a few thoughts from Milano on each:
— “Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns” (1994, with an update in 2010): The master documentarian’s nine-part miniseries on the history of the sport won an Emmy Award for outstanding informational series in 1995. Burns revisited “Baseball” last year, adding a “Tenth Inning” episode to cover the game’s steroids scandal. Milano: “It’s the evolution of baseball from the very beginning and I watch it every off-season with my dad and brother.”
— “Field of Dreams” (1989): Supernatural voices compel Kevin Costner’s Iowa corn farmer to build a baseball diamond in his yard. “If you build it, he will come,” he is told. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, including best picture. Milano: “It touched on every piece of romanticism you can create in baseball and James Earl Jones has one of the best speeches ever written for an actor.”
— “Eight Men Out” (1988): Writer-director John Sayles’ detailed depiction of the 1919 Chicago White Sox team, which intentionally blew the World Series. John Cusack, David Strathairn, Charlie Sheen and Christopher Lloyd are among the ensemble cast. Milano: “A wonderful film by John Sayles documenting the 1919 Black Sox scandal. It also has an amazing cast and the cinematography makes you feel as though you’re in that era.”
— “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1973): Robert De Niro plays the backup catcher for a New York baseball team who’s dying of Hodgkin’s disease. Michael Moriarty plays his only friend on the team, the star pitcher, who promises to stick by him and make his last season memorable. Milano: “If this movie doesn’t make you cry, check your pulse. A sentimental buddy film and a great performance by Robert De Niro.”
— “Bull Durham” (1988): Costner, again, as a veteran minor-league catcher who’s assigned to handle the team’s wild new pitcher, Tim Robbins’ “Nuke” LaLoosh. Susan Sarandon plays the longtime fan who becomes romantically involved with both men. Nominated for an Oscar for Ron Shelton’s script. Milano: “I love how the film shows the struggle of getting to ‘the show’ and no matter how many times I’ve seen it, it still makes me laugh out loud.”