Through Smalls’s eyes, the movie shows us a picture of an older boy who is one of the best in the entire town: Benny Rodriguez. He’s the best on the team, he gets respect from everyone, he’s handsome, he welcomes Scotty onto the team and defends him when the others protest, and he’s the hero at the end of the film. How could a kid be so perfect?
This can all be explained by the fact that Smalls looks up to Benny since he did invite Smalls to join the team and was on his side for the entire run of the film. The two became good friends, continuing into their adult lives – of course, Smalls looked back with rose-colored glasses on his early days with one of his best buds.
Not Much of An Actor
Compared to the other young actors who appeared in “The Sandlot,” Shane Obedzinski has perhaps the smallest resume when it comes to acting. Before the movie, he had roles such as “Kid #4” in “Superboy” or “Bleeding Kid” in “Matinee.” After “The Sandlot,” his roles increased a little bit, acting as Nick in a pair of episodes of “Clarissa Explains It All,” and “Young Barry” in “Hidden Fear,” but that was pretty much it for Shane.
Now he lives and works in Florida, where he owns a restaurant, “Times Square Pizza Company.” He does a tiny bit of acting on the side – he appeared in the short film “Space Gila from the Deep” in 2107, in which he played CDC Dr. Ken Prescott.
Hiding Something From the Kids
When the kids finally meet Mr. Mertle, they discover he isn’t mean – he’s just a simple guy who played ball back in the day before a fastball struck his head and made him go blind. He explains that he tended to crowd the base, leading to this injury, but there’s another possibility. Mertle would have been a black man playing ball while it was segregated, though barnstormers sometimes played with integrated teams.
It’s possible that the ball that struck Mertle was intended to hit him by an upset player who didn’t approve of Mertle playing. There are several such stories of this happening in real life – Mertle might have been trying to hide this sad and violent event from the kids who didn’t need to hear such a thing.
Rooting for the Wrong Team
Who is the most famous member of the New Yankees in the history of baseball? Whether or not you actually like baseball, there aren’t many right answers other than the great Babe Ruth. Any Yankees fan would be blessed to possess a baseball signed by the Great Bambino...but what if you aren’t a fan of the Yankees? Denis Leary, who plays Scotty Smalls’s new stepfather, isn’t a Yankees fan but a Red Sox fan – about the closest thing the Yanks have to a mortal enemy.
Smalls’s stepfather didn’t seem all that broken up about losing such a prized possession because Leary has never rooted for the Yankees. We hear that being cast to act as a fan of a team you don’t like is pretty tough. Will anyone think of the actors?
The Original Plan for the Sequels
The two sequels of “The Sandlot” don’t amount to much, but if we had gone the original route that David Mickey Evans had for movies after the original, things might have been a lot better. Evans wanted to have every sequel take place in the next decade – so the first would be in the seventies, the second in the eighties, and so on.
The first actual sequel did take place ten years after the first, but it wasn’t a very good movie other than the introduction of girls to the Sandlot gang. It was pretty much exactly the same movie as the first one, even though some of the people in the list of characters should have known better. After that, the plan fully fell through.