Recently my daughter and I were watching her second favorite movie, The Sandlot 3 (her favorite movie is The Sandlot). The movie is the story of arrogant baseball star Tommy "Santa" Santorelli who (warning: plot spoiler ahead) travels back in time to 1976 and relives his boyhood days on the sandlot baseball team. This time he chooses friendship over individual accomplishments, and ends up turning his life around, becoming a beloved baseball star instead of a hated one.
When Santorelli goes back to his childhood he is reunited with his mother, who died when he was about 12. The boy's bond with his mom is touching and sad, no question. However, Santorelli's father is not mentioned.
I don't mean that he's not there — we're used to that. Normally when they want to depict an absent father they'll depict him as dead or, more commonly, as having run off. (Just once I'd like to see a kid in a mainstream movie casually say, "Oh, my dad's not around — mom divorced him and used family court machinations to drive him out of my life when I was younger.") But here, unless my daughter, my wife, and I all missed something, Santorelli's father is not referred to at all. A child not having a father has become so routine that the screenwriters don't even feel obligated to throw in a one sentence reference to dad and why he's not here.
This is an increasingly annoying feature of many modern movies; John Tucker Must Die and Toy Story are a couple of other examples. It seems particularly offensive here because, dammit, this is a baseball movie. Dads, boys, and baseball go together. So in honor of the father-son-baseball bond which The Sandlot 3 has besmirched, I've put together some details about the loving bonds many current and former major league baseball players shared with their dads. Some examples include: