Sandlot crew joins Royals Pregame

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The 25th anniversary celebration of the Sandlot Movie comes to Kauffman! The Kansas City Monarchs hat worn by Topeka actor Brandon Adams (Kenny DeNunez) "was a nice cherry on the cake."

JOEL GOLDBERG: That's Monty's Babe Ruth ball right there. It has not been eaten by Hercules "The Beast." That's your-- you just brought that in today, right?

- I did. I knew we would be talking about "The Sandlot," and what better prop to have than a Babe Ruth ball.

- So if you've never seen "The Sandlot," what's wrong with you? Go home and watch it. If you've seen it, you've probably seen it 100 times. I've got David Mickey Evans, the director of the movie from back 25 years ago, and Brandon Adams, who was DeNunez, the great pitcher. Made it to Triple-A, but didn't make it to the big leagues, right?

Guys, thanks for being here. They're playing "The Sandlot" on the big screen here, 25th anniversary. Could you ever have imagined not just the success of the movie, but now this movie being played in ballparks and being adored by so many, even bigger players?

- No, there was no way we could have known that. We all knew we were having a good time making the movie. And you can ask Brandon or any of the other guys, it was the best summer of their lives, best summer of my life. It was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of play. And that we were having so much fun gave us an idea that, well, maybe we cut this picture together, people might like it. And it turned out they did. And you beat the odds a lot when the audience likes your picture. That it becomes this sort of beloved thing is almost impossible. But that it stands the test of time, and after a quarter of a century, is more successful every subsequent year than the year before is lightning in a bottle. What can you say?

- And Brandon, I'm curious, having the reunion tour has to be almost like having the chance to relive. Did you guys stay together, connected during the 25 years? Or was--

- Yeah, we've stayed connected, but I haven't seen a lot of the guys. We've lived in different states for a long time, so the anniversary is cool, because it brings us all together. We get a chance to hang out again. We're all grown, we've got kids and all that, but--

JOEL GOLDBERG: Your kids like the movie?

- Yeah, my daughter. I have a daughter, and she loves it. She loves it.

- I've got to ask Brandon, he was born in Topeka, moved away at four years old.

- That's right.

- But you-- this is so special to everyone in Kansas City, and certainly people around the country too, you were in the Kansas City Monarchs hat. I believe-- I don't remember you ever not having that on. Sometimes it was backward, sometimes it was forward.

- Right.

- Where did the Kansas City Monarchs hat come from?

- Well, I think it was David's idea, and plus they knew that I was from Kansas, and it just kind of all worked out. Plus, the whole thing with the Negro Leagues and everything, so it was another-- a nice cherry on the cake.

JEFF MONTGOMERY: And David, would you have-- knowing that being a kid from Kansas-- did you ever have an idea that there would be a chance we'd be still talking about that hat today, and asking exactly the question that Joel just asked?

- No. I mean, the great Terry Haskell, who was our prop master at the time, has got a magnificent baseball memorabilia collection. I mean, he's got a Babe Ruth ball, also has one from the movie, and a bunch of other stuff. And I'm pretty sure that was his hat. I mean, everything you see in Mr. Myrtle's room, who played in the Negro Leagues, is pretty much from Terry's collection. And he and I collaborated really closely, and the costume designer, Grania Preston, and such. And we always knew that Benny was going to grow up to be a Dodger, so he's got an LA cap and jersey. And I'm pretty sure, if memory serves, that we knew that Brandon was from Topeka, so it seemed-- I don't know-- like a no-brainer.

- And where is the actual ball that you used in the movie located now?

- There were probably two or three of those Babe Ruth balls that were phony. Two of them got chewed, as you can imagine. One of them was pristine, and it's at the Louisville Slugger museum right now. They're doing a "Sandlot" memorabilia and props from the movie museum installation, I think, through September. I just saw it a couple of weeks ago, and it's the greatest tribute to the film you can imagine. If you can go, go.

- David, sorry.

- Brandon, I just have to ask you-- and the same for you, David, too-- but you guys were all kids at that point. To me, I mean, all of us that played baseball growing up at whatever level-- him a much higher level than me-- we can all relate to that movie and what it must have been like to be with these nine or eight other kids. What was it like, as a young guy, suddenly working and hanging out with what looked like an incredibly fun group?

- It was great, and I think that was part of the magic of it. I think he just kind of tricked us into being in a movie. We were just kids. I turned 12 during the movie. So it was just a part of my childhood. We were playing baseball in another state and just having a good time. It wasn't like work at all.

- There were so many incredible scenes. I got to ask about the pool scene with Wendy.

- Oh, boy.

- How was that one?

- Yeah.

- One of the favorites.

- There it is. What do you want to know?

JEFF MONTGOMERY: I mean, was the pool heated? Was it--

- No, no. That's a very astute observation. If you actually-- look, that summer of-- '92, Brandon, was it--

- Yeah.

- --yeah-- that we were shooting-- we shot it in Salt Lake City. It was written to take place in San Fernando Valley in LA, and the only place in the world that looks like that is the Salt Lake Valley, because they have the purple mountains in the background as well. As you can tell, I'm not a broadcaster.

JOEL GOLDBERG: You were in the movie.

- I was, yeah. Well-- and about 112 degrees that summer, blisteringly hot. And the two days that it wasn't were the two days we shot that pool scene. It was like 51, 52 degrees. And if you look at Squints, when he's rubbing his glasses, his teeth are actually chattering. Watch it again with that in mind. He's freezing.

- It worked out pretty well for him.

- Oh, it was terrific.

- In the end, too, right?

- Absolutely.

- It all worked out.

- Like I said, he tricked us.


- Right, he did trick you. How much baseball ability was there with you and all the guys, Brandon? How many people were good baseball players? Who had to fake it?

- Everybody was decent. And we had a whole little camp before we started shooting, just to make sure we were all up to par. But everybody was decent-- decent.

- So there were a lot of, like, 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-year-old guys doing the movie at the time, right? And you guys were all in that stage of your lives. What about the props? Did you guys do your own stuff? Or how many of those scenes did you have to have guys doing those props for you-- stunts?

- That was pretty much all--

- Stunts?

- Yeah, there was--

- Except for when Benny jumps over the fence. He does that big flip and lands on his back. That was a professional stunt man, Jack West-- god rest-- no, he's still alive. I mean, god love him. He was so good. And there was one other one, but almost everything else, they all did themselves.

- Really? Wow?

- Yeah.

- Real quick, before we get out of there, as a young kid, to be in that scene with James Earl Jones, was it as powerful as it looks?

- Yeah, absolutely. Well, that was one of the moments where I knew what was going on. I knew about James Earl Jones. I was a fan of his since a young kid. My parents used to show me his movies and everything. So yeah, that was definitely one of the greatest experiences of filming the movie.

- We are so happy to have you guys here.

- Oh, we're glad to be here.

- And so thrilled and honored to be able to share in really what is something that people all over the world have enjoyed for a quarter of a century, and more to come. So Brandon, David, thank you so much for being here today.

- Very welcome. Thanks for having us. We appreciate it.