What's Buzzing:

Big League Stew

‘Let them play!’: Bob Watson fondly recalls ‘Bad News Bears’ movie filmed at Astrodome

Big League Stew

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bob Watson has held many roles during his life in baseball. He was an MLB vice president, a World Series-winning GM of the Yankees and he hit 184 home runs over a 19-year career that includes time with the Astros, Yankees and Braves.

One of Watson's most memorable moments on the diamond, however, isn't even noted in his Wikipedia entry. That would be the great cameo he had during "Bad News Bears in Breaking Training," the movie that famously brought two '70s icons — Kelly Leak and the Astrodome — together.

Now semi-retired, Watson was here at the winter meetings to discuss the newest Hall of Famers as a member of the committee that elected them.

But we couldn't resist the urge to also talk a little Hollywood.

"What I really remember about that is, I didn't want to be a movie star," Watson said. "Because, even if you get the lines right and the scene is right, you have to do it 15 times. There was a lot of standing around."

He's talking about you, perfectionist director Michael Pressman.

"The other thing I remember was my line," Watson said. "'Let the kids play.'"

And that's almost what he said, as the video clip above documents. Watson actually said, "Hey, c'mon, let the kids play!" and it was a key moment in the movie.

View photo


(Big League Stew)

The Astros gave filmmakers only 45 minutes between games of an Astros doubleheader to film the scenes in which the Bears played some tobacco-chewing teens on the Houston Toros. You might remember the plot: Officials tried to shoo the boys off the field until Tanner Boyle resisted in the name of Timmy Lupus. But his defiance didn't gain any traction until Watson and some of his teammates entered the home dugout and saw what was happening. Joe Ferguson, Enos Cabell, J.R. Richard, Ken Forsch, Roger Metzger, Cesar Cedeño and Bill Virdon are all credited as having appeared in the movie, but only Watson had a line of significance. It inspired William Devane's character (along with that of Oscar nominee-to-be Jackie Earle Haley) to take the field and get the crowd chanting.

"William Devane was cool," Watson recalled.

But all that standing around? Less so.

Over the years, Watson has received residuals for his role in the movie. But the amounts printed on those checks have been laughable.

"This year sometime, I think I got a check for 15 cents," Watson said. "Over the 35 years since the movie was made, the checks ran from five or 10 dollars down to 10 cents."

Not nearly enough to keep Watson in the acting business.

Already counting down to spring training?
Follow @AnswerDave@bigleaguestew@KevinKaduk on Twitter,
along with the BLS Facebook page!

More news from the Yahoo! Sports Minute:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
MNF preview: Giants get second shot at RG3's option offense
Lil Wayne helps out Jonas Jerebko's youth basketball camp
Red Sox reportedly close to deal with Mike Napoli
Y! Health: Running may be harmful to your heart

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (1)
  • Llong review a sucker-punch for rattled New Zealand

    Llong review a sucker-punch for rattled New Zealand

    By Ian Ransom ADELAIDE (Reuters) - The third umpire's controversial reprieval of Australia's Nathan Lyon was a sucker-punch for frustrated New Zealand which left the hosts in a strong position on day two of the third test on Saturday. New Zealand … More »

    Reuters - 7 minutes ago
  • Johaug wins 5K cross-country skiing World Cup race

    Johaug wins 5K cross-country skiing World Cup race

    KUUSAMO, Finland (AP) -- Therese Johaug of Norway dominated the women's 5-kilometer freestyle race Saturday at the opening cross-country skiing World Cup meet of the season. … More »

    AP - Sports - 37 minutes ago
  • Hazlewood hammers New Zealand after review farce

    Hazlewood hammers New Zealand after review farce

    By Ian Ransom ADELAIDE (Reuters) - Paceman Josh Hazlewood stepped up in the absence of injured spearhead Mitchell Starc to give Australia a sniff of victory within three days after a farcical third umpire decision stole the tourists' momentum … More »

    Reuters - 40 minutes ago
  • Eitberger leads German 1-2 finish at World Cup luge opener

    Eitberger leads German 1-2 finish at World Cup luge opener

    IGLS, Austria (AP) -- Dajana Eitberger earned her first World Cup victory Saturday, leading Natalie Geisenberger for a German 1-2 finish at the luge season-opener on the 1976 Olympic track. … More »

    AP - Sports - 58 minutes ago
  • Olympic champion Hanyu sets record score to win NHK Trophy

    Olympic champion Hanyu sets record score to win NHK Trophy

    Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu set a record score for the second straight night to win the NHK Trophy on Saturday and qualify for the Grand Prix Final. Hanyu won the free skate to finish with a total of 322.40 points, 55.97 ahead of … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 40 minutes ago