First of a trilogy of films takes an unflinching look at the underbelly of little league baseball in Southern California. Former minor leaguer Morris Buttermaker is a lazy, beer swilling swimming pool cleaner who takes money to coach the Bears, a bunch of disheveled misfits who have virtually no baseball talent. Realizing his dilemma, Coach Buttermaker brings aboard girl pitching ace Amanda Whurlizer, the daughter of a former girlfriend, and Kelly Leak, a motorcycle punk who happens to be the best player around. Brimming with confidence, the Bears look to sweep into the championship game and avenge an earlier loss to their nemesis, the Yankees. —IMDb
Michael Brunswick Ritchie (November 28, 1938 – April 16, 2001) was an American film director.
Ritchie was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the son of Patricia (née Graney) and Benbow Ferguson Ritchie. His family later moved to Berkeley, California, where his father was a professor of experimental psychology at the University of California at Berkeley1 and his mother was the art and music librarian for the city.
He attended Berkeley High School before becoming interested in film, and was accepted at Harvard University following high school.
Ritchie attracted attention in his senior year at Harvard in 1960 by directing the original production of the Arthur Kopit play, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
His work on Kopit’s play led to a job offer from Robert Saudek, the producer of the Omnibus television series. Ritchie also directed episodes of Profiles in Courage and… read more
One of the great American films, the truest depiction of children yet to come out of Hollywood.
Love Matthau in this as well as the chemistry with Tatum O'Neal. If there's one flaw about the film that I wish could be changed, it's the scene where the opposing coach slaps the pitcher. That was a bit over-the-top, and the filmmakers could have found a more subtle way to achieve the same effect.