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The partnership between sports and Hollywood has always been a fruitful bond. Whether the productions are fictitious tales of triumph or biopics that tell the true story of athletic accomplishments, the silver screen has always relied on sports as a form of source material. Recent releases such as American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story hit close to home with Arizona sports. But there is no story bigger in our state’s limited sports history than when the Arizona Diamondbacks brought home the Commissioner’s Trophy after winning the 2001 World Series.
With that victory over the New York Yankees in seven games, the D-backs secured Arizona’s first major championship in history. To honor the heroes from that team (and to take a break from MLB Draft coverage), we take a look at who we would cast in the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks movie that inevitably has to happen.
Arizona Diamondbacks movie cast:
Tom Selleck as Bob Brenly
Obviously, Tom Selleck’s iconic moustache plays a large role in casting the D-backs’ broadcaster turned manager. But as much as you may instantly think of his time as the charming private investigator Thomas Magnum, it’s actually his current character that makes Selleck a good fit. His role as New York Police Commissioner Frank Reagan on the TV series Blue Bloods over the past 11 years shows his ability to play a well-respected leader of men. He’s also no stranger to baseball movies. Selleck starred as veteran first baseman Jack Elliot who goes to Japan to rejuvenate his career in the 1992 film Mr. Baseball.
Chris Diamantopoulos as Luis Gonzalez
If you’re familiar with Diamantopoulos’ work on the HBO show Silicon Valley, you’re probably shouting something inappropriate right now. The 46-year-old occasional voice of Mickey Mouse has much more range than Russ Hanneman would lead you to believe. He’s the type of actor that steals any scene he’s in, which is a trait he shares with the player himself. In a short amount of time, Gonzo stole the show here in Arizona and quickly became a legend. The film ends with the sale of his chewed bubble gum in an auction for $10,000.
Sam Elliott as Randy Johnson
Despite being 77 years old, there isn’t a more perfect actor to play The Big Unit. Elliott and Johnson both carry an aura about them that can only be described as “sheriff from the Old West.” Johnson may have only been 37 when he pitched for Arizona in the World Series, but he’s always had the attitude of a 70-year-old man. There are few actors that can nail an age difference this significant, but with a little CGI, Elliott could be that man. Watching him come out of the bullpen in Game 7 will be an awe-inspiring scene.
Steven Van Zandt as Jerry Colangelo
Jerry Colangelo is the reason why we are here. The architect of sports in the Valley was the main reason why the D-backs pivoted in 1999 after their first season to making big moves that led to the World Series title. While few actors really have the gravitas to play a personality such as Colangelo, Sopranos actor and member of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band Steven Van Zandt is a perfect fit. As Tony Soprano’s right-hand man Silvio Dante, Van Zandt was an incredible part of an ensemble cast. Now, he can step into the shoes of the overseer who was instrumental in bringing sports to Phoenix.
Kiefer Sutherland as Curt Schilling
Kiefer Sutherland would not only bring star power to this film, but he would also nail the role of Curt Schilling. His acting prowess and his range would be a perfect fit to play an athlete who had so many extra curricular altercations and squabbles. Unfortunately for Sutherland, he also has started to bear a resemblance to the controversial right-handed pitcher. The dynamic between Schilling and Johnson and determining if their relationship was “merely cosmetic” would be a major plot point.
Chris Tucker as Tony Womack
Womack, the man who had two key hits in the ninth inning of deciding games during the Arizona Diamondbacks’ run to the World Series, was known at times for referring himself in the third person. Chris Tucker playing Tony Womack and referring to himself constantly as Tony Womack is already hilarious without even seeing it. “Batting first, seventh, eighth or ninth, Tony Womack just wants to play.” — Tony Womack
DJ Qualls as Craig Counsell
Craig Counsell was huge in the playoffs for both the D-backs in 2001 and the Florida Marlins in 1997. He also has looked like a young boy for most of his career, something he shares with the actor who will play him. Counsell, who is currently the longest-tenured manager in the National League, has the distinction of being the player who was on-base the last two times in history a World Series ended in a walk-off hit. His contributions in the playoffs are a big reason why the D-backs made it to the pinnacle of professional baseball. Now, we just need Qualls to get that batting stance down.
Michael Ealy as Miguel Batista
Those eyes. Need I say more? Miguel Batista walked to the beat of his own drum. The enigmatic pitcher who seemed more interested in discovering the secrets of life than the secrets of the strike zone was a big contributor to the D-backs’ 2001 season. Ealy not only looks the part, but he’s also an incredibly charismatic actor, another trait he shares with Batista. What better way to round out the cast of our Arizona Diamondbacks movie?
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