Racial Integration In The Sandlot

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The Sandlot is a coming-of-age comedy film about young baseball players in the summer of 1962. Scotty Smalls moves to a new town in California, wants to be friends w the 8 boys on the neighborhood sandlot baseball team. They all take baseball really seriously. Scotty gets to play but is humiliated because he can’t catch or throw. With the help of his teammate Benny, he learns. He and his teammates get into all sorts of shenanigans, like getting kicked out of the pool and throwing up on an amusement park ride. One day, they lose their ball and Scotty, unknowing of its value, gets his stepfather’s autographed Babe Ruth ball to finish the game. Unfortunately, the ball is hit into an old junkyard, protected by a dog they call “The Beast.” Scotty …show more content…
Mertle is a retired Negro League baseball player. However, if you analyze the film at a deeper level, it seems like an allegory for racial integration in Major League Baseball. The Sandlot takes place in 1962, when the Civil Rights Movement was starting to be more effective and successful. It is notable that the sandlot team is diverse, compared to the “real” baseball team that shows up on bikes to challenge them. This team is all white, and the kids seem better-off than the sandlot kids, as they have bikes and uniforms. The captain of this “real” team even calls the sandlot team “a bunch of …show more content…
Mertle and the Beast is also illustrative of racial integration in baseball. The Beast is the main antagonist of the film, as he damages the autographed baseball. The Beast symbolizes white America’s feelings about racial integration in baseball. They viewed the idea as a boisterous monster - one that would soil the legacy of the white baseball players who came before it. In the film, when the Beast gets the ball, the game is over. This is representative of white America’s irrational fear of integration. They thought that baseball would be over if any colored people were able to play. The Beast is even physically separated by the fence. The sandlot team’s fear of the Beast - and of the black baseball player who owns him - is stimulated by absurd stories told by a fearful white person who learned the story from his family. The team is scared of the Beast because they have heard how awful he is from the people around him. This is not unlike racism - most prejudice is passed on, even sometimes

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