Have you ever heard of "Tiger Town"? It's likely you haven't. "Tiger Town" was a made for tv Disney movie from 1983 that somehow made it's way to VHS and into my home. The mark this movie left on me is one that remains to this day. For a kid in love with his Blue Jays, this little movie was so much more than a 73 minute flick. It was a religious experience.
It's about faith and baseball, one boy's belief in an aging star and the magic of the baseball gods. The Tigers are struggling and Billy Young has lost his touch, but a kid named Alex refuses to give up on his team and his hero. There's the death of his father and a final gift of seasons tickets at Tiger Stadium. Alex attends these games and summons the baseball gods every time Billy Young is at the plate. He closes his eyes and prays, and Billy Young inevitably comes through. Soon enough, the Tigers are on fire and leading the division. Alex just has to attend these games and believe in his hero. It's awesome.
I wanted to be Alex, attending each home game at Exhibition Stadium and praying to the baseball gods every time George Bell came to the plate. This movie epitomized the romantic ideal of baseball, as I sensed it. "The Natural" came out a year later, and echoed these same themes. Roy Hobbs was Billy Young with more baggage. There was still magic in the air and a heroic triumph.
I'd like to get my hands on a copy of "Tiger Town" and show it to my four year old. You gotta have faith.
Thanks again, Tiger Town, for everlasting memories.