Scouting 'The Sandlot' kids: WMU coach breaks them down

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
"The Sandlot" came out in theaters 25 years ago and wasn't well-received, but has since become a cult classic.

"The Sandlot" wasn't exactly a hit at the box office.

But it's become a cult classic — especially among fans of baseball, S'mores and scorching summer days at the public pool. Esquire just named it the ninth-best baseball movie of all-time.

It's been 25 years since "The Sandlot" was released, and Major League Baseball is paying tribute throughout this season. The Tigers took their turn Saturday, with a special ticket package that included a "Hercules" t-shirt — the real name of "The Beast," owned by James Earl Jones' Mr. Mertle — and a postgame screening of the movie on the Comerica Park video board.

We decided to get in on the fun, too, if only in a quirky way.

Western Michigan baseball coach Billy Gernon is a big fan of "The Sandlot."

The News recently asked Western Michigan baseball coach Billy Gernon, a huge fan of the movie, to compile "scouting reports" on five of the most-memorable "Sandlot" kids.

Here's what Gernon had to say. Enjoy.

Scotty Smalls

Tom Guiry played Scotty Smalls.

Throws like Johnny Damon in his prime, but his defensive prowess is most comparable to Manny Ramirez. Not the most tools on the club, but will keep great stats.

Benny 'The Jet' Rodriguez

Mike Vitar played Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez.

Best all-around hitter/athlete, a plus runner — especially when being chased by rabid dogs. Can steal home, and a slobber-covered ball from nearby backyard. Quick twitch athlete with leadership qualities. Don’t let him beat you.

Michael 'Squints' Palledorous

Chauncey Leopardi played Michael "Squints" Palledorous.

Offensive tendencies — hits on girls out of his league at the local swimming pool. Will fake a drowning in order to claim victory. At the top of his game when lifeguards are present but clearly lacks athleticism. Looks like Greg Maddux, but lacks the command.

Bertram 'Grover' Weeks

Grant Gelt played Bertram "Grover" Weeks.

Can throw in a chaw of Big Chief as well as he can throws strikes.

Hamilton 'Ham' Porter

Patrick Renna played Hamilton "Ham" Porter.

Big target to throw to behind the plate. Bad arm action, but oddly nobody runs on him. Calls his own game and really knows how to get under the opponents' skin, like an overweight A.J. Pierzynski. Offensively, he's the only real power threat outside of Rodriguez. Don't be fooled by the step-in-the-bucket stride; this guy really wants the ball down and out. Depending on how puberty affects his durability behind the plate, he could make the switch to first base/DH like Victor Martinez or Joe Mauer.

And as an added bonus, enjoy this epic video from the Milwaukee Brewers this spring: