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Baseball Season In Full Swing on Video

5 Apr, 2005 By: Meryl Schoenbaum

The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd. Baseball season opens this month, and video suppliers are looking to hit home runs with their baseball titles targeting kids and families.

Tiny Tot Sports Inc. lets even the littlest rookie get into the action with its Baby Baseball DVD, released in 2003 as the first in a series of sports-themed videos for toddlers. The $16.99 disc is an introduction to baseball that features nine characters with names like Slammie Sponge and Muddy Ball.

Alan LaGarde, executive producer of Baby Baseball, who also produces the home-makeover TV show “Trading Spaces,” feels the video teaches important social skills.

“The video introduces toddlers to the game at a very basic level,” LaGarde said. “It does that by showing other children running the bases, hitting and throwing the ball — sometimes successfully, other times not so successfully. But Baby Baseball also does something more important. It shows kids the importance of teamwork and friendship. And it's fun.”

To order Baby Baseball, visit www.TinyTotSports.com, or call 888/299-2880.

Another kidvid supplier subscribing to the notion that toddlers shouldn't be left out in left field is The Brainy Baby Co., which releases SportyBaby: Baseball July 19 (prebook June 22, $16.95 DVD, $12.95 VHS).

The title introduces youngsters to the sounds and atmosphere of the sport. It shows animated animal “teammates” as well as real kids playing baseball in stadiums and backyards. It also introduces concepts such as batting, pitching and catching, and even explores the food served at ballparks and the different “cultural faces” of baseball.

To order SportyBaby: Baseball, call 877/455-2229.

Older kids and families have a bullpen full of baseball-themed titles to enjoy.

On the instructional side, Hart Sharp Video's “The Ripken Way” series features Major League Baseball great Cal Ripken Jr. in three separate DVDs ($19.95 each) covering defense, pitching and hitting.

Koch Vision June 7 (prebook May 10) releases the baseball tale Casey at the Bat ($14.98 DVD, $12.98 VHS). The story takes place in the summer of 1888, when Casey Frank, a player on the Mudville Hogs, the last-place team in the league, becomes a hero for his sportsmanship through hard work, determination — and a little bit of magic.

Anchor Bay Entertainment steps up to the plate with the John Grisham-penned baseball story Mickey, released on DVD March 22 ($19.98). The film stars Harry Connick Jr. as a widower whose financial problems lead him and his young son to relocate and assume new identities. His son becomes Mickey and winds up leading his team to the Little League World Series.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings to DVD May 3 (prebook April 6) The Sandlot 2 ($19.98), the sequel to the 1993 film The Sandlot. James Earl Jones reprises his role from the original movie in a fun-filled story that picks up 10 years after the first film ended. It follows a new generation of kids as they play baseball and dream big in their half-block-wide corner of the world.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment gets in the game by repricing some of its family baseball films. The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid, was recently repriced to $14.99. Also, Angels in the Infield is repriced to $14.99 June 5.

Any mention of baseball films would have to include the classic Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner — available in a two-disc 15th anniversary edition from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, recently repriced to $14.98.

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