It’s been 25 years since the classic coming-of-age baseball flick The Sandlot hit the big screen, but now, Phillies fans will have the chance to take in a game with a couple of the film’s co-stars.
Actors Victor DiMattia and Marty York, better known as their Sandlot counterparts Timmy Timmons and Alan “Yeah-Yeah” McClennan, will appear at the Phils’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday. The visit is part of a 25th anniversary tour for the film, which will also bring DiMattia and York to ballparks like Dodger Stadium and to MLB All-Star Weekend in Washington.
For the uninitiated, The Sandlot stars Tom Guiry as Scotty Smalls, a young boy who moves to a new neighborhood in 1962 and, after having some trouble finding friends, begins playing baseball with a group of boys on a local sandlot. York plays sandlot team member Yeah-Yeah, named for his repetition of the word “Yeah,” while DiMattia handles the role of Timmons, another sandlot player.
After its release, the film earned a modest $32,434,000 at the domestic box office, according to box office tracker Box Office Mojo, but has since become something of a classic childhood baseball film. Today, fans remember Sandlot characters like Yeah-Yeah and Timmy Timmons, as well as cohorts like Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez (Mike Vitar), Hamilton “Ham” Porter (Patrick Renna), Michael “Squints’ Palledorous (Chauncey Leopardi), and others fondly — not to mention the still near-constant quoting of the film by millennial fans (“You’re killing me, Smalls!”).
DiMattia and York, however, have rarely appeared in movies and TV shows since The Sandlot, though both pursue acting roles regularly. Most recently, York was featured in a guest role on Showtime’s SMILF last year, and DiMattia last appeared in the comedy Get Married or Die, which was released in January. Off-screen, York works at a Los Angeles-based computer company and as a personal trainer, while DiMattia hosts a podcast dubbed Vic In A Box.
Still, though, the actors’ work in The Sandlot remains their most beloved — especially in Philly. In addition to their Phillies game appearance on Saturday, the Philadelphia Film Society Young Friends will hold a screening of The Sandlot on June 13. Tickets are currently available, and run $12.
We caught up with DiMattia and York ahead of their appearance at Citizens Bank Park, and talked about their time working on The Sandlot, it’s influence on fans and baseball players today, and whether or not we’re likely to see a reboot sometime soon. Check out the interview below:
25 years after doing The Sandlot, it must be a trip seeing what the movie has grown into today.
MY: The movie has gotten bigger every year. Even when we go to these ballparks all over the U.S., the players are excited to meet us. It’s definitely cool — the movie has become sort of iconic.
Through your ballpark tour, have you found that The Sandlot has influenced many pro ballplayers to pursue baseball as a career?
MY: We did the Angels stadium and met guys like Mike Trout, and a lot of different players. We had some PF Flyers cleats for all of us to sign, and the players were telling us “Man, we only play baseball because of you guys.” It’s not even just baseball players we influence — look at Kevin Durant’s Twitter page, his picture is actually Pat Renna, who played Ham.
VD: We just got to meet Super Bowl champion Jason Kelce, too. He was wearing a “You’re Killing Me, Smalls” T-shirt! It was pretty awesome.
How has The Sandlot impacted your lives, and what does it mean to you guys now?
VD: We never imagined 25 years ago that this many years later people would still care about the movie. It’s everything you hope for as an actor — to do something that’s going to be timeless, like The Sandlot has been. It’s opened so many cool doors for us. Just to get the love from people everywhere we go is really humbling.
What do you think the movie means for other people? It’s something of a cult classic now.
VD: I was having this conversation with David Evans, the director, about the cult-classic status, and we both agreed that it’s now just become a classic, more than just a cult film. People grow up on it. When you’re an adult, and you see a movie you like, you might see it a couple of times, but as a kid, a movie that you like, you’ll watch over and over and over. People have seen this movie hundreds of times when they come up and meet us. Some of them know the movie better than we do.
What was it like on set during filming?
MY: We had a great time filming it, and filmed it over the summer of 1992. We did a lot of fun stuff off camera as well. The whole cast, we snuck into Basic Instinct when it first came out. That was pretty funny.
VD: One of the guys, Tom Guiry, who played Smalls, his older brother snuck us into the movie. He got into some trouble with his mom after that. It was like being in summer camp, and it was a whole summer of us wrapping for the day, and going back to the same condominium complex. We would all go and hang out at the same swimming pool, and eat pizza together, and play Super Nintendo. We all were really, really close off camera, and I think it translates into the movie.
If there were any kind of potential reboot, is that something you guys would be interested in doing?
MY: There was a part two and three, but they didn’t do too well. I didn’t watch either one of them. But myself, and I think the rest of the cast, would definitely be interested in doing a real number two with the original cast. Actually, the director is speaking with Fox right now to see if we can get something up and running.
Hypothetically, what would you like to see happen to your characters?
MY: At the end of the movie, my character, Yeah-Yeah, joins the military. I think it’d be cool if somehow, something happened with the sandlot, and we all join forces again. One of the guys goes around and finds the other guys and brings us back together so we can play a game on the sandlot. Or even if we had kids that played on the sandlot.
VD: That’s what I was thinking. We’d be parents, and our own kids play ball together.
You’re coming to town for a Phillies game. Have either of you spent much time in Philly?
VD: I’m actually from Wilmington, that’s where I went to high school. So I’ve spent plenty of time in Philly. I’m a huge Eagles fan, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers — all that. So this game is really special for me.
MY: Actually, the last time I was in Philly was back in 1993 when we did the Sandlot press tour. Me and Tom Guiry actually ate at Pat’s. So, for the first time in 25 years, I ate again at Pat’s [on Thursday].
How was it? Everything you remember?
MY: Yeah, man. You guys have got the best cheesesteaks.