Let’s write a screenplay about hijacking a spring training equipment truck, you guys
This morning I was greeted with the first images of a team’s Truck Day, in which semis loaded with baseball equipment leave the home city on their journey to the team’s spring training site. Such shipments have probably always happened -- maybe it was train day before cars were invented -- but it only started to become a tradition when the Red Sox and their fans began making big deal out of it in the past few decades. Now the media shows up, little happy ceremonies are held and the like.
Today it was the Cleveland Indians, who have started to make a pretty big deal out of their truck leaving:
When I saw the pic the first thing I thought was how easily identifiable it is as the Indians’ truck and how neat that must be when fans pass it on the highway or whatever. The second thought: “Man, if you wanted to hijack a baseball team’s truck, they sure are making it easy.”
Third thought: “Why on Earth would anyone hijack a major league equipment truck?” It’s just full of baseball bats, jock straps, icy hot and pallets of sunflower seeds and Dubble Bubble. But I’m so taken with the idea of some heist flick involving a baseball truck that I tried to work out the details of it via a bunch of tweets of my own and the contributions of other people on Twitter. I now think there’s a core of an idea to it!
For starters, it has to be set in the 1970s. All the best heist flicks are set in the 70s. Modern heist flicks are too focused on beating some unbeatable security technology. I don’t want any scenes where a hacker in a headset says “I’m in.” I don’t want a scene with some impossibly-complicated drill that probably cost more than the actual haul from the safe would be. I don’t want bearer bonds or codes to Swiss bank accounts or suave Euro-dudes running around in nice suits. I want some shlubby Walter Matthau-types and a lot of guys driving Dodges. I want a plot point that involves “getting to the county line” because for some reason that was always a plot point in those movies, as if extradition hadn’t been invented yet. It was marvelous.
As for why anyone would knock over a baseball team’s equipment truck? Man, I had no idea. At least until Adam Morris of Lonestarball came up with a great one:
Which is PERFECT. For one thing it makes this a comedy or at least a movie with a lighthearted center. The heisters are a group of parents of Little Leaguers, not hardened criminals. More significantly, it totally puts it in that Ford-Carter economic malaise era when, man, maybe it WAS more plausible to hijack a truck than to expect a local kids’ league to have any funding. It could be some fantastic mix of “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Honky Tonk Freeway” and “The North Avenue Irregulars.” Classics, all. There would be so many C.B. radios in it that Cobra Electronics or someone might even underwrite half of the thing.
Anyway, the truck leaves, it goes through some part of small town America, a crazy heist plan is hatched, zaniness ensures, a crooked sheriff is involved, lots of Dodges crash and, at the end, the Boston Red Sox or the Cleveland Indians all show up at some super dusty Little League Field and play a game with all of the local kids and families around while the moms and dads drink domestic beer out of steel cans with pull-top taps. In short: perfection.
I’m offering this to Universal first since they are owned by my employer, but if they don’t bite with a big advance for the screenplay in the next ten days, I’m putting it up for bids. Have your girl call my girl, movie executives. This will make a mint.