Tuesday, August 21, 2012




- BleacherSeats.Com

Dear Readers and Fans of The Sandlot,

As promised, here’s the big post about the two, first ever, 20th Anniversary Sandlot Tour events in Omaha and Kearney, Nebraska that happened on August 10th and 11th.

In a word they were both “Awesome!”


We arrived in Nebraska on Wednesday, August 8th, after a 1,400 mile drive from Florida which took us through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa.  A beautiful drive through some incredibly beautiful American landscapes.  (Sidebar: if you ever travel through Saint Louis and don’t make a stop at “Nick’s Pub” you’re missing one of the greatest Irish Pub’s in the USA).

Arriving in Omaha, I had high hopes but really no idea what to expect; I mean, I know The Sandlot is what’s called an “Evergreen Film” (meaning it sells, and sells, and sells and never stops selling), and that people love it, and that it has fans the world over... but buying a ticket to an outdoor screening on a Friday night?  I had absolutely no idea if anyone would show up.  That’s scary.  The Werner Park crew (home of The Omaha Storm Chasers AAA baseball team -- and one of the most beautiful baseball stadiums anywhere) had done a great job of promoting it on a local level and managed to pre-sell a few hundred tickets.  I had a limited merchandise inventory for this first outing, and hoped it would be enough so that no one was disappointed.

The day of the event, I did two promo appearances, one on local sports radio show and one on a local, morning time TV show.  And that’s all the promo we had, really.  So imagine my shock when the night of the event 1,400 people showed up!  I knew the film had/has fans... lots of fans, but apparently it has really, really great and loyal fans.  I can’t even count the number of times little kids, big kids, moms and dads grandfathers and grandmothers came up to me and thanked me for making the movie, recounting stories of growing up with the film, or of their kids growing up with it, or even both.  

I must have autographed 600 t-shirts, and even the cast of a kid with a broken arm!

And that was all before the movie started!

The fans begin to arrive at Werner Park, in Omaha Nebraska

I had scripts, some posters, dvd’s and Blu-Rays, some baseballs and 8X10’s of the poster I had made for the event and blew through almost all of it, again, this was before the movie started!  The fans could not get enough of anything with The Sandlot on it.  It was incredibly gratifying to see how much everyone wanted to be able to take both a little piece of The Sandlot, and a little piece of that special night home with them.

Families and picnic blankets at Werner Park

The fans particularly enjoyed meeting and interacting with my friend, actor Daniel Zacapa, who played “Officer Chief of Police Grandpa Squints” in the movie.  He made the role his own with the way he delivered the famous line, “For-evv-err...”

I think Daniel had his picture taken with fans and families more times in one night than he has in his entire wonderful career (I’m kidding, but the fans loved him).

 He acted as the “roving microphone,” making his way through the audience during “The Sandlot Trivia Contest” we held before the movie started.  I would ask a trivia question, a thousand hands would go up, I would pick an audience member, then Danny would run over to get their answer - which was broadcast through the stadium’s PA system for all to hear.

The best of those moments was when, out of literally nowhere, a little boy (he must have been 3 or 4 years old) came walking up to me, making his way through the crowd on the infield, and in-between all the families and their picnic blankets -- brave as could be -- and stopped at my knees, looked up at me and said, “You... you...” and this is when I pointed the microphone at him, he continued, “You.. you...” and then he finally put it all together and got the sentence he was trying to say out all at once: “YOU PLAY BALL LIKE A GIRL!”  A classic.  Classically delivered!

He brought the house down.  The whole stadium burst into laughter and applause.  He was awesome -- and fearless -- and so he got a DVD  of The Sandlot.


So, after that incredible night, the next day it was off to Kearney, Nebraska, about 2 1/2 hours west of Omaha.  There -- in a cosmic aligning of the stars which once again proves there are no coincidences -- The Young Professionals Association had taken a vote for the movie most people wanted to see screened at their annual movie in the park night.  It was The Sandlot hands down.  When they learned I was appearing in Omaha, they reached out to see if I would attend their event.  That was a big “YES OF COURSE I WILL!”

And in one more piece of “the stars aligning,” when I arrived at the park it turned out that the same projectionists, with the same big movie screen that we’d used at Werner Park were there for this event as well!  A very good sign.

Much like the Omaha event, there had been a few hundred ticket pre sales, but on the night of, another 1,300 fans showed up!  If the Omaha attendance put my fears to rest about anyone being interested enough to actually show up, this one gave me great confidence that wherever and whenever I screen the film for fans, they will come.  Again, incredibly gratifying.

My friend Daniel Zacapa had to skate to Chicago where he was acting in a film, so I had this audience to myself.  And they were, just like the Omaha fans, GREAT!  The screening took place in their new city park which is simply beautiful, and the audience got to lay out their picnic blankets on a huge grassy hillside forming an amphitheater fronted by the projection screen that was just perfect.

After the trivia contest and a few stories, I screened the original trailer for The Sandlot, the making-of featurette and then the film.  After the ear-ringing applause at the end, I stayed around for several hours signing autographs and meeting people.  The screening benefitted The World Theater Project in Kearney, so if you’re ever in Kearney, stop by -- it’s one of the most beautifully restored movie theaters you will ever see.

I told both the organizers of the two shows, and the fans that because of their incredible kindness and support of the first two “trial screenings” that I would come back through both cities next year during (what I hope to be) the BIG 20TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR, during which I would like to bring the film to every MLB stadium in North America and as many AAA parks as time allows.

I can’t wait.  It’s gonna be a blast.

One last thing, special thanks to Ben and Marty at Werner Park, Patrick at SpeedPro Imaging, Ryan at Mail Marketing, Tulley's Kennel, Dave and Christine at Fox, Erin at P.F. Flyers, and the people and Sandlot Fans of Omaha and Kearney Nebraska!  And, of course, "Super Adventure GSD Maverick" the official K-9 Mascot of "The 20th Anniversary Sandlot Tour!"

Thanks for reading and check back soon.

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And if you’d like the Sandlot Tour to come through your town, drop me an email at DMESandlot@gmail.com.