This heartwarming, wholesome family fare was originally conceived by the late Christopher Reeve (SUPERMAN), and reflects a theme of perseverance against all odds from which the whole family can learn. Set in Depression-era New York, the film follows 10-year-old baseball fan Yankee Irving (voiced by Jake T. Austin), who is more adept at remembering stats than he is at playing the game. Despondent over his sandlot misfires, Yankee is cheered when he makes the acquaintance of a baseball named Screwie (voiced by Rob Reiner) who can actually talk. Later, Yankee visits his dad at the Yankee Stadium, where he is allowed to visit Babe Ruth's famous bat, Darlin' (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg). The bat soon goes missing, Dad loses his job, and Yankee takes off for Chicago with a notion to deliver the bat to Babe. Along the way, he makes numerous friends, including a trio of down-and-out bums who take him under their wing, and a little girl with a mean pitch. The scene with the Detroit Tigers, where the team gives Yankee baseball pointers en route to Chicago, is the film's most charming, while the bumbling bad guy, Lefty Maginnis (voiced by William H. Macy), provides an abundance of slapstick humor. Despite the dubiousness of Babe Ruth's appeal to contemporary youngsters, the story works by concerning itself more with family values, friendship, perseverance, and good clean fun, than with baseball per se. The standout cast also includes Brian Dennehy as the Babe, and Forest Whitaker as the Tigers player Yankee befriends. The soundtrack features original music by Brooks & Dunn, Wyclef Jean, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
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