Screen » Film

Coming of Age: The Sandlot Turns 20

"I was new to the neighborhood and I desperately wanted to be accepted by the other kids. And then one day, it happened."


It's really every kid's story--wanting to be liked or needing to fit in. But 7-year-old Scott Evans' story, like the stories of millions of American kids who grew up on a sandlot, is the one we all relate to. You see, Scott's sandlot was The Sandlot.

"It was the summer of 1972 and I was 7," Evans told Boise Weekly. "I was new to the neighborhood and I desperately wanted to be accepted by the other kids. And then one day, it happened."

That was the day a baseball sailed over an outfield fence and into no-boy's land.

"And that dog was over in a dusty yard, and that dog was mean and nasty," Evans remembered. "And with me being 7, he was gigantic. Nobody had ever gone into that yard. And there it was; the ball was inches from his nose."

For those who haven't seen The Sandlot--the coming-of-age comedy that regularly visits cable television and this year celebrates its 20th anniversary--the film will be back on the big screen at Boise Hawks Stadium Friday, June 21.

"What a thrill it will be on June 21," said Evans. "They're going to open up the infield and outfield at Boise Hawks Stadium, have all kinds of games and activities out there, and then people will be able to stretch out their blankets or bring lawn chairs and watch The Sandlot on a big screen."

The movie night at the ballpark, sponsored by the Boise Hawks, will also provide the 48-year-old Evans with a family reunion. His two grown sons live in Boise, as does his 7-year-old grandson, Scottie.

"And all of these events happened to me when I was about Scottie's age," said Evans.

The origins of The Sandlot go back to the 1970s, but it wasn't until 1991, when David Evans was visiting brother Scott, that the idea for The Sandlot was planted. They spent months talking about their childhood, which David turned into two screenplays--1992's Radio Flyer and 1993's The Sandlot, produced by 20th Century Fox.

"People always ask me if the events were real because they were so visceral," said Scott Evans, who is putting the finishing touches on his memoir, Pacoima Days. "Looking back, it was all about that decision to go over the fence. I so wanted to be liked by those kids."

One of those kids, nicknamed Yeah Yeah in the film, was portrayed by Marty York.

"Yeah Yeah had a ton of energy, and he had a stuttering problem so he began every sentence with, 'Yeah, yeah,'" York told Boise Weekly from his California home. "I remember when I auditioned--there must have been 1,000 kids up for the part. Just before my audition, my mom gave me two Hershey bars to bump up my sugar level, and the rest is history."

York, who said he still gets fan mail from all over the world, will join Evans at the screening in Boise.

"I wouldn't miss it," said York. "I recently got a letter from a soldier in Iraq. He said watching The Sandlot helped him laugh and remember how great it was to be a kid."

Evans said he lost count of how many times he has seen The Sandlot.

"But I have to say, I get goosebumps about this Boise thing," he said.