'Sandlot' baseball returns to Salt Lake City

Published: Saturday, July 20 2013 7:31 p.m. MDT

“We wanted to do something that would be positive, and that’s what this is today,” Ingleby said, adding that Glendale has received a lot of bad press over the years because of incidents like drive-by shootings and other criminal activity.

On Saturday, Devin Barkers was busy making final preparations for “The Sandlot” festivities. He was sweeping and cleaning up the only major access to the field — the driveway of his recently purchased home.

“It’s cool, but it’s definitely stressful,” he said.

More than 1,300 people were expected at the showing of the film. One of Barkers’ co-workers stopped by the house and opined: “I don’t always buy a house, but when I do I make sure it’s an old movie set.”

All joking aside, however, there was something special about it.

“While we were making the film, all of the elements kept clicking and coming together,” said Evans, who explained that "the right actors were delivering lines the right way, pieces of the film were getting done and schedules were kept; and the kids were being funny and the crew was laughing.”

It all worked out. The film drew a standing ovation at its first screening and went on to gross approximately $40 million despite an April release and limited promotion. Consistent video and DVD sales followed, indicating growing popularity and staying power.

“People of all ages love the movie,” said Marty York, who played the role of “Yeah-Yeah” in the film. “They pass it on to their kids.”

York was one of six cast members in Utah for this weekend’s celebration. The others included Patrick Renna (“Ham”), Victor Dimmattia (“Timmy”), Shane Obedzinski (“Repeat”), Daniel Zacapa (“police chief”) and Chauncey Leopardi (“Squints”).

“Coming back to Utah is awesome. I haven’t been here in 20 years. The last time I stepped in this state I was filming ‘The Sandlot,’ ” York said. “I do remember the heat. It is very hot here. But, yeah, it’s just cool to be here back in Utah.”

The cast participated in ceremonies both nights — Friday at Spring Mobile Ballpark and Saturday at the old movie set.

“It’s been awesome coming back here. It’s a great city,” said Renna, who also filmed a 1997 movie “Address Unknown” in Salt Lake City. “I have a lot of good memories of Utah.”

Having a prominent role in “The Sandlot,” though, has proven to be especially rewarding for the 34-year-old.

“It’s very cool. It’s an honor to be part of,” Renna said. “I think it’s an actor and filmmaker’s dream to be in a movie like this. So it’s great.”

As for the film’s lasting impact on fans, Renna isn’t sure such things can be predicted — perhaps not even “Hamilton Porter” could call his shot on this one.

“I don’t think that you know that it’s going to be that important to people and that much a part of everyone’s life,” Renna said. “When we were doing it we knew that it wasn’t awful. But I don’t think that you could ever dream — from any movie — that it’s going to turn out like this. You don’t go in having those expectations.”

The movie has proven to be so popular that it is being showcased on a national tour to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

“It has been a remarkable summer — if not one of the best summers of my life,” Evans said.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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