Every franchise has its pop culture moments, whether it’s George dragging the Commissioner’s Trophy around Yankee Stadium in Seinfeld, the family from the movie Parenthood going to a Cardinals game or Magnum, P.I. wearing a Tigers hat. Some teams are ubiquitous in pop culture, like the Yankees, and some teams have to remind Hollywood they exist. But every team gets at least one moment in the sun.
With that in mind, we take a look at each team’s biggest pop culture moment, whether it’s movies, television or a song. Some of these are easier to find than others. But when you see your team show up, you can’t help but perk up a bit. That’s your team -- on the big screen.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays -- Friends: Yes, Chandler Bing was a Blue Jays fan. Whenever you’d see Chandler’s office, a Blue Jays hat was prominently displayed. (This is probably because Matthew Perry is Canadian, but the ’90s were a great decade for the Blue Jays.)
Orioles -- Veep: Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer threw out the first pitch of an Orioles game, and a bunch of the players posed with her and, awkwardly, said “Orioles.” (And Louis-Dreyfus also played an Orioles fan on Seinfeld, where she got in trouble for wearing an O's cap in comped seats.)
Rays -- The Rookie: The heartwarming story of Jim Morris ended with him making his debut in a Rays uniform, and it’s the big climactic moment of this stirring movie.
Red Sox -- Good Will Hunting: Lots to choose from here, including that heist scene at Fenway Park in The Town, but a whole generation knows Carlton Fisk waving the ball fair from watching Robin Williams and Matt Damon.
Yankees -- Pride of the Yankees: You can also choose Jay-Z rapping about his Yankees hat. You really can’t go wrong with any Yankees choice.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Guardians -- Major League: Perhaps the most ubiquitous team-brand placement in the history of baseball. You still see VAUGHN jerseys every time you go to Cleveland.
Royals -- Better Call Saul: Every time Rhea Seehorn’s Kim Wexler relaxes, she’s wearing an oversized Royals shirt, leading to suspicions that she and Jimmy McGill will end up together in Omaha, sneaking off to Royals games.
Tigers -- For the Love of the Game: Kevin Costner’s one final perfect game drama edges out Tiger Town, but still, this is all about Magnum’s hat.
Twins -- Little Big League: This is a dead-serious, deeply realistic look at what would happen if a 12-year-old owned a baseball team. Plus, it has Leon Durham as a Twin.
White Sox -- Eight Men Out: Maybe not the proudest moment in White Sox history, but certainly the most cinematic.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels -- Angels in the Outfield: This one is the remake with Christopher Lloyd, Tony Danza and Danny Glover. Also, two future Oscar winners play Angels players in this: Adrien Brody and Matthew McConaughey.
Astros -- Boyhood: There’s also a terrible thriller from the ‘80s called Night Game in which a serial killer is somehow involved with the Astros, and while they are wearing the vintage uniforms in the movie, we’ll go with the Oscar winner in which Ethan Hawke takes his kids to Minute Maid Park. (You get to see Roger Clemens pitch.)
Athletics -- Moneyball: Billy Beane gets to walk around the rest of his life knowing that Brad Pitt played him in the movie.
Mariners -- The Naked Gun: The Mariners are of course playing the Angels in the great baseball scene, maybe the funniest baseball scene in the history of movies. Enrico! Pallazzo!
Rangers -- Walker, Texas Ranger: All right, so it’s actually super hard to find a Rangers pop culture reference. We hope Chuck Norris will suffice in a pinch.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves -- The Slugger’s Wife: This Neil Simon comedy-drama has Rebecca deMornay and those old ‘80s Braves uniforms.
Marlins -- The Scott Stapp song: This is a reminder that Scott Stapp once wrote a song called “Marlins Will Soar.” Sorry, Marlins fans.
Mets -- Keith Hernandez and the Second Spitter on Seinfeld: We had to limit ourselves to one “Seinfeld” moment, and I think we can all agree this is the correct one.
Nationals -- How Do You Know: Owen Wilson’s leg of this James L. Brooks romantic triangle is actually a player for the Nationals. (This is also Jack Nicholson’s last movie.)
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers -- Mr. 3000: This Bernie Mac comedy about a player coming out of retirement to get his 3,000th hit was filmed at American Family Field and has so, so much Brewers stuff.
Cardinals -- The Pride of St. Louis: This was the story of Dizzy Dean, written by the same man who wrote Pride of the Yankees, but it didn’t quite catch on as much nationally.
Cubs -- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Rookie of the Year is of course another good answer here, but when you think of playing hooky and going to Wrigley Field for a day game, this is the movie you think of.
Pirates -- Angels in the Outfield: The Pirates are the team in the original 1951 movie, with Janet Leigh, nine years before Psycho.
Reds -- Rain Man: We could go with Hustle here, but no one has ever looked less like Pete Rose than Tom Sizemore. Instead, we’ll remind you how Raymond Babbitt is obsessed with the Reds and baseball statistics.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs -- The Jersey: It is near-impossible to find a D-backs moment for this list, so we came up with Randy Johnson’s cameo appearance on an old Disney Channel sitcom about a magical jersey.
Dodgers -- 42: The Sandlot would also have been acceptable, as well as all the Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes that feature Dodger Stadium.
Giants -- San Andreas: The climax of this film features The Rock driving a motorboat through a sunken Oracle Park.
Padres -- The Kid From Left Field: If you’re too young to remember, this is a wacky comedy in which Gary Coleman manages for the Padres. Ed McMahon is in it.
Rockies -- The Fan: The Rockies haven’t had many movies, but they are the “other” team in this thriller with Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes.