Texas Rangers

Rangers spotlight: For realism, Mr. Baseball throws a strike for Barnette

Rangers spotlight: Most realistic baseball film? Choice may surprise you

Rangers pitcher Tony Barnette, how played in Japan, says Mr. Baseball is the most realistic depiction of the game (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).
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Rangers pitcher Tony Barnette, how played in Japan, says Mr. Baseball is the most realistic depiction of the game (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

There’s a good reason why Mr. Baseball is Tony Barnette’s favorite baseball fan.

The 32-year-old right-handed reliever spent the past six seasons playing professionally in Japan before signing a two-year deal with the Rangers in December.

Tom Selleck stars as Jack Elliott, an aging big league star who’s forced to play in Japan. Barnette said the film captures the atmosphere and style of the game over there. It captures legitimate baseball better than most baseball films stateside, he said.

“It’s definitely outdated [it was released in 1992], but culturally and the language that’s being spoken and how they get on him for certain things ... to this day, same kind of stuff,” Barnette said. “From being in Japan and my experience with that, it kind of really hammers down pretty much what Japanese baseball is all about.”

Selleck’s slugger character rang true for Barnette, even though he’s a pitcher. Other films don’t quite capture the game accurately, he said.

For Love of the Game is a little cheesy,” he said. “You’re not going through all those emotions on the mound, you’re not thinking about ex-lovers and all that stuff. That’s not happening, that’s not real. But then again I’ve never pitched a perfect game in the big leagues so what do I know?”

Take a gander at Rangers right-hander Tony Barnette's delivery, which comes back to the U.S. with some Japanese flavor (video by Jeff Wilson).

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

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