The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training

The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training is a 1977 American sports comedy-drama film and a sequel to the feature film The Bad News Bears.[1] Chris Barnes returns to his role as the foul-mouthed Tanner Boyle; also starring is Jimmy Baio as pitcher Carmen Ronzonni.

The Bad News Bears
in Breaking Training
The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training DVD cover
Directed byMichael Pressman
Produced byLeonard Goldberg
Fred T. Gallo (associate producer)
Written byPaul Brickman
StarringWilliam Devane
Clifton James
Jackie Earle Haley
Music byCraig Safan
CinematographyFred J. Koenekamp
Edited byJohn W. Wheeler
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
July 8, 1977
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States

This film picks up the Bears' career a year after their infamous second-place finish in the North Valley League. However, after winning this year, they are left reeling by the departure of Buttermaker as their coach, Amanda as their pitcher and an injury to goat-turned-hero Timmy Lupus (Quinn Smith). Faced with a chance to play the Houston Toros for a shot at the Japanese champs, they devise a way to get to Houston to play at the famed Astrodome, between games of a Major League Baseball doubleheader. In the process, Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley) reunites with his estranged father (William Devane), who is ultimately recruited to coach them. The Bears, as a whole, have trouble with fielding during practice, but soon become more cohesive and athletic under Coach Leak's guidance.

This film is remembered for the scene in which Astros player Bob Watson first says, "Let the kids play." Coach Leak then leads the Astrodome crowd in the chant "Let them play!" when the umpires attempt to call the game prematurely because of time constraints. The crowd at the 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game also used this chant when the announcement came that the game would end in a tie at the end of the inning if neither team scored.[2]


Main cast

  • William Devane as Mike Leak, Coach of the Bears: Kelly's estranged father, whom he looks up in Houston. He's a good natured, blue-collar working man who agrees to coach the team.
  • Jackie Earle Haley as Kelly Leak, Local troublemaker who has matured since the first film. The Bears' leader (and presumably, the oldest) he drives the van that brings the team to Houston. The team's strongest hitter, he plays left field. Wears the number 3.
  • Clifton James as Sy Orlansky, Local businessman and beer company owner who is sponsoring and promoting the game between the Bears and the local favorite, Houston Toros.
  • Chris Barnes as Tanner Boyle, Short-tempered shortstop with a Napoleon complex who continually challenges authority. Refuses to leave the field in Houston after the game was called. Close friends with Timmy Lupus, who could not make the trip. Wears the number 12.
  • Erin Blunt as Ahmad Abdul-Rahim, A Black Muslim who plays center field. Spends most of the movie worrying about whether or not the team is going to go to "The Joint." Idolizes Hank Aaron and wears number 44 in his honor.
  • Jeffrey Louis Starr as Mike Engelberg, An overweight, out-of-shape boy who plays catcher and has developed into a good hitter. He loves chocolate and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Wears the number 15.
  • Jimmy Baio as Carmen Ronzonni, Flashy starting pitcher from back east (presumably New York) who is more talk than action. Brought to the team by friend Kelly Leak in the hopes of revitalizing the team. With the help of Coach Leak, he finds his own style and shows improvement throughout the film. Wears the number 11.
  • Alfred W. Lutter as Alfred Ogilvie, A bookworm who memorizes baseball statistics and acts as the team's scout. He gets information on the team's Houston rival, The Toros, from two girls who know the team. He's mostly a benchwarmer who assists the coach with defensive strategy. A backup outfielder/first baseman. Wears the number 9.
  • David Stambaugh as Toby Whitewood, An unassuming, intelligent boy who plays first base. Because of this, he is able to pull off the hidden ball trick in the final game. Wears the number 2.
  • Jaime Escobedo as Jose Agilar, Miguel's brother; plays right field. Speaks English. Wears the number 6.
  • George Gonzales as Miguel Agilar, Jose's brother; plays second base. Nicknamed "Handsome" by Coach Leak. Speaks no English. Wears the number 7.
  • Brett Marx as Jimmy Feldman, Fairly quiet third baseman with curly blond hair. During his at-bat, the opposing team's catcher says, "You got one of the Marx Brothers up here" (An inside joke, as Brett Marx is a grandson of Milton "Gummo" Marx and a great-nephew to the other Marx Brothers). Wears the number 8.
  • David Pollock as Rudi Stein, Nervous relief pitcher and backup outfielder. Wears glasses, he's mostly a benchwarmer. A running joke is that he's always hit by a pitch whenever at bat. Wears the number 10.
  • Quinn Smith as Timmy Lupus, A shy, bedridden outfielder for the team who broke his leg while skateboarding and only appears early on in the film. Thus, he cannot join the team on their trip to Houston. Good friends with Tanner Boyle, who carries the mantra "let's win one for the Looper" during the team's journey.

Supporting cast

Filming locations

The scene where the cops roll by the van driven by Kelly was shot on Balboa Blvd in Granada Hills, California.

When the team arrives in downtown Houston, they book a room at the Concord Hotel. The building is actually the Lancaster Hotel, located off Texas Avenue across from Jones Hall.

The scene where Kelly meets with his father for the first time was filmed at the Texas Pipe Bending Company, a real business located at 2500 Galveston Road. (The Park Memorial Church can be seen across the street.)

Later in the movie, the Bears stay at the Houston Hilton; the actual hotel is located at 6633 Travis Street in Houston, but the filming location was the Pasadena Hilton in Pasadena, California.

The scene where Coach Leak confronts Sy Orlansky about playing the Bears instead of the team from El Paso was filmed at Bayland Park. The Toros practice scenes were filmed on the Sharpstown Little League fields, with extras including girls from area middle schools.


Members of the 1976–1977 Houston Astros make a cameo appearance during the film's climactic scene. They include Bill Virdon, César Cedeño, Enos Cabell, Ken Forsch, Bob Watson and J.R. Richard.


Unlike its predecessor, The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 50% rating based on 8 reviews, with an average score of 6/10.[3]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it "a manufactured comedy of a slick order, depending almost entirely for its effects on the sight and sound of a bunch of kids behaving as if they were small adults. It's a formula that worked for Our Gang Comedy for many years, and works again here with a bright screenplay by Paul Brickman, based on Bill Lancaster's original characters, and direction of intelligent lightness by Michael Pressman."[4] Arthur D. Murphy of Variety called it "a pale but adequately summer-commercial sequel to the extremely successful 'Bad News Bears' Paramount hit of last year. Leonard Goldberg's production has a made-for-tv look (it even seems already pre-cut for the tube), a fair Paul Brickman script and passable direction by Michael Pressman."[5] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, finding the climactic game "enjoyable" but that the film otherwise "tries too hard" in its attempts at "heart-tugging emotion."[6] Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times called it "a poorly plotted, indifferently directed, noisily overacted movie" that nevertheless "will probably do well" on the strength of the original.[7] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote that the film "struggles to justify itself as something more than a pale copy [of the original] by resorting to exaggerated displays of ribaldry and lovability."[8] Maureen Orth wrote in Newsweek, "When the boys who play the Bears are on screen, which is often, their natural high spirits and spontaneity do much to enliven the tired script and soft direction. Kids will still find watching them vacation-time fun. But in the end, the 'Bad News Bears' without Matthau, O'Neal and Ritchie is like the Mets without Tom Seaver - deep in the doldrums."[9] John Simon wrote 'The film is overwhelmingly uninteresting' and 'Enough lousy films like this, and we could unite all warring factions. Shucks'.[10]

Soft Skull Press published a book about The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training as part of their Deep Focus series.[11] It was authored by Josh Wilker.


  1. Canby, Vincent (August 20, 1977). "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977) 'Bad News Bears' Make Comeback In an Effort to Go On to Japan". The New York Times.
  2. Rogers, Phil. "July 9, 2002: All-Star Game ends in 7-7 tie". July 9, 2002. Chicago Tribune.
  3. "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  4. Canby, Vincent (August 20, 1977). "'Bad News Bears' Make Comeback In an Effort to Go On to Japan". The New York Times. 13.
  5. Murphy, Arthur D. (July 27, 1977). "The Bad News Bears In Breaking Training". Variety. 23.
  6. Siskel, Gene (August 4, 1977). "The game is good news in 'Bears'". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 6.
  7. Champlin, Charles (July 29, 1977). "'Bears' No. 2—Sandlot Stuff". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 9.
  8. Arnold, Gary (August 4, 1977). "'Breaking Training: The Latest News From the Bad News Bears". The Washington Post. B11.
  9. Orth, Maureen (August 8, 1977). "Tame Bears". Newsweek. 77.
  10. Simon, John (1982). Reverse Angle A Decade of American films. Crown Publishers Inc. p. 338.
  11. "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training by". November 6, 2015.
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