In Major League 2, the inferior but still endearing (if you watched it on basic cable 4,600 times in the '90s) sequel to the hit 1989 comedy Major League, the hapless Cleveland Indians trade away their best player to save money. In return, they receive the goofiest, most outlandish, slapstick-iest player anyone can imagine: a guy from the Japanese baseball league.
His name is Hiroshi "Kamikaze" Tanaka, and he's a reckless screwball who earns his nickname by constantly crashing into walls and knocking himself unconscious. He also taunts fellow outfielder Pedro Cerrano for not having the spirit of a "warrior," and butchers some broken-English attempts to say he has no testicles.
Paramount PicturesWho says Hollywood doesn't have enough great roles for Asian actors?
One year later, in 1995, the real-life Los Angeles Dodgers signed Hideo Nomo, a pitcher from the Japanese league, who immediately went on to make the All-Star Team and won Rookie of the Year. This opened the door for the now-common trend of MLB teams signing Japanese pros, which has since yielded surefire Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, Yankees 2-time All-Star and '09 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, and current Angels' hitting and pitching phenom Shohei Ohtani, among others. Essentially, the dumbest thing the screenwriters of Major League 2 could dream up in 1994 became an incredibly forward-thinking trend that teams league-wide have since rushed to emulate.
But the strangely prescient predictions of Major League and Major League 2 don't stop there. (Sorry, we're not counting Major League: Back To The Minors, a movie so forgotten that you didn't know it existed until this parenthetical.) And they're not all for the better. The movies foresaw a whole host of sad, ominous trends that would eventually engulf America's national pastime. If only we'd known at the time ...
Charlie Sheen Took Steroids To Play A Fake Baseball Player
In a 2011 interview, Charlie Sheen revealed that he took steroids for "six to eight weeks" while filming the original Major League. He claims the drugs helped juice his fastball from 79 to 85 mph. While this may have just been a roundabout way of bragging that he could throw 85, he still risked testicular shrinkage to throw a ball unnoticeably faster in a goofy '80s comedy, which is some straight up DiCaprio Revenant-level "leak the anecdote to help your Oscar case" shit.
Paramount PicturesIt's also possible that Charlie Sheen just likes taking drugs and never misses an opportunity.
Now, if in 1989, Sheen knew to take steroids to play baseball better, and then easily acquired them and did instantly play better, surely everyone else who played (and covered) baseball would've known?
In 1998, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa drove a resurgence in baseball's popularity when they obliterated the single-season home run record, smacking the two highest home run totals in the hundred-year-plus history of the sport. The baseball press turned a blind eye to the swole, roided-out elephant in the locker room, then retroactively acted shocked when an Easter-Island-craniumed Barry Bonds re-broke the record with 73 homers at age 36. A subsequent doping scandal led to sport-wide hand-wringing, a strict overhaul of the league's drug policy (which didn't technically exist before 2005), and literal congressional hearings.