Tony Soprano and Baseball

James Gandofini signed baseball

James Gandolfini autographed baseball

With the recent passing of James Gandolfini, best known for his role as Tony Soprano, it had myself and I’m sure millions of others reminiscing their favorite Tony Sopranos moments. The Soprano’s are one of those shows that will forever be immortalized in TV lore, large part due to Gandolfini’s work. He portrayed a character that should not have bene liked, but for whatever reason, became one of the most loved characters in television history.

 There are many classics moments that will live forever from this show, but for the relevancy of this blog, I will stick to baseball references. Most notably is the connection between Tony and his Uncle Junior from his childhood days. We learn that Junior taught Tony how to play baseball as a kid and would take him to Yankee games. Tony played left field growing up and his Uncle always made sure to remind him of his lack of success in the sport as he got older. It was an ongoing gag throughout the series that Junior would take jabs at him for “never being a varsity Letterman”.

Those moments led to some classic Tony blow ups and brought out the strain that existed in their relationship. Baseball seemed to sum up their relationship perfectly, Tony’s affection grew for his Uncle for teaching him the game, but as they got older whenever things got rocky between the two, Uncle Junior would resort right back to that soft spot to get under his skin.

There are very few moments where we learn where the main characters allegiances lie, but you get a good feeling that both Tony and Junior are Mets fans as the show goes on. Some supporting characters were more vocal about the teams they supported however.

  •  Vito, who is one of Tony’s captains, is very open about his allegiance to the Yankees and is multiple scenes discussing the Bronx Bombers. Most notably in his scenes with Meadow’s ex-bf Finn, when he discusses the Yankees 1998 sweep of the Padres and invites him out to a game.
  • Christopher, Tony’s “nephew” can be seen wearing a Yankee cap quite often in the early season’s.
  • Svetlana, who was hired to care to Tony’s mother, has a fiancé named Bill who works for the Mets. There are several moments where she discusses him being away with the team or down in Port St. Lucie for Spring Training with the club. There is a famous scene when Tony grows a strong affection for her and break an awkward moment during a conversation with “How about those Mets?”
  • Agent Harris, who spends most of the early season’s attempting to imprison Tony, but later forms a bit of friendship as he switches over to counter-terrorism, has brief talks about the Mets with Tony while eating at Satrioles.
  • Jason Barone, whose father was in charge of the waste management company that Tony used as his “office” so he could have some legal income on the books, was a Mets fan. Tony reminds him of this as he remind hi m “I used to take you to see Dave Kingman and Mookie Wilson at Shea”
  • When Johnny Sack is debating on making a move up the ladder in NY, he calls Tony for a private one-on-one meeting in the Shea Stadium parking lot

These are a mix of my favorite quotes:

Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano:  [to Tony] You may run North Jersey but you don’t run your Uncle Junior! How many fuckin’ hours did I spend playing catch with you?”

This one is my personal favorite…

Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano:   I always thought you could make the pros. You could have done it. You had a swing like Joe D.

Tony Soprano:   You’re crazy.

Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano:   What? You think I’m fucking you?

Tony Soprano:   Yeah, I could barely hit .250.

Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano:   That’s because you didn’t want it. Too busy chasing skirt. Chasing skirt, your average was .500.”

When deciding if he should “whack” his nephew or not…

Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano:   Anthony wants to play games. OK. I taught him games. I taught him how to play baseball.”

These are some classic video’s regarding the confrontations between Vito and Finn…

The first is when Finn accidentally discovers that Vito is gay and the first confrontation since the awkward run in

The second is when Finn first meets “the crew” and the 1998 world series is discussed. Notice the look on Benny’s face when he asks “What are you a Mets fan?”

RIP James Gandolfini, you left us something that will live forever in Tony Soprano.


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