This year’s baseball season officially kicks off April 2, but excitement is already in the air. The sport, of course, is as synonymous with America as apple pie and July 4th.

The cracking of a baseball against a bat marks the impending summer season. Baseball teams carry with them a level of loyalty unmatched in other sports. Just look at the way fans flooded the streets when the Boston Red Sox broke their losing streak and won a World Series in 2004 — or the way nearly every New Yorker shows off his or her love for the Yankees, in and out of season.

April 2 brings more than just a new season of baseball. It’s a time of year when people can come together over the latest stats, the latest rivalries —and their possible shared love of the same team.

To get everyone in the right mood for this year’s MLB season, LifeZette has compiled a list of the five best baseball movies. Enjoy and get ready to play ball!

“The Sandlot” (1993) — “The Sandlot” should probably be required viewing for today’s youth. It offers a world devoid of cellphones, constant video game playing, and sedentary childhoods. These kids pick up a bat and a baseball and almost never leave each other’s sides.

A coming-of-age story set in 1962, “Sandlot” follows a kid who moves to a new town and makes friends with a group of children who find that baseball is the best way to pass the time under the sun. The movie is not just a love letter to the game — but a salute to what the sport can teach kids and give them to hold onto the rest of their lives.

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“Field of Dreams” (1989) — Whether one grows up as an athlete or not, a father passing a ball with his son can make for some great moments of bonding. For a father/son story that will pull at the heartstrings, “Field of Dreams” is always a safe bet.

In one of Kevin Costner’s star-making roles, a farmer hears a voice say, “If you build it, they will come.” Next thing you know, he’s built a baseball field and the Chicago White Sox show up to play. The catch is these players who show up have passed on — and belonged to the 1919 team. And one of them has a very special connection to Costner’s farmer.

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“People would come up … just randomly. I’ll be in a tire store or I’ll be camping with a three-day beard growth and I can’t imagine how people recognize me. I don’t even think my own mother would recognize me,” said “Field of Dreams” actor Dwier Brown to WBUR in 2015 about the effect of the movie on fans. “They would get very serious and sometimes they would say, ‘I haven’t spoken to my dad in 15 years, and when I saw that movie, I went and grabbed him and we watched the movie together and we were just able to let go of this long-standing animosity we had toward each other … I’ve got a relationship with my dad, thanks to you.'”

“Fever Pitch” (2005) — Before Jimmy Fallon took over “The Tonight Show,” he tried his hand at being a leading man in the movies. His strongest performance came from 2005’s “Fever Pitch,” better known as the most restrained movie to come from “Dumb and Dumber” directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly.

The film was a love story between a near-obsessive baseball fan and someone who knows nothing about the game (Drew Barrymore). The two work to find balance, and the film ends up being quite respectful to the nature of being a fan and the connection people can feel to a team.

“Fever Pitch” is a love letter to serious baseball fans and those who love those fans. Baseball lovers and those who barely know a fast ball from a curve can find plenty to enjoy here. An added bonus for baseball fans is that the ending was actually shot at the pivotal Red Sox 2004 game against the St. Louis Cardinals — at which they broke the famed “Curse of the Bambino.” The Red Sox won that World Series, the first time since 1918.

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“The Bad News Bears” (1976) — This is the sort of rough-around-the-edges family movie that isn’t made anymore. A remake starring Billy Bob Thornton was released in 2005 and it focused on all of the wrong things.

Sure, Morris Buttermaker (played by Walter Matthau in the original) drinks too much and isn’t the ideal baseball coach for a group of kids, but the remake lost the heart of the original.

Incredibly indicative of its time period, “Bad News Bears” is both a glimpse into the past and a look at the eternal lessons a sport like baseball can bring. Spoiler alert: These lessons aren’t always pretty — but they can help you grow nonetheless. “Bad News Bears” is hilarious, insightful, and a staple of the genre of baseball movies.

“Clerks” director Kevin Smith counts the movie as one of his favorites, once tweeting it was “absolute perfection.”

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“A League of Their Own” (1992) — This was preserved in the United States National Film Registry in 2012. It’s an empowering movie for females and female athletes that never needs the political preaching most movies would feel required to give today.

Starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, “A League of Their Own” is the fictional account of the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. It’s a movie that proves a love for the game doesn’t discriminate based on gender. It’s also a film that gives Hanks a chance to show off his sharp comedic skills. He delivered one of the most classic lines in all of baseball cinema:“There’s no crying in baseball!”

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