Where Are They Now? – The SandlotPosted: July 2, 2013
Twenty years ago nine kids took to a makeshift diamond to tell a story about baseball and capture the essence of youth in 1962. Two decades later, the actors from The Sandlot have scattered professionally and geographically, but some remain close and all are connected by the same experience and the same iconic line: “You’re killing me Smalls!” SI writer Matt Gagne takes a look at what the actors who played the nine main characters have been up to since the movie came out – from acting and playing poker to saving lives and running a pizza shop.
Patrick Renna – Ham:
Known as the pudgy, freckled-faced kid who spoke the infamous line, “You’re killing me Smalls,” Patrick Renna discusses his post-Sandlot athletic success from mastering slow-pitch softball to earning a hole-in-one during a difficult shot at a California golf course last July. The 34-year-old Renna, who is married and lives in L.A., continues to pursue acting, but recollects his fondest memory from the Sandlot days when he and fellow co-star Chauncey Leopardi went crazy feasting on ice cream and ordering other room service items from a Ritz-Carlton during a publicity tour.
“We probably spent $5,000,” Renna says. “I think they forgot we were teenagers.” (PAGE 64)
Chauncey Leopardi – Squints:
With his memorable glasses covering most of his face and wide, toothy grin, Chauncey Leopardi, who played Squints in the movie, hasn’t forgotten the scene when he was lucky enough to be the one who kissed lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn. Leopardi claims his ear-to-ear smile seen in the movie wasn’t just acting. “That wasn’t Squints,” he says. “That was me. I still have that smile.” (PAGE 65)
His smile is not the only thing Leopardi, 32, still has. He was able to captivate a new kind of audience with his acting skills through a recent gig as a telemarketer in the Los Angeles area. “I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s just reading from a script, and I’ve been doing that my whole life.’” (PAGE 65) Acting also helped him survive as a successful professional poker player from 2009 to ’12 (he tells SI he lost nearly all of his earnings one night in Las Vegas last year). Leopardi currently works as a project manager at a friend’s air-filtration company and operates a property-management company with friends.
Mike Vitar – Benny the Jet:
From Sandlot hero to real-life hero, Mike Vitar, 34, is a 14-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Although his character Benny the Jet made it to the big leagues as a Los Angeles Dodgers player in the movie, Vitar has to settle for playing third base and occasionally catcher for his Los Angeles Fire Department’s baseball and softball teams.
“I’m just an average guy with a family,” says Vitar, who played in as many as three overlapping baseball leagues before he and his wife, Kym, had three kids. (PAGE 66)
Vitar had a chance to live out his movie character’s dream by playing a game for his men’s league’s championship at Dodger Stadium in 2004. Vitar tells SI he was initially reluctant to play Benny. Spotted by a casting agent while waiting in line for bumper cars at a carnival, Vitar was not interested in the agent’s offer, but Vitar’s brother Pablo (an L.A. police officer who died of colon cancer in 2008) convinced him otherwise. Vitar said his brother persuaded him to take the role, saying, “Hey, dummy, you can play baseball all summer long if you do this.” (PAGE 66)
Tom Guiry – Scotty Smalls:
Tom Guiry, 32, is probably the one who hears “You’re killing me, Smalls,” more than any of the other guys from the movie, which makes sense, considering Guiry played awkward new-kid-on-the-block Scotty Smalls. Guiry, who is now a patient transporter at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Jersey, still has 30 and 40-year-old somethings, who grew up with The Sandlot, run up to him and ask for his autograph and to speak the famous line – including one memorable incident with a patient he was transporting.
Although his days at the sandlot might be over, Guiry still pursues acting in the New York area, but his true passion is helping the patients he transports and works with at the hospital.
“I’m really polite to people, because when you’re sick it’s hard to be nice,” he says. “It’s always nice to put a smile on someone’s face. And if I can’t do it acting, maybe I can do it this way.” (PAGE 66)
Marty York – Yeah Yeah
Since his days playing the hyper-active kid who constantly said, “Yeah, yeah,” to everything – dubbing his name in the movie – Marty York, 32, has had somewhat of a troubled past since then. From a tragic car accident in 1997 that left him in a coma for a week to a jail sentence for domestic battery in 2009, York, who currently resides in Valencia, California, is working to get his life back together.
“I’m moving forward—trying to get away from all that.” (PAGE 67)
Grant Gelt – Bertram
From serving as the head of operations at Uprising Creative, an artistic agency in Los Angeles to traveling the world and managing the blues-rock band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Grant Gelt, 33, has come a long way from his Sandlot days. With tattoos from various places around the world covering his body, Gelt admits he has become tamer since his younger days.
“The 16-year-old punk-rock me would be so pissed at the grown-up me… All I want to do is golf.” (PAGE 67)
Looking back, Gelt’s 12-year-old ways might not be so happy with his grown-up self either. Some of Gelt’s fondest memories from filming the movie include pretending to puke during the infamous chewing tobacco scene and the old props used on set.
“Being 12 and getting to play with fake barf… Everything was great,” Gelt says. (PAGE 67)
Victor Dimattia – Timmy
Victor Dimattia, 32, moved from Delaware to San Francisco in 2004 with hopes to make it big with his punk rock band, but after a couple years, he decided to pursue the film program at the Academy of Art University to study directing and screenwriting. He also now works as a bartender in L.A. His role in the Sandlot, however, still gives him perks. Out recently with his co-star Marty York, he was allowed VIP access at a nightclub in L.A. because the bouncer recognized them from the movie.
Dimattia says,“This guy recites the entire thing off the top of his head and then says, ‘Get the f— in here, come on.’” (PAGE 67)
Shane Obedzinski – Repeat
Known for reciting the same words and phrases as his brother Timmy in the movie, “Repeat,” or Shane Obedzinski, 30, tried his hand at becoming a drummer for hard rock bands in his early 20s. Obedzinski eventually quit the music business and started opening and managing pizza chains. However, he,“got tired of doing it for rich people” (PAGE 67) so he and a friend decided to open their own chain in Braden, Florida and have owned and operated it ever since.
Obedzinski is at his shop seven days a week, but when he finds time off, he and his girlfriend enjoy using their year-long passes at Disney theme parks.
Obedzinski’s surprised reaction to co-star Leopardi kissing the life guard was singled out in the movie, yet to this day, still doesn’t know why.
“I don’t know why my face was singled out in the movie,” he says, “but it was a legit reaction.” (PAGE 67)
Brandon Quintin Adams – Kenny
Although he has made appearances on other well-known TV shows and movies (The Mighty Ducks movies, The Fresh Prince of Bell-air, Moesha), Brandon Quintin Adams, 33, is most known for his role as the young pitcher of the Sandlot who declares, “Here comes my heater” (PAGE 67). Adams stays busy these days by acting, writing, directing and rapping in the L.A. area and spends time with 7-year-old daughter on the side. “I’m nonstop, always trying to find somewhere new to spark my mind.” (PAGE 67)
In 2002, his life was forever changed when his best friend and fellow actor Merlin Santana was shot dead at 26. Adams says, “I’m adamant about not being fearful, not wasting time.” (PAGE 67)
“Do what makes you happy. Not for money, not for fame, but for yourself.” (PAGE 67)