Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Star of 'The Sandlot,' now Brandon pizzeria owner, still beams about role

BRANDON

More than 20 years had passed since Shane Obedzinski first stepped foot on the baseball field where he filmed the movie The Sandlot. • He turned 10 on the set, and had no concept of what a success the movie would become. But when the 31-year-old Brandon man returned to Salt Lake City this summer for the 20th anniversary of the kids' baseball film, it was as if nothing had changed. • "The field looked just like it did 20 years ago," Obedzinski said while sitting at a table at New York Times Square Pizza, the restaurant he co-owns in Brandon. "We knew we had made a cool movie, but we didn't know it would have this lasting power."

In honor of the 20th anniversary, Obedzinski took to the road with cast members and director, writer and narrator David Mickey Evans and made stops in Florida, Georgia, Texas, California and Utah.

"Utah for me and the other boys was the most personal one," said Obedzinski who played Tommy "Repeat" "The people there, they embrace the move unbelievably. It sounds crazy, but people were scalping tickets and camping out."

Though Obedzinski's acting career mostly tapered off after the film, he said he's often approached by fans, even decades later.

"When I got a phone call for the twentieth anniversary, going out there and seeing it again, it was definitely a jolt," Obedzinksi said. "But it never really left me."

Obedzinski's first gig was in a national Kool-Aid commercial when he was three years old. Several years later, he had a role alongside Macaulay Culkin in My Girl, before auditioning in Orlando at age 9 for The Sandlot.

"He had the curly hair and the freckles, and he would do voices and imitations of other people as he got a little older," his mom, Peggy Lawson, said. "I knew there was just something special about him."

Obedzinski returned to Brandon after filming the movie and graduated from Bloomingdale High School. He spent the next few years working at different restaurants and touring with a local band before meeting Charlie Jonathan, the other co-owner of New York Times Square Pizza.

Between the two of them, they have opened more than 30 different restaurants, Jonathan said. The two met working together at a pizzeria when Jonathan moved down from Philadelphia in 1999. After that, they tried their hand at a variety of different restaurants, including pizza places, catering companies, bars and a Beef 'O' Brady's, before settling into their groove at New York Times Square Pizza.

"I'm so proud of him. He is such a hard worker. I couldn't be more pleased about how my son has grown up and developed into a young man," Lawson said. "And I have free pizza for life."

Obedzinksi and Jonathan are planning on expanding within the next year, changing the store around to feature a bigger dinning room and also acquiring a beer and wine license. The new atmosphere, which Obedzinski equates to a Tijuana Flats sort of vibe, will also highlight chefs coming out in the crowd and tossing the dough in the air.

"Some of us are pretty talented at it," Jonathan said.

Over the years, Obedzinksi has begun to open up more about his role in the hit '90s films. He still gets fan mail and requests for autographs.

"He's very down to earth about it," Jonathan said. "Kids come in with the DVD now, before it was VHS, and he signs them. He'll sit and talk with every one of them."

In addition to expanding the pizzeria, Obedzinski said he'd also be interested in taking on a few new acting roles. If he had his pick of scripts, he would likely pick something in the fantasy or science-fiction genres.

"I'm short enough to be a hobbit, so I think they really missed out on that," Obedzinksi said. "But I'm open for anything."

Caitlin Johnston may be reached at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2443.

New York Times Square Pizza is located at 927 E Bloomingdale Ave.

Star of 'The Sandlot,' now Brandon pizzeria owner, still beams about role 11/27/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. Memorial for Snooty the manatee, postponed because of Irma, to be held Sunday

    Wildlife

    A public memorial to celebrate the life of 69-year-old Snooty the manatee will be held at the South Florida Museum on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

    Snooty , the world's most celebrated manatee, begs for another slice of apple in his pool in the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton in 2008. Snooty was 60 then. [Times 2008]
  3. Residents wade through a flooded road after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, September 22, 2017. Because of the heavy rains brought by Maria, thousands of people were evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam. [Associated Press]
  4. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  5. New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

    Locals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. [Associated Press]