Mo' Better Blues is a 1990 drama film starring Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, and Spike Lee, who also directed.
The first reference is in the film’s first scene. It is 1969, and four boys with baseball gear are outside a Brooklyn brownstone imploring their pal Bleek to join them. At the insistence of his mother, Bleek declines as he is busy practicing the trumpet. His father, meanwhile, is watching the Mets on TV. The image is black-and-white. Rod Gaspar, #17, is at the plate for the New Yorkers, who are battling the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea. Bob Moose is on the mound for the Bucs. The date is September 20, and Moose is in the process of tossing a no-hitter.
Bleek (now played by Denzel Washington) has grown up to be a jazz trumpeter. Giant, his manager (played by Lee), has a gambling issue and is placing bets on games. The Mets and Pirates are meeting in a double header. “Gimme the Pirates in both games,” Giant says. “The Mets need some more black ballplayers.” Giant is no less cynical about the Yankees. “In the American League,” he adds, “gimme the Yankees over the Tigers — even though Steinbrenner needs to go.”