Director: David S. Ward
Writer: David S. Ward
Cinematography: Reynaldo Villalobos
by Jon Cvack
I think the major issue with this film is that it both sounds and is marketed to look like a slapstick comedy in the vein of Spy Hard or Police Academy, especially with Wild Thing’s (Charlie Sheen) jagged hair cut and the antics of a last place team who’re failing to hit, catch, or accomplish any simple task of baseball. Yet it’s actually a decent comedy-drama, balancing an underdog story with that of a freshly widowed and newly crowned Cleveland Indian owner Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton) who hopes to maintain the Indian’s long losing record, hoping for them to reach third place, which would put them in a better sales position, where hopefully they’ll get picked up by Miami and provide her with a heavy payout.
I’ve been reading a lot about baseball lately, and the more I explain what I’ve learned to people, the more I realize how much I don’t know about the game, which makes me read more, which leads me to discover I know even less than before (this is currently occurring after having finished George Will’s “Men at Work”, which is an incredible - and at times dense - breakdown of the game and its recent history). One thing I now understand is that being into baseball requires the same kind of mind as any connoisseur - whether art, films, literature, wine, whatever. Because even supreme talent is still batting below .400, there’s a determination to compare and contrast who was the very best, which extends beyond individual players and into the individual players' extensive stats. Pull up the stat acronyms for a pitcher and discover figures beyond your imagining. Every single accomplishment, error, or impact on the game is measured, quantified, and used to try and put together the best teams possible. As Moneyball demonstrated, each player has a position within that spectrum, balanced between how much they prevent runs and how many they gain.
It is here where it gets interesting, as I truly believe that anyone with a fascination in role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons or Warhammer - who might resent baseball, observing it as a stupid boring sport; something that the “bros” watch - would actually enjoy the game if they understood it. Baseball is a battle and the players are soldiers - each with the most detailed grade of skills possible to score and prevent as much as possible. The same goes for the flip side, with Sabermetric and Stat Geeks who might have no interest in either physical or video game RPGs, but might develop an interest when learning about the statistical strategy. Nevertheless, I would argue that it’s more impressive deal that the RPG gamers don’t like baseball, as it’s a live example of what they love to imagine. If D&D battles came to life, people would want to watch them. This is what baseball is providing, but with less fantastical elements (though that’s also debatable given the fantasy league). At the end of the day it’s all up to chance - whether the role of the dice, or the unknown unknowns of the professional game.
Continued with Part 2...
BELOW: Put some snot on that spitball
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Thoughts on films, old and new
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