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TV & Film


Ellen Adair July 6, 2022

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 2001 film “61*.” They introduce the film (1:10), with an overview of the story, the cast, and filmmakers, and review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film, with a new metaphor (5:51). In Amount of Baseball (14:41), they discuss the use of actual Mark McGwire footage, the strength of this tool throughout, and the impact of the authenticity. There is a player comp. Baseball Accuracy (20:39) starts off with discussion of Billy Crystal as Mantle’s friend and “Rain Man” on set, and then delves into the history, talking about Ford Frick, Fay Vincent, and the asterisk itself, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth plate appearances, Maris and Mantle’s relationship with the press, Pascual or Ramos, the imbalanced AL/NL in 1961, Babe Ruth breaking Ned Williamson’s record, Maris trade rumors, Mantle running to first in three seconds, Joe DiMaggio Jerk-o-meter, Moose Skowron, Elston Howard, Billy Martin escapades, Maris signing an X on a ball, Rogers Hornsby, Casey Stengel and Mantle, the slick nickname, Mantle’s arm injury, Hoyt Wilhelm and Tom Candiotti. Storytelling (54:16) considers everything added by the inclusion of the McGwire framing device, the function of Claire Ruth and Pat Maris in the story, the opening day scene, and the handling of exposition. There are a few small instances of Shakespearing. The scouts discuss the nuanced depiction of male friendship, the character of the media, the character of Bob Cerv, and the cinematography and lighting. The Score Tool (1:24:53) discusses the main theme, the volume of the score, and songs by The Ventures, Bobby Darin, and the Shirelles. Why TF is there a Lyle Lovett song? Acting (1:31:20) pretty much worships Barry Pepper, Thomas Jane, Bruce McGill, Michael Nouri, Richard Masur, Peter Jacobson, Seymour Cassel, Chris Bauer, Anthony Michael Hall, Christopher McDonald and Joe Grifasi, plus the rest of the ensemble. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:51:17) considers 17% of Yogi Berra and not enough Elston Howard. Delightfulness of Announcer (1:52:44) revels in both the accuracy and the high delight of the depictions of Phil Rizzuto, with all of his Rizzuto catchphrases and digressions, and Mel Allen trying to reign him in. Ellen has a (Rizzuto-esque?) digression into a comparison with “Eight Men Out.” In Lack of Misogyny (1:59:51), they discuss Mantle’s womanizing, and how it’s tempered with Maris’s point of view, consideration of Pat’s perspective, and the existence of female fans. No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (2:04:31), Six Degrees of Baseball (2:07:28), Favorite Moment (2:08:09) Least Favorite Moment (2:11:04), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (2:12:52), Dreamiest Player (2:15:49), Favorite Performance (2:16:30), and Next Time (2:19:05).


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