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TV & Film

Angels in the Outfield (1994)

Ellen Adair November 24, 2021

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 1994 version of “Angels in the Outfield.” They introduce the film (0:56), with an overview of the story, cast, and filmmakers, and review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film (8:30). Amount of Baseball (17:28) appreciates the variety and the strong finish, with a couple of possible player comps. Baseball Accuracy (20:45) delves in on various issues with Mel Clark’s last-minute activation, and the film’s pitcher use in general. Bass gets no respect. Real-life baseball dives into consecutive shutouts (w/r/t Cliff Lee, Orel Hershheiser and Don Drysdale) and the record of the Cincinnati Reds. Knox’s MVP award raises some questions, as does Mel’s pitch count in the final game, leading to discussion of Tim Wakefield, Leon Cadore, Joe Oescher, Nolan Ryan, Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer. The Angels’ losing streak brings up the 1889 Louisville Colonels, the 1961 Phillies, and the 2021 Orioles. There are also some issues with Hemmerling’s “home run” and Ben Williams’ outfield positioning. Eric dives in on Gene Autry, while Ellen considers precedent for chucking the ball into the stands (Dave Righetti, Rob Dibble, David Wells, Byung-Hyun Kim, Carlos Zambrano, Fernando Rodney, Chris Perez, and Jeremy Guthrie) and broken-bat homers (Jack Howell, Bill Haselman, Glenallen Hill, Damian Jackson, Barry Bonds, Mark Teixeira, Justin Upton, Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz, Joey Gallo, Yandy Diaz, and Bryce Harper). What’s with the Blue Jays erasure, White Sox? Angels in outfield, yes, kids in the dugout, no. Plus, what percentage of pitches would an angel need to help a pitcher with for an effective start? Storytelling (52:51) takes on this central premise of angels as cheats. What is the angels’ motivation? There are many issues with the angels’ rules, as set out, including, but not limited to, God picking a side, with a line-reading from Shakespeare’s “Henry V.” Some moments are overly goofy (angels love crotch shots!). What is up with deciding not to believe in angels in act four? And the court timing? And the sandlot game? And people in this Christian-dominated country freaking out about seeing angels? Trusting your defense might be the real miracle. The Score (1:21:09) does its job, plus “The Hippy Hippy Shake” and Curtis Mayfield. Acting (1:23:03) praises this ensemble (including four Oscar winners) put together by Pam Dixon, specifically enjoying Neal McDonough, Ben Johnson, Milton Davis Jr., Joseph Gordon Levitt, Danny Glover, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Brenda Fricker, Jay O. Sanders, and Diane Amos. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:31:34) considers Triscuitt Messmer and a bonus catcher, while Delightfulness of Announcer (1:34:41) weighs Jay O. Sanders’ performance vs. Ranch’s inaccuracies and antagonism. Lack of Misogyny (1:40:28) considers how embarrassed this film should be that the 1951 film was infinitely better, regards this tool. Lack of female roles–even for angels! No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:44:30), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:46:01), Favorite Moment (1:47:00) Least Favorite Moment (1:49:17), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:50:05), Dreamiest Player (1:53:04), Favorite Performance (1:54:42) and Next Time (1:57:03).


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