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TV & Film

Aunt Mary

Eric Gilde March 31, 2021


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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 1979 TV movie “Aunt Mary,” about Mary Dobkin, the first female little league coach in Baltimore. They introduce the film (1:27), with an overview of the story, cast, and director. They review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film (5:21), with an on-the-nose metaphor. Amount of Baseball (9:50) makes some borderline calls on baseball on the radio and stickball, and appreciates Cal Abrams in the footage. Eric may not appreciate Ellen’s player comp. Baseball Accuracy (15:22) references “Rookie of the Year” for the first practice, while Nicholas’s baseball skill is called into question: that’s a lot of choking up for a power hitter. The real Aunt Mary’s coaching timeline brings up a discussion about the level of integration in baseball in 1950-1955, with reference to Jehosie “Jay” Heard, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, the 1954 Dodgers and World Series teams. More background on Aunt Mary’s biography, and a dive into her baseball opinions, w/r/t bunting, Leo Durocher, slider grips, and the 1955 Orioles. An Ellen Adair Breakdown on her assertions about Gus Triandos and Eddie Waitkus. Pete Gray, Bob Turley, Clint Courtney, and the Orioles’ minor league team are also discussed. In Storytelling (44:10), our scouts admire the direction, pacing, and perspective on baseball, though they discuss when the exposition does and doesn’t work. The amputee joke and the lip-syncing kids definitely don’t work, but they do bring to mind screening rooms at MOMA. Everybody Wants to Get With Aunt Mary. Strasberg Is the Worst. Can we see the books of the ice cream guy? They also discuss the gradations of racists in the final game, its outcome, similarities to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” Mary’s rules, and Baltimore marble. The Score (1:15:14) balances some schmaltz with some fun choices. Acting (1:17:40) praises Jean Stapleton, but the scouts are mixed on Martin Balsam and Harold Gould. The young actors are sufficient. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:24:19) discusses Tony Rocco and Aunt Mary as a catcher. Delightfulness of Announcer (1:27:04) considers radio announcing. Lack of Misogyny (1:29:14) wonders if Strasberg gets sufficient comeuppance for his micro-aggressions. The kids’ attitudes, with Old Maid vs. Bachelor Girl, testing of Mary’s baseball knowledge, and the What Man Taught You About Baseball phenomenon, are also discussed. Dr. Hoxley is always an issue, but again: Everyone Wants to Get With Aunt Mary. No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:42:03), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:47:50), Favorite Moment (1:48:15) Least Favorite Moment (1:49:40), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:53:22), Dreamiest Player (1:56:07), Favorite Performance (1:56:57) Next Time (1:58:38) and Review Thank You (1:59:55).

 

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