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TV & Film

Fear Strikes Out

Eric Gilde May 26, 2021

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 1957 film “Fear Strikes Out.” They introduce the film (1:26), with an overview of the story, cast, director and writer. They review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film (8:45), with autobiographical metaphors (appropriately). In Amount of Baseball (14:38), the scouts’ differing viewpoints on this tool yield different assessments, but they both agree that the movie is not extremely interested in the actual baseball action. Ellen has a 2020 player comp. However, in Baseball Accuracy (18:35), they start by considering the accuracy of the on-field play that we do see, particularly ball trajectories and one geographical issue. There are a few inside-the-park-home-run inaccuracies and one Pat Venditte situation. They discuss Piersall’s history of stolen bases (w/r/t Luis Aparicio and Maury Wills), Fenway Accuracy, Joe Cronin, Lou Boudreau, and the Sox outfield (Clyde Vollmer, Dom DiMaggio, Hoot Evers, Faye Throneberry and Ted Williams). With appreciation to Mark Armour’s SABR article, they discuss the nature of Jimmy’s outbursts and on-field antics in contrast to what is depicted in the film. Storytelling (32:48) brings up Ellen’s problem with many biopics, and Eric’s view of the melodrama. They discuss the storytelling around Jimmy’s illness and Mrs. Piersall’s illness, Mr. Piersall’s overbearing nature (as depicted), the camera work, Edith Head’s costumes, and the exposition. Boy howdy, the exposition. Is The Score (1:03:50) overbearing or not? Acting (1:21:39) compliments the ensemble, but our scouts canNOT shut up about how fantastic Anthony Perkins and Karl Malden are. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:20:19) and Delightfulness of Announcer (1:20:58) do not offer much. Lack of Misogyny (1:22:06) considers Jimmy Piersall in an apron. No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:24:22), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:22:49), Favorite Moment (1:29:20) Least Favorite Moment (1:33:25), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:34:49), Dreamiest Player (1:36:35), Favorite Performance (1:36:59) Review Thank You (1:42:30) and Next Time (1:43:09).


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