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TV & Film

For Love of the Game

Ellen Adair February 17, 2021

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 1999 film, “For Love of the Game,” grading it on the 20-80 scouting scale. They introduce the film (1:19), with an overview of the story, cast, and director, and a PG-13 discussion of Kevin Costner nudity, w/r/t both this film and “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” They review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film (9:05) and aim to make some personal discoveries at the same time. Amount of Baseball (13:31) considers the tragedy of ratio stat vs. counting stat for this film, with some of the best major league fictional baseball competing with its overall runtime. The turkey question montage rears its ugly head this early in the podcast, plus, a player comp. Baseball Accuracy (20:20) starts off auspiciously with discussion of Brandon McCarthy’s seal of approval, Costner’s athleticism and the attention to detail. An Ellen Adair Breakdown considers Billy Chapel’s strikeouts, with reference to both other perfect games pitched by Dennis Martinez, Addie Joss, Sandy Koufax and Matt Cain, and Chapel’s provided stat line with Juan Guzman and Jack Morris. How Am I Supposed to Feed My Family with This? I’ve Got Another Pitcher That I Researched a Lot. They discuss the 10-and-5 rights, Billy’s start, Fenway Accuracy and the Jose Conseco-esque homer moment. Vin Scully is a surprisingly unreliable narrator. They also address Dave Eiland’s role in the film, franchises with the most perfect games and Roy Halladay reminiscences, Kirk Gibson, Sparky Anderson and Dick Williams in the 1984 World Series, Armando Galarraga, and Yankee fan accuracy. In Storytelling (46:44), our scouts attempt to wrap their minds around the contrast in execution of the baseball and romance scenes, and the lengths they went to in order to avoid their boredom with the latter. Issues with Jane: the sign-wearing hypothesis; as a writer; going to a baseball field to avoid a pitcher; game attendance; motherhood; more. They are confused by Billy’s morning schedule and annoyed with Mr. Wheeler and various communication issues. Mixed feelings about the V-8 conversation. Eric takes issue with the title, while Ellen has a question about Billy’s parents. The Score (1:22:43) reminds Ellen of The Sims, at best. Song selection, including Shaggy, Vince Gill, and the “Paint It Black” does not help much. Acting (1:27:19) praises the ensemble, particularly John C. Reilly, Brian Cox, Jenna Malone, J.K. Simmons and his moustache. Competing but supporting theories about Kelly Preston. They rank this Costner performance. Shout-outs to Michael Papajohn as Sam Tuttle, Arnetia Walker as the bartender, Joshua Young as the airport bar Yankees fans, Shelly Desai as the taxi-driver and Jacob Reynolds as Wheeler’s nephew: way to cast, Lynn Kressel. A George Steinbrenner anecdote. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:37:30) delights in John C. Reilly as Gus, his speech, and the Phillies defense and Aaron Nola. Delightfulness of Announcer (1:39:34) praises Vin Scully, Steve Lyons, and the Steve Lyons pants moment. Lack of Misogyny (1:44:30) considers Jane and her many issues, and Heather’s interest in baseball. Is Ellen broken? No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:49:40), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:54:40), Favorite Moment (1:55:20) Least Favorite Moment (1:57:00), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:58:50), Dreamiest Player (2:01:14), Favorite Performance (2:01:36) Next Time (2:04:19) and Review Thank You (2:05:29).


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