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TV & Film

Little Big League

Ellen Adair July 21, 2021

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde scout the 1994 movie, “Little Big League,” grading it on the 20-80 scouting scale. They introduce the film (2:29) before reviewing the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film (8:26). In Amount of Baseball (15:05), they are dazzled by the variety and amount of on-field play, and a player comp comes courtesy of MLB The Show. Baseball Accuracy (19:32) considers the overwhelming number of players referenced and appearing in the film (Babe Herman, Dazzy Vance, Ralph Branca, Bobby Thompson, Willie Mays, Moses Fleetwood Walker, Jackie Robinson, Roger Clemens, Walter Johnson, Whitey Herzog, Bobby Valentine, Bob Lemon, Rickey Henderson, Tommy LaSorda, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Wahoo Sam Crawford, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco (indirect as Billy’s friends are called the B.B.), Reggie Jackson, Wade Boggs, Sammy Sosa, Bob Uecker, Bo Jackson, Danny Tartabull, Cecil Fielder, Casey Stengel, Freddy Lindstrom, with APPEARANCES by Dave Magadan, Dean Palmer, Eric Anthony, Alex Fernandez, Lenny Webster, Lou Piniella, Rafael Palmeiro, Pudge Rodriguez, Sandy Alomar Jr., Wally Joiner, Mickey Tettleton, Carlos Baerga, Tim Raines, Paul O’Neill, Ken Griffey Jr, and Randy Johnson), Rickey Henderson’s free agency, owners being managers and stadium ownership, illegal pitches (Joe Niekro, Kevin Gross, and Roger McDowell), the crowd at the end, and Little League accuracy. The film’s quality to popularity ratio sends Ellen into an existential crisis to start off Storytelling (51:26), which then leads to discussions of growing up too quickly, the importance of having fun, the issues of presenting Jenny as a struggling single mother, the case for Billy as a bad manager, questionable child references, undercutting O’Farell’s tantrums, the security guard, and kid vs. adult wish fulfillment. Score Tool (1:19:54) laments the music that the team considers forgettable and uninspired, as well as John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” and the Band’s cover of Muddy Waters’ “Stuff You Gotta Watch.” Acting (1:25:07) considers the entire ensemble, including Luke Edwards, Timothy Busfield, Kevin Dunn, John Ashton, Jason Robards, Dennis Farina, Jonathan Silverman, as well as the general dynamic between child and adult actors. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:31:12) focuses on the value of Mark’s redemption, with some time devoted to Mickey Tettleton’s bad attitude. Delightfulness of Announcer (1:33:56) is a celebration of John Gordon and the weirdly specific baseball stats he shares. Lack of Misogyny (1:36:32) is a bit unfortunate in comparison, with female characters only presented in relation to men and frequently being pretty vapid. Some strange song choices, too! No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:41:38), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:45:36), Favorite Moment (1:48:05) Least Favorite Moment (1:50:43), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:53:02), Dreamiest Player (1:55:27), Favorite Performance (1:56:32), Review Thank You (1:59:32), and Next Time (1:59:56).


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