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Mr. Baseball

Eric Gilde September 14, 2022

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 1992 film “Mr. Baseball.” They introduce the film (1:07), with an overview of the story, the cast, and filmmakers, and review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film, with a new metaphor (5:31). Amount of Baseball (14:02) has a good variety, and they contrast the unnecessary Yankee stadium with the real Japanese baseball stadiums, plus the Frank Thomas appearance and a player comp. Baseball Accuracy (19:52) is strong, although the MLB and NPB do not trade, and you shouldn’t bring your top hand over. A dive into the shuuto pitch (Yu Darvish, Aaron Nola, Shohei Ohtani) and Ricky Davis’s debut (Frank Thomas, JP Arencibia). There are timeline issues with MLB/NPB seasons and the Dodgers series, there are problems with Doc the Agent, the nightmare as a hitter’s nightmare, and some poor scouting practices. But there are fun references to the hotfoot tradition (Roger McDowell?) and John Kruk. A brief history of the Chunichi Dragons franchise and their most famous player Michio Nishizawa, plus Larry Doby, Don Newcombe and Matt Stairs. NPB home run records include discussion of Sadaharu Oh, Randy Bass, Tuffy Rhodes, Alex Cabrera and Wladimir Balentien. Cultural differences between Japanese baseball and American baseball, including facial hair (Bob Horner, Eric Thames), the “Gaijin strikezone,” extra innings, and the cap-tipping tradition (Osamu Higashio, Dick Davis). Also the Brett Myers/Kyle Kendrick prank, Don Mattingly comparisons, and Tom Selleck’s athleticism. Storytelling (50:30) discusses how a formula is good for reversals but bad for long scenes, the bunting trope in baseball movies, the film’s cultural in/sensitivities, Cleveland/Nagoya comparisons, the bath scene, and problems with the Lame Romantic Subplot. The Score Tool (1:15:37) discusses this 1992 timepiece from Jerry Goldsmith, which slightly divides our scouts. Acting (1:19:18) considers the performances of Tom Selleck, Ken Takakura, Toshi Shioya, Aya Takanashi, and the baseball team ensemble. Neither Delightfulness of Catcher (1:26:08) or Delightfulness of Announcer (1:27:18) offer much. In Lack of Misogyny (1:27:56), they consider the believability of the Lame Romantic Subplot, Hiroko’s own issues, and the repairing of the father/daughter relationship. But why does Hiroko like Jack? No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:40:23), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:44:12), Favorite Moment (1:45:26) Least Favorite Moment (1:47:44), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:49:42), Dreamiest Player (1:51:03), Favorite Performance (1:51:27), and Next Time (1:53:15).


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