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TV & Film

Summer Catch

Ellen Adair September 29, 2021

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 2001 movie “Summer Catch.” They introduce the film (1:15), with an overview of the story, cast, and filmmakers, and diatribe about the title. They review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film (5:35), with a why-not metaphor. Amount of Baseball (10:20) is helped by the fullness of the baseball narratives. Baseball Accuracy (12:54) attacks the film’s mysterious attitude towards relief pitching and warming up, with the sub-category Brian Dennehy Is a Bad Manager. They dive into the Cape Cod Summer League history and a few CCBL alum (Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Nomar Garciaparra, Mo Vaughn, Frank Thomas, Carlton Fisk, Pie Traynor, Henry Davis, Spencer Torkelson, Adley Rutschman, Casey Mize, Pat Burrell, Aaron Nola, Jason Varitek, Chase Utley), the use of wooden bats in CCBL, Chatham A’s championships, and Cape Cod League baseball cards. There are some in/accuracies with scouting and signing (references to Joe Mauer and Adrian Gonzalez), signing deadlines (references to Stephen Drew, Jered Weaver). The scouts wonder about the sample size on Billy’s batting average, issues with the Hyannis Mets, and the practicality of the Greg Maddux advice. WTFork with the called/swinging strikes. Velocity then and now! Ellen predictably gets into the Phillies lineup at the end (Bobby Abreu, Jimmy Rollins, Doug Glanville, Marlon Anderson, Mike Lieberthal, Pat Burrell, Travis Lee). Points for the Batavia Muckdogs. Storytelling (44:55) tries to sort out the preponderance of storylines, including the American Pie / Bull Durham mashup plaguing Dom (Wilmer Valderrama). Ellen outlines this movie’s early assault on rational thought. Is Dede an ally or a hindrance? Why is Tenley interested in Ryan? Does this movie think this league is important? What are the stakes for these characters? Can we get some consistent points-of-view pls? Everyone Has to Be a Ten, fat phobia, other issues with Miles’s (Marc Blucas) storyline, and the extremely, extremely weird relationship with the Mulligan siblings. The Score (1:19:09) weighs the onslaught of pop music, highlights including LL Cool J, Tarsha Vega, and the Dandy Warhols, with the hotel lounge jazz combo score. Acting (1:22:21) considers the performances of Jessica Biel, Freddie Prinze Jr., Brittany Murphy, Matthew Lillard, Brian Dennehy, Fred Ward, Bruce Davison, and John C. McGinley. Everyone deserved better. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:27:27) balances Matthew Lillard’s charisma and the good pitcher/catcher dynamic with the unheroic things about the character. Delightfulness of Announcer (1:25:11) generally appreciates Curt Gowdy’s contributions to the film. Lack of Misogyny (1:22:21) considers the fat phobia / misogyny Venn Diagram, but appreciates the character of Katie Parrish, and has a brief digression on the topic of her search for a mascot for the A’s. A quick psychoanalysis of the writers of this film, vis-a-vis their depiction of female characters. No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:41:54), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:48:42), Favorite Moment (1:50:12) Least Favorite Moment (1:51:34), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:54:47), Dreamiest Player (1:57:16), Favorite Performance (1:58:11), Review Thank You (2:00:35) and Next Time (2:00:54).


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