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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 2002 Disney film “The Rookie.” They introduce the film (2:02), with an overview of the story, the cast, and filmmakers, and review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film (5:07). Amount of Baseball (13:02) revels in this embarrassment of riches, and the excellence of the District Championship Game. Baseball Accuracy (20:35) cites Jim Morris’s own opinion of the film’s accuracy, and his relationship to his father, along with the radar sign scene, and the St. Rita story. There are oil rig gameplay questions. Did he try out in jeans? Did his dad get the baseball? Steve Cox erasure and some other accuracies with Jim Morris’s MLB debut, Royce Clayton’s foul ball, Morris pitching “for two seasons,” and his tryout in the rain. The scouts also discuss his teammates Jose Canseco, Wade Boggs, and Kevin Stocker, the 1999 Devil Rays. The casting of the RuffNecks is hilarious, including the batter Carlton Fisk-ing the ball in the wrong direction. Randy Quaid’s pitching motion, plus smart use of his pitching double Jeff Dowdy. Eric fact-checks Texas distances, and there is an Ellen Adair Breakdown on pitchers hitting 98 MPH in 1999 and today (h/t Nick Pollack). Can Ellen name more than five who threw more than 98 MPH in 99? Storytelling (49:34) dissects the interesting film structure created by its central bargain, the function of the nuns, and the Disney veneer balanced with excellent editing and cinematography. Ellen appreciates attention being paid to the football/baseball disparity, and both laud the excellent storytelling with the early scene with the father. But where is the middle child for the first hour of the film? They discuss the first minor league game sequence, the child’s questions about the Devil Rays, and the relief pitcher as hero (w/r/t Seranthony Dominguez, JoJo Romero and Ranger Suarez). Brief St. Patrick’s Day Accuracy. Score (1:11:22) addresses Carter Burwell’s use of flute and John Bissell’s music supervision, including Guy Clark’s “Stuff That Works,” Willie Nelson’s “Nothing I Can Do About It Now,” Elvis Presley’s “Run On,” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” Acting (1:17:14) discusses the performances of Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Brian Cox, Angus T. Jones and Blue Deckert. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:21:24) praises the perfect catcher behavior of Owls catcher Joel de la Garza, along with great acting by Angelo Spizzirri. The catcher at the try-out and at Jim Morris’s debut also do not disappoint. Delightfulness of Announcer (1:24:56) considers the benefits of the announcer being a character in the rest of the film, and the great performance by David Blackwell. Good storytelling with the Orlando Rays announcer. Lack of Misogyny (1:27:32) considers the strength of Lori the character versus her story function, and some disappointment on the gendered role of the children and the impetus for Lori’s reversal. No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:33:01), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:38:59), Favorite Moment (1:40:58) Least Favorite Moment (1:42:08), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:44:30), Dreamiest Player (1:46:44), Favorite Performance (1:47:42), and Next Time (1:49:03).

 

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