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TV & Film

The Stratton Story

Eric Gilde October 28, 2020

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss “The Stratton Story,” the 1949 biopic about Monty Stratton starring Jimmy Stewart, rating it on the 20-80 scouting scale. They introduce the film (3:09), with an overview of the story, cast, and director. After a description of the 20-80 scouting grades for those who are unfamiliar (9:46), they begin with Amount of Baseball (11:10), slightly hungover from “The Fan,” but touching on baseball-related montages. No spoilers on the player comp! Baseball Accuracy (13:04) considers Stratton’s praise for the film’s accuracy, the existence of Barney (Frank Morgan), and Stratton’s real career vs. its portrayal, including his first career game, All-Star season, and WHIP in 1936 vs. 2020. His post-accident life is also addressed: his spirits, his artificial leg, and references to Roy Campanella and “It’s Good to Be Alive.” The All-Star game at the end leads to questions about his pinch-runner and bunting on Stratton, and the accuracy of this game. Discussion about the trajectory of the ball in the opening game, Stratton’s career batting statistics, Jimmy Dykes, Barney’s player knowledge, Bob Feller, and references to the 2020 Phillies and Mets. Ellen questions the depiction of Stratton’s control and has a small breakdown on Stratton’s K/9. But Storytelling (31:58) examines the way inaccuracies bolster the storytelling, with fine seeds planted with all of Stratton’s nimble running, and excellent misdirection about the dancing lessons. They compare the film’s structure to Sam Wood’s other baseball film, “Pride of the Yankees.” Contrasting his injury as depicted with real life leads brings up Yoenis Cespedes and dangerous pitcher hobbies. Ma Stratton, Baby Stratton, and paternity leave in sports are considered. Discussion of the weirdness of the scene where Barney is made coach, he believability of Monty and Ethel’s first date, haircut speculation, “The Brothers K,” Trevor Bauer, and the Astros and Mattress Mack. They rate the Score (1:01:27) and Acting (1:02:20) praises Jimmy Stewart, June Allyson, Agnes Moorehead’s simplicity, and Frank Morgan’s choices. Ellen uplifts three specific Jimmy Stewart acting moments. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:02:19) lauds Barney’s catcher virtues, Ethel as catcher, Eddie’s flameless glove, dreamboat Bill Dickey and his improved acting, and Milliken. Delightfulness of Announcer (1:05:58) and Lack of Misogyny (1:11:09) follow, the latter considering the character development of the female leads, and Ma’s moment with the radio. No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (1:18:33), Six Degrees of Baseball (1:23:11), Favorite Moment (1:25:16), Least Favorite Moment (1:26:38), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (1:28:54), Dreamiest Player (1:31:11), Favorite Performance (1:32:03), Next Time (1:32:21), and Review Thank You (133:21), complete with bonus Classics jokes.


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