Talent for the Game (1991) - full transcript

Virgil Sweet is on the verge of losing his job as a talent scout with the California Angels when he discovers Sammy Bodeen, a country boy with no pro ball experience, but with a pitching arm no one has seen the like of. Money-hungry owners want to make a quick buck while Sammy just wants to play ball. Virgil finds himself caught in the middle.

You know we all
appreciate this,
Mr. Sweet.

Virgil.

Working the hours we do,
wasn't any other way.

Management isn't
gonna give us
any time off.

Not for something like this.

I hope he's good.

You aren't
claustrophobic,
are you?

Well, I've been having
a reoccurring dream

about being buried alive,
but other than that, I'm okay.

Lester, this is Virgil Sweet.

Glad to meet you, son.
How you doing?



A little nervous, I guess.

Not as nervous as I am, son.
I don't know how you guys
live down here.

You must be
part mole. Right?

You get used to it.

Not me, kid.
Not me.

I could never get used to it.

You ready, kid? Yep.

Start walking.

Real nice.

Okay. Put some
heat on it, son.

Control it, kid.
Control it.

Give me all you got, son.

All right, kid.
That's enough.

Good job.



You did good, kid.
Real good.

Thank you, sir.

You got the good
breaking stuff, son,

but your fastball
is a little short.

Do I have what it takes?

Maybe. It all depends on
how hard you work
on your mechanics, son.

"Maybe" ain't no kind of answer.

"Maybe" is powerful stuff, son.

The road to heaven's
paved with "maybes."

Look, you got a dream.
You hold on to it.

Everybody needs a dream.

Hello, gentlemen.
How are you?

Hi, Virgil.
Virgil.

Virgil, how you doing?

Hey, Cal, how are you?
Nice to see you, Virg.

Great jacket.
The circus is in town, right?

How you doing, Virg? Pretty good, Ray.
How are you?

Strike one!

I heard about a kid in Boise.

He's never been struck out.

Rumors.
He ain't it.

He ain't it? He ain't it.

Ain't what? The phenom.

What's that?

The player that
just rises perfect
right out of the earth.

He don't have to learn
like you and me.

He's born to play.

Every guy out here,
I'll swear to you,

even though they won't
admit it, every scout
that's out here right now,

is looking for him.

That's our dream.

That's why we haul ourselves

all around the country,
going from town to town.

Do you think this guy
really exists?

He exists, all right.
Hard part's finding him.

Gentlemen. How you doing?

Nice of you to make it.

You too, Virgil.

Very good, Frank.
Very quick.

The junk man has arrived.

Virg here is a great
teller of tales, kid.

Now, there are two sports
in which a man has got
to be able to tell tall tales.

Baseball and fishing.

You see
before you, kid, is the
last of a dying breed.

The guy actually
believes in magic.

He won't even use
a radar gun.
Now why is that, Virgil?

It releases very dangerous
radio vibrations, Frank.

It makes you wear
very weird clothes.

Ball.

I take that about
82 miles an hour.
How about you, Frankie?

I'll be damned.

Eighty-two exactly.

Better watch
where you stick that.

You'll tweak
your tweeter, buddy.

You'll warp your fungo.

You're gonna back up
your plumbing.

Definitely.

Okay, that's it.

It won't back up my plumbing.

Strike two!

You did all of the troubleshooting
stuff? I checked everything.

- California Angels.
- Bobbie Henderson's office.

Yes, operator.
I'll accept the charges.

I got your number
from an outhouse wall.

Somebody who got
your number from
an outhouse wall.

I told you to
stop doing that,
didn't I?

Troubleshooting,
troubleshooting. Try that.

Hello? Weaver sent me a telegram.

He says, he wants me in LA
day after tomorrow.

How come you're the only guy
who calls collect
from the field?

Do you have any idea
what he wants?

You know Weaver.

He always
plays his cards
close to his vest.

Yeah.

Would you
take me away
from all of this?

Wilson. Got all
he's going to have.

Couple years, strain's
gonna shoot right up the arm.

Let somebody else
pay for the sling. Pass.

Kerriker.
He's got a seven curve,

but his heater is
a foot and a half short

and he ain't
getting any stronger.

Pass-adena.

It's the bottom of the ninth,

two outs,

one man left on base.
And who's coming up to bat?

Trouble.

Trouble focuses in,
sets his feet...

Licks them a little bit.

Ladies and gentlemen,
the tension mounts.

Here's his 0-and-0 pitch.

First pitch...
Swung on and missed.

Strike one.

Pitcher winds up.

Here's the 0-and-1 pitch.

Ha!

After 63 days,
honey, welcome home.

Ahhh!

Woo!

Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.

Sorry.
I didn't mean it.

It's freezing. I know.

Why did you do that?

Because I absolutely
wanted to do it.

It's funny.

Oh, shit. Oh, shit.

Come on. No, no.

Ah...

Aw, shit, Virgil.
I forgot.

You okay?

Gotcha.

You okay? Yeah.

Hi, Nicky.
How are you?

Hi, Virgil.
How are you?

You been good?

Great. Good to see you.

Ba-boom!

How are you? How you doing?

How's it going? Wonderful, where's Bobbie?

She's in the powder room,
hiding.

Oh, wait, look.
I've been
practicing. Watch.

Get out of here.
You need more practicing.

Hello, Steve. Hi, Virgil.

Ha, ha!

Hey, watch this.

Safe!

You're looking good, Timmy.

Come here, you!

Hot dogs. I own your ass.

You wish you were
with me, don't you?

I miss you, Virg.

Not too much?

No, not too much.

Don't change on me, man.

A lot of water
under the bridge since '71.

Christ, you were getting good.

If that
son of a bitch
hadn't hit you...

Hey, that's hardball, man.
Come on.

What am I doing here?

All right, this is
for your ears only.

Nobody on the floor knows yet.

This team has been sold.

This one?

Right.

Wow.

Who bought it?

Gil Lawrence,
the advertising guy.

Yeah, Linda.

Comprehensive
farm system report.
You got it there?

On Lawrence's desk
by noon, all right?

Right. Noon!

Man, does he know
anything about baseball?

He's got a billion
dollars, beau.

He doesn't have
to know anything.

That's dumb.

Dumb? Yeah.

A billion dollars is dumb?
Virgil, we got to talk.

No, man, that's not what
I'm talking about.

But, yeah, let's talk.

Well, the man's got
his own ideas.

He's going to take a broom
to the whole front office.

For a while,
I didn't even know
if I was gonna get the ax.

But somehow
you survived, huh?
That's good, kid.

Lawrence isn't happy
with the scouting
program.

He thinks it's too expensive.

Thinks we don't need
guys in the field anymore.

You're kidding.

We're going
with the bureau's
scouting reports.

We'll get comprehensive
statistics on every eligible
player out there.

You're not kidding.

How much time do I got?

I can stall for a little while.

What kind of an answer
is that, Tim?

I don't know.

Virgil, baseball is changing.

It's a business.

It's profit and loss.

Yeah, there never was
any security in scouting.

You're goddamn right.

What about coaching?

I always thought,
maybe, you know...

Lawrence wouldn't buy it.

Convince him.
You're good at that.

Virgil...

He's got no reason
to promote you.

Have you got one single
good prospect
I can throw at him?

Yeah. Yeah?

Yeah. Got a kid,
a sleeper. He's great.

If he's ready, do I got a job?

Well, it can't hurt.

Can't wait
any longer, Riggs.
I got to see the kid now.

He can't pitch in the damn rain.

I got an idea.

All right, Riggs.
Give him a dry ball.

Tommy, I want you to
give me your best fastball.
Just turn it loose.

Show me some magic, kid.

Give him another one.

Let it go, son.

Just let it go.

One more.

Let it go, son.

Let it all go.
Come on.

That's it, son.

So?

He's not fast enough.

Not yet.

Work hard, kid.
See you next spring.

This must be Virgil Sweet.

It ain't working, Bobbie.

I'm coming up with zero.

Hey, you'll think of something.

I don't know.

I just don't know.

I'm running out of time.

Why don't I come out
and see you this weekend?

Ahhh!

No!

Mmm. Where am I, Sweet?

God's country, honey.

And you're looking beautiful.

You're not so bad yourself.

However, I must say,

your ride
is an automotive slum.
Look at this.

I just had it cleaned.

The outside. The inside
hasn't been touched.

I'm hungry.

Where are you taking me, Sweet?

Pocatello, honey.
Pocatello.

No!

Watch the road.

Ahhh!

We're going
to go see some
long-ball hitters.

Shit!

What?

It's dead. It's dying

like everything else
in this car.
It's too old.

God!

We're overheating.
Must be the fan belt.

Oh, man. And we're
in the middle of no place.

I got it.

It's not the fan belt.

It's not? It's the water pump.

Do you have a water pump?

Well... Sweet.

You got two choices.

We can either sit here and sweat

or we can start to walk.

We could dance.

What?

We could dance.

We're out of seeds.

You know what, Sweet?

Huh?

I always knew exactly where
I was going with my life.

I always knew what I wanted.

And then...

Then one day
you walked into my office

and you introduced yourself.

I knew I was in trouble.

I mean, I never
knew anybody could
look so battered

and be so damn attractive
at the same time.

I love you, Sweet.

Come on. Git.Wait. Stop.

Ah, shit.
Ah, this is stupid.

What's the matter,
your back hurts?

No.

You got a mind.

Hell, you got
a master's degree
in psychology.

I got nothing.

I'm a scout.

Pretty soon,
I won't even
have a job.

I haven't
got an ounce
of security.

Aw, it's boring already.
You're starting
to piss me off, Sweet.

Wait a minute. This is what
I'm trying to tell you.

You don't get it.
You just don't get it.

I know you're not getting it.

Get what, all right?

I don't need
that kind of security.

I have that kind of security.

Look, I love the fact
that you're a scout

and you do what you want to do.

Don't you see that?

Aw, Sweet, I believe
everything happens
for a reason.

I mean, that's why
we're out here
getting sunstroke

because this is
exactly where we're
supposed to be. Okay?

You don't really believe
that garbage, do you?

You know what your problem is?

You got your head
so far up your ass

feeling sorry for yourself...

That you can't see
that everything you need

is standing right here
in front of you.

You're such an asshole, Sweet.

Bobbie!

It doesn't fit!

Keep trying.

Baseball.

Yeah.

Ho, ho, ho!

You can do it!
Throw it in there, kid!

Strike!

Strike!
You're out!

Strike!

One more, Sammy!

Strike!

Ow! You're out!

Game's over!

You all right?

In this town
because we're
supposed to be.

Is that what you said?

You're lucky
it's my left hand.
I got a date tonight.

Way to go, man.
Good game.

Good job!

How's the hand, son?

It hurts.

Better ice it.

Listen,
my car broke down
up the street a ways.

Do you know where
there's a pay phone
I can use?

Sure. There's one over
at the grocery store
across the road.

Thanks. My name's
Virgil Sweet.

Toby Curry.

Glad to meet you, Toby.
Who's your pitcher?

Sammy Bodeen.

Man, he's really good.

He's better than that.

Hi, Sammy.

Hi.Virgil Sweet.

Hi. Nice to meet you. It's a pleasure
meeting you.

You got a great arm, son.

Thank you.

Listen, I used
to catch pro
a few years back.

You caught pro? Yeah.

I'd love to catch you, son.

Sure.

Tobe, give him the mitt.

One's a fastball?

Yeah. Two's a curve.

Three's a split-finger.

Thank you, son.
Can I borrow your mask? Sure.

Thank you.

Come on, son.

Thank you.

Sure, Sammy.

You throw that way to him,
but you burn my hand off.

You holding back, son?

Let her rip.

Let it go.

Argh!

You all right, mister?
You okay?

Yes! Does it hurt?

Yes.

Son, I'm a professional scout

for the California Angels.

He's a scout for the Angels?

Yes.

They're not
doing too good
this year.

Well...

I think Sammy's been
wasting your time here,
Mr. Sweet.

I'm sorry about that.

Mr. Bodeen, I don't think
Sammy's been wasting our time.

Dad! Customer here.

I'll be right back.

Hi.

I need some fuel

and I need to
check the batteries
and hydraulics.

Oh, sure.
We can do that.

How's Ann, Frieda? Real good.

Tell her hi.

Mr. Bodeen,
I was...

I think I can
make this easy
for you, Mr. Sweet.

I'm the minister
of the Genesee
Community Church

right here in town.

That's it
right over there.
Do you see?

And my daddy was also
a minister to that church,

and his daddy before him,

and that's the way
it's always been.

And I hope to goodness
nothing ever happens
to change that.

But Samuel's the only one
that can follow me
into the pulpit,

so he's pretty well got his
future mapped out for him,

and that doesn't leave
too much room
for baseball.

I don't want you
to get me wrong.

I got nothing against baseball.

I think it's
a wonderful sport.
I really do.

It helps build character
and all that stuff,

but it's just a game.

I think you should
really hear this.

This is about your son.

Is there something wrong?

No, not at all.

Not at all.

What is it that confuses you?

Well I'm not gonna stand here
and try to pull your leg

and tell you that
I know your business.
Because I don't.

The only thing I know
is baseball.

I've lived it all my life.

A shortstop told me
a couple years ago

that his family
came from Greece,

and in old Greek,

the word "sin"
meant missing the mark.

I guess you must
have a point to that.

When somebody has
a God-given gift
like Sammy

and he doesn't use it,

I think that's kind of
like missing the mark,
don't you?

I feel really bad for that kid.

What are you going to do?

I don't know.

We could kidnap him.

That's an idea. I'm only joking.

I just find it difficult
to leave him here.

How good is my son?

Mrs. Bodeen, I've
spent my whole life
in baseball.

I don't know anything else.

He's the best I've ever seen.

That good?

Yes.

He should get a chance.

Would you like to sit down?

Your husband
really doesn't want
your son to play.

Who knows? Our Sharon
is a very devout girl.

Maybe it's time the church
ordained a female pastor.

It may take
a day or two, Virgil,

but I believe
my husband will relent,

and Sammy will go
to Los Angeles with you.

I just ask one thing in return.

Yes?

He may be
a gifted ballplayer
as you say,

but in all other respects,
he's still a child,

and I want you
to look out for him.

Would you do that?

You have my word.

Sure.

Sure. Do you remember
what I told you?

Yeah.

I just don't know why
you don't call Weaver.

He'll take me
right out of the loop.

Plus, I promised the mother
I'd take care of the kid.

Do this for me.

Sure.

Love you, Sweet.

Oh, Sammy.

Come on. You have the most
wonderful adventure
ahead of you.

Promise me something.

That you'll listen
to Mr. Sweet

and always do what he tells you.

Yes, ma'am.

Thank you.

I got one for you, kid.

You got two out
and a man on first.

Darryl Strawberry up to bat.

Do you hold the runner?

Nope. I pitch
to the hitter.

Why?

Strawberry's a home run hitter,

likes the ball low
and a little outside.

So where do you pitch him?

Give him
fastballs outside,
but up a little bit.

Why?

Make him hit down.

You're smart, kid.
You learn quick.

Who's that?

Used to be my coach, son.

His name's
Iron Jack Kelly.
Full-blooded Blackfoot.

One of the smartest men
in baseball I ever knew.

His eyes are weird.

Not weird, son.
Magical.

He could take a look
at you, snap his fingers
and hypnotize you

and make you
believe in yourself,

do things you could
never do on your own.

Once I was in a slump.

He walked up to me,
looked me in the eye,

snapped his fingers and said,
"You're gonna hit a double."

Yeah? What happened?

I hit it out of the park.

Whew!

Only joking.

I got a double.

Nobody could resist him, son.

You got to believe
in yourself, son.

I want you
to discipline yourself.

To concentrate.

I need total concentration.

Put this target...

right in your mind's eye,

and let your
muscle memory take over.

Visualize this target.

Okay, kid.

I want you to relax now.

And I want you to look
at the target, son.

Visualize it.

Now close your eyes.

Let it go.

Aw, jeez! Don't worry about it.

Concentrate, kid.

You can do it.

Don't you think we ought
to move the car?

Got to believe in yourself, kid.

The only difference
between you and a
Major League ballplayer

is that they believe
they belong there.

Great.

That's enough for today.

You and Bobbie
going to get married,
Mr. Sweet?

Something comes into your mind,

and you just let it
right out, huh, son?

Well, are you?

Well, a man's got to have
a lot more going for him

than just a scout's salary

in order to get married, son.

I don't know.
Why do you ask?

Well, I was just thinking.

If you weren't,
I... I was thinking
about asking her myself.

You were, huh?

How come you couldn't
play anymore?

I told you, kid.
I got hit.

Yeah, I know,
but what happens
if you try?

I can't run.

When I run, I get dizzy.

Everything else
is okay. I just
can't run.

You know, when I
was a little kid,

I used to watch...
Used to watch
Nolan Ryan on TV.

And I used to pretend
that I could be
like him someday.

You will, kid.

Someday there'll
be some kid
watching you on TV

saying the same thing.

Try to get some sleep.

We'll be in LA by the morning.

Yeah.

Hey, kid, who taught
you how to pitch?

Nobody.

Who taught you how to play ball?

Nobody.

Good night.

I don't like games,
Miss Henderson.

They're a waste of time.

Strange thing for a man to say

who just bought
a baseball team.
Don't you think?

You want to tell me
what's really
going on here, Bobbie?

Hey, fellas, my limo's here.

Eighty nine.

Eighty-nine miles an hour.

That's pretty good
speed, Mr. Lawrence.

Kid's name is Miller.
He's out of USC. He had
pretty good stats.

This what you
dragged me down here
for, Bobbie?

Uh, not exactly,
Mr. Lawrence.

Dick Bortner.

He's leading
the league in homers.

Do you know him, Virg? Yep. So will you.

You got five minutes.

Okay.Mr. Lawrence.

Couldn't resist
the old bone yard, eh?
Nice to see you.

How are you?

Pretty good.

How do you like
our kid?
He's got all the tools.

You're going to be real
proud of him in a couple
of years. Excuse me.

Hey, hello there.

How does he look
on the gun? Very good. Eighty nine.

Stay down.
Stay down.

It's just a ballpark, kid.

Let's get out there.

Hello, gentlemen. Hey, Virg.

There's the kid.

Sammy Bodeen. Virgil Sweet,
one of our scouts, found him.

Mr. Lawrence,
I knew nothing about this.
There's no authorization.

Try and relax, Weaver.
It's okay.

Bring him in.

Fred.

Yo, Sweet!

Looking good.

Just have a good time.

Hey, Burnsy.

You don't mind
if I catch, do you?

Nah, it's no skin off my behind.

Let me borrow
your helmet. You got it.

Hey, listen, buddy,
who's the new
slump meat out there?

Sit back and relax, Burnsy.
I think you're gonna
enjoy this one.

Oh, yeah? Yep.

See you later, Virg.

Here you go, kid.

Okay, kid.

Warm up.

Real nice.

Just relax.

Yes.

Attaboy, kid.

This boy do anything
besides warm up, Sweet?

Let her rip, kid.

Come on, son.

I was wondering
what you wanted
for dinner tonight.

Huh? Yeah.

You ever had sushi?

No.It's great.
You'll love it.

It's very LA.

Don't try so hard.

Yeah.

Ninety eight.

Let's see
what he can do
against a hitter.

Bortner.

Get a bat.

Bortner.

Get in there now, come on!

Man, oh, man.

Show him the fence, Dick.

Look funny in that
uni, there, Sweet.

Name's Richard,
isn't it, Bortner?

What if I just call you
Dick for short?

Call me whatever you like.

Come on, kid.

Whew!

What are you doing, kid?

He's crowding the plate.

So back him off.

Throw him a slider.
Make him respect
you, okay?

You know what sushi is?

No.Raw fish. Can you
believe that?

Human beings eating raw fish?

Tell him to quit
while he's ahead, Sweet?

Nope. I told him
to bean you.

To what?

I told him to hit
you in the head,

Dick for short.
Come on, kid.

I let my bat do
the talking, Sweet.

Whoo-wee!

Wanna know what
he's gonna throw in
next, Dick for short?

Hey, screw you, Sweet.

Throw him a fastball, kid.

Yes.

Faster. Yeah, that's right.

Throw it a little faster, Sammy.

Ow!

What was the velocity on that? One hundred.

Throw it as hard
as you can, son.

Damn. I can't
believe it.

One hundred and two.

That's
a good record.Yeah.

Yes.

How you feel, Dick?

Fred,

you better sign
this kid before
somebody else does.

What did you say
this kid's name was?

Bodeen. Sammy Bodeen.

What's his name? Come on in, kid.

Virgil Sweet.Virgil.

Sign him.

Wow. Look
at this place.

How many people live here?

One.

One very rich one.

Sammy.

Sammy, thank God
you're here.Ah.

Welcome. We have
to get upstairs
right now.

Uh, Mr. Sweet,
would you
excuse us, please?

Where are you going? Mr. Lawrence
would like to see Sammy right away.

By himself? Yes. Yes.

Would you
excuse us? Go on up there.

Beau!

What a space.
Unbelievable.

God help me, I do love money.

Well, you got it here.

I haven't seen
craftsmanship
like this ever.

You don't think
much of me,
do you, beau?

What are you talking
about, Timmy?

You tried to cut my balls off.

Took the kid
over my head to Lawrence,
you and Bobbie.

No, gracias.

Think I was going
to cut you out
of the loop?

Something like that.

It was a beautiful move, Virg.

I would have done
the same thing myself.

Thank you. You're getting to be
quite a piece of work.

Oh, Timmy, so are you.

Listen, uh...

Listen, forget it.

Kid's got the good face.

Yeah, he does.
He really, really does.

Folks.
Can Mr. Lawrence
have your attention?

May I have
everybody's attention
please?

There's an announcement to make.

Good afternoon.

Every once in a while,

a talent rises up
and burns so brightly

that, uh, it redefines
the limits of the game.

From Genesee, Idaho,

nestled among
rolling fields of wheat,

comes such a talent.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I give you our
newest Angel...

A gift from heaven.

Sammy Bodeen.

He's making
a cartoon out of this.

Sammy, how does
it feel to be so celebrated?

This is Sammy Bodeen,

our newest Angel,

and he's the starting pitcher

for the Angels
on Saturday night.

Did you know
anything about this?

Jesus Christ, Virgil.

Where did you play ball, Sammy?

Uh, Idaho.

Uh, Sammy doesn't have any
actual pro experience, Al.

He's a phenom.

What kind
of experience
does he have?

What's your name? My
name is Greg Rossi, Gil.

What kind of experience
does he have?

Greg, as I've said, he has no
actual pro experience,

but he was born
to play the game.

Don't you think
you're jumping the gun
on Saturday night?

Really. No. I don't.

Isn't this just
a publicity stunt

to get a lot of people
in the stands? Next question.

Isn't this putting
an awful lot of
unnecessary pressure

on a young kid like that?

Well, Al.
It's a game of pressure.

He's not ready for this,
and you know it.

It's a game of inches.

With all due respect to
this terrific Peter Pan act...

if Mr. Bodeen is as good
as you say he is,

why won't you just
let him work his way
up through the minors?

Do you have a point? I think
Eddie Bane might have had a point

when he worked for
the Minnesota Twins

and he was gone
in a year. And what
about David Clyde?

He was gone in
the Rangers in
about a year.

These were all phenoms.

You remember Clyde. All right, Virgil.

I remember Clyde, yeah.

I think you'll be
surprised and I think
it's safe to say

that you will be amazed.

Now, everything
you need to know
is in your press kits.

Please pick them up
on your way out.

In the meantime,
relax, enjoy the party,

and, uh, we'll see you
Saturday night.
Go, Angels.

Come on, Paul!
What are we supposed
to go to press with?

I think you're making a mistake.

You're going too fast.

Look, I understand
your concern, Virgil,

but that's why I need your help.

I'm aware
of the danger here,
but, uh,

you got to admit
the possibility.

I saw what
the kid can do
with your help.

Yeah, but Saturday's
too quick to
pitch this kid.

Yeah, but it's our best
available option.

The Angels are in the toilet.

Now, I want you
with us on this, Virgil.

Tim's gonna talk
to you about it.

I got some people
in my office right now,
but we'll talk. All right?

I love it, William. It's wonderful.

We're going for
an association with
the wheat fields.

I love the association
with wheat.

Oh, I feel so great about that.

I was trying to
capture the field... I have one problem.

His face.

It's too benign.
It's too...

Benign.

His expression, you mean.

He needs to look more dangerous.

More, uh...

Dangerous. Pardon?

A lean, mean pitching...

Machine.

I'm afraid
I don't understand
the connection with...

Every guy in the country
is going to identify
with Sammy Bodeen.

A stranger from nowhere
who shows up...

Unannounced.

You're Virgil Sweet, aren't you?

Yes, I am. Hey, I'm Greg Rossi.
Nice to meet you.

I don't drink. Oh, here you go.

Listen, you're just the guy
I want to talk to.

You found
our young sprout,
didn't you?

Huh? Well, listen.
Why are you starting
him on Saturday?

What's the big rush?

Uh, I'm really not starting him.

No, come on, come on.
He barely
fits his uniform.

You're putting him in,
up against Kansas City,
which is a good team.

And you guys have been
living in the basement.
So what's the story?

Listen, I don't know, you know?

What? What do you mean
you don't know?

You're the guy
who found him,
isn't that right?

Yeah, I found him,
but I have nothing...

Hey, Greg, how you doing?

I got to talk to Virgil.
We'll be right back.

Tim, buddy.
Tim.

And women like
dangerous men, too,

right, Miss Henderson?

Ah. Mr. Lawrence,
I really don't know

what women find
dangerous or not.

I do know that
Sammy Bodeen is
a very wholesome,

open, and honest young man

and that men and women
will identify
with that.

You have a point.

You may have a point.

I have a point.Okay. Let's go with this.

That's it. We meet
tomorrow morning
in my office.

You're looking at
the new General Manager
of the California Angels.

You? I'm making you
my assistant.

Me? Your salary's
60 grand a year,

you get a two-year guarantee.
Bonuses are included,

and I got you
on a retirement fund.

Wait a minute. What?

Wait a minute.

Oh, that's really generous, man.

You deserve it, Virg.

You really deserve it.

How about some champagne, eh?

Can we have some
champagne over here?

Yes, sir.
Here you are.

Here's to Mother Baseball

and the talent
that keeps her young.

What about the kid?

Rossi's a reporter.
Everything's
a scam to him.

Are you a reporter, too?

You are so sweet.

No, Sammy, I'm not.
I'm a lawyer.

You must be so excited,
everything that's going on.

Yeah!

I can't believe it's real.

Well, it is.

I mean, come Saturday,
you're gonna be

pitching in front of
50,000 people,
maybe more.

Yeah.

Look, Virg, you send
that kid down to the
minors for seasoning,

that's no guarantee.

He could throw his arm
out just as easily in
some bush league.

Sammy could spend
the rest of his days sitting
in the backseat of a bus

drinking whiskey out of
Dixie cups with the rest of
the might-have-beens.

You know that, Virg.
We've been there.

So just don't interfere
with the plans Lawrence
has for the kid.

He'll be fine.
You and me will
take care of him.

Guys like us, Virg,

we get this kind
of chance once
in a lifetime.

You do this job right,
you get a leg up.

And nobody's going to get hurt.

Hey, hey...

All I want you to do
is keep Sammy happy.

Try not to make
any waves, all right?

Oh, yeah.

You and I are
going to go out and
get you some clothes

something that fits
a man in your position.

They want me to watch the kid.

They want me to stay, Bobbie.

They want me to move
up to the main office.

They want me to
be Tim's assistant.

We won.

Is that what you really want?

For $60,000 a year,
two years guaranteed,

unless I want to quit, yes.

Let's warm up.

You know, he's just
loosening up and
he's popping the glove.

Look at that.

Hey, I don't care how hard
this kid throws, man.

He don't belong here.

Hey, Lawrence
doesn't care
about that kid.

He doesn't care about us.

All he's trying to do
is make some money
off this deal.

The kid's got to
pay his dues just like
everybody else.

Hey, look. I expect
the kid to fall on his face,
just like you guys do.

I don't like the idea.
I think it's a joke.

He's going to
make us look bad, too.

Come on, kid.

Great hit, man.

Uh-oh!
Check him out!

Hollywood!

Is he sweet or what?

My goodness!

I see someone finally
got you in a suit, huh?

Come on.
Get your back into it.

How you doing, Fred? Hey, Sweet,
where's your boy?

He ain't here?

Jesus, I was afraid of this.

I usually pick him up
and I called the hotel.

But he didn't answer,
so I thought he'd
already come out here.

Does anybody know about this?

I don't think so.

All right.
I'll find him, Fred.

By the way,
Lawrence wants
to see you

up in the club restaurant. Right now?

Mmm-hmm.

Does he know about this?

I don't think so.

All right, Fred.
I'll find him,
all right? Thanks.

There's the man.

Don't choke, okay, Tim?

Hey! You look like
one million bucks
there, Virg.

How do you like him?
How do you like
our boy's dress, huh?

Tell him what
you were telling me.

Well, we have Sammy's
photo session. It's scheduled
right after practice today,

but Sports Illustrated called.

They want an exclusive
interview with Sammy for
after the game on Saturday.

And depending
upon the outcome
of the game,

he can be on
the cover next week.

I love it. How do you feel, Virg?

Huh, great white hunter?

How's his arm?

Oh, he's doing
real good. He's...

We're just
resting him right now.
He's a little excited.

Well, the kid looks great. Could we
bring down some photographers to see?

I think it would be
really a good idea

instead of always
these posed pictures.

Actually, it's, uh, best
that he rest, I think.

He's pretty excited.

Virgil knows best.

Virgil, I want you
to know you're doing
a great job.

Excuse me.
I have some more things
to take care of and, uh...

Have a good lunch.

You look good.

Go ahead.

Jesus, kid.

What are you doing to yourself?

What if I fail?

You can't think that way, kid.

Did you know they were
going to pitch me
Saturday night?

No.

No, I didn't.

Well, should...
Should I pitch?

Should I be there?

What about Eddie Bane?

What about David Clyde?

Should they have pitched?

They've got nothing
to do with you, kid.

You're a scout, Virgil.

You know more
about baseball
than anybody.

Am I ready?

All's I ever wanted to be

was a big-league
baseball player.

Now I don't know anymore.

If you want something,

sometimes you
got to take a risk.

And if you really
want something,

then you got to be willing
to risk everything,

and that's the scariest
thing in the world, son.

A bit much, huh, kid?

Yeah.

How you feeling?

I'm all right.

♪ Gave proof
through the night

♪ That our flag
was still there

♪ O say does
that star-spangled

♪ Banner yet wave

♪ O'er the land

♪ Of the free

♪ And the home

♪ Of the brave? ♪

Hi, everybody. And welcome
to tonight's ball game

between
the California Angels
and the Kansas City Royals.

I'm Ken Brett. And
the big story tonight

right here at the stadium
as young right-handed
pitcher Sammy Bodeen

takes the mound
against the potent
Kansas City Royals,

who lead the division
with two weeks to go

in the baseball season.

And now,
here's our first look
at the young phenom

that everybody has
come out to see this evening.

And you've got to be wondering,

what is going through
the young man's mind

as he takes the mound
here at the ballpark

for his professional
and his Major League debut

against the Kansas City Royals.

And now
a little background on
the young right-hander,

Sammy Bodeen.

There he is!

He is going to start.

175 pounds
and he's only 20 years old,

a very young man
in a Major League debut.

He played no professional,

in fact, no organized baseball

that we can find.

Because we went all the way
back to Little League.

Hi.Hi.

How you doing?

Oh, you know.

Play ball!

Go get 'em.

Umpire Hank Robinson
signals it's time
to play ball,

and we're under way here
with the professional
and Major League debut

of Sammy Bodeen.

The first batter he faces...

Sean Collins, who has
very good speed.

Bodeen ready to make
his first Major League pitch.

And here it comes.

It's a bunt
down the first base line.

A very good one by Collins

and nobody covers first.

And he's gonna be safe.

Another look at the bunt
in slow motion here.

Just a perfectly placed bunt

between the pitcher's mound
and the first base bag.

Bodeen, as you can see,
the pitcher, a little late
covering.

And Collins is on first
after one pitch.

And that will bring up Rudy Law,

the center fielder,
a .325 hitter,

nine home runs, 61 RBIs.

Bodeen checking Collins,
who's got good speed
at first base.

And here's the pitch.

A swing and a liner to center.

Law has a base hit.

Collins rounds second.
He's on his way to third.

He'll make it
with a head-first dive.

He'll be all right.
He'll be all right.

Runners on
first and third for
the Kansas City Royals.

Hitter now, Garris Touson.

A .291 hitter,
19 home runs,
81 RBIs,

as we start to get into
the power guys
in the Royals line-up.

The pitch as the runner
on first goes.

A throw to second
by Burns, is cut off.

The throw back
to the plate not in time

as the double steal
is perfectly executed
by Kansas City,

as Collins scores.
It's 1-0, Royals.

And moving on to second
is Rudy Law.

Just a perfectly executed
double steal by Kansas City.

Law on second.
Count of 1-and-0.
Now to Touson.

Check to Law,
the runner on second.

And the pitch...

A swing and a grounder
up the middle

past Davidsmeier.

Son of a gun.
Okay!

Coming around from third
to score is Rudy Law.

It's 2 to 0.

And time-out is called already!

Manager Fred Lunney
on his way to the mound
to talk.

Well, they're hitting him.

Now, you can't
let these guys
intimidate you.

Okay?

You settle down.

Kansas City leading 2-0.

Nobody out.
Runner on first

in the top
of the first inning
here at the ballpark.

The batter's going to be
Mark Webb...

Webb has 30 home runs, 109 RBIs.

The pitch, a fastball,
a little high for ball one.

1-and-0 to Webb,
a .285 hitter.

Runner on first.
Still nobody out.
2-0, Royals.

It's a swing
and a line drive...
Base hit.

Bodeen does not look
comfortable on the mound.

And you would think
the butterflies

definitely in evidence
in the young man's stomach

in front of a sellout
crowd here at the stadium.

Here's the pitch.

Look out!
Down he goes!

Did it hit him?
Did it hit the bat?

Umpire Hank Robinson

now deciding to award
first base to Phil Lombardi

and to complicate things
here, bases loaded
and nobody out

for Kansas City.

Virgil.

Do you think he
can turn it around?

He's got a lot of heart, Bobbie.

Ontiveros still
waiting on Bodeen.

There's the swing.
And a high fly ball
to center field.

I'm afraid we're having
a lot of problems
with our friends in the press.

What are they saying?

Well...

They get the feeling
they've been duped.

They think this is all a fraud,

Sammy's just a publicity stunt.

Hank Marshall
particularly
is upset.

He, uh, gave me
a message for you.

He said, read
his column tomorrow,

and it will not be
on the sports page.

Front page is where
it will be found.

I'm sorry.

It's been a rocky start
for Bodeen,

but he has recorded
his first out.

And here's
the first pitch to Lacy.

Low and inside for ball one.

Kansas City, up to this
point in the ballgame,

three runs on four hits,

and we're still in the top
of the first inning.

Runners on first and third.

Bodeen checking with
the catcher, Dan Burns,
gets the sign.

Check of the runners.

Here's the pitch to Lacy.

Grounded past the mound
toward short.

Davidsmeier cuts it off,
throws wide to the plate.

And diving...

Well, I've seen enough.

Weaver.

Get on the phone.
Get him out.

You can't do that.

What? You can't
take the kid out.

Take it easy, Virgil.

He got him into this.

He's gonna have
to stand behind him.

Virgil, can you hear the crowd?

You should
have thought of that
before you started this.

Look, it's my team
and I'll do what I want.

You got a kid out there

that's pitching
from sheer courage.

He's out there
on the mound
all by himself

and he's got to know
that we believe
in him.

If you take him out now,

he may never
be able to pitch
another batter again.

Oh, shut up.

Tim, get on the phone to Fred.

Get the kid out.

I thought you were
a baseball man.

You're the sorriest chump
I've ever seen

take a dump between two shoes.

Call security.
You're fired.

You can't fire me, buddy.

I got a two-year guarantee.

But you know what?

You can take that guarantee

and shove it
where the sun
don't shine.

I quit. Get out!

And take the kid with you.

He's a fraud.

Now get my lawyer

and tell him to
tear up the contract.

Now, get on a phone.
Any phone. I don't care.

You call the dugout.
And get that kid out
of there. Now.

What are you looking at?

What am I looking at?

Your lawyer.

Manager Fred Lunney
pacing that Angels' dugout,

and he's got
to be saying
to himself,

"How much longer
can I go with the
young right-hander?"

It's his confidence.

I think I'll fire myself, too.

What?

Making his way
up to the plate now,

left-handed hitting
Damon Farmar.

The first pitch.
And it's a swing and
a grounder to second.

Randle bobbles, tags McQuade

throws to first,
and they get him.

He did it! End of inning!
Double play!

And Sammy Bodeen
is gonna make his way
into the Angel dugout.

But the damage has been done.

For the Royals,
in the top of the first, four
runs, four hits, no errors.

As we head to the
bottom of the first,
4-0, Kansas City.

Who is it? Weaver.

What does he want?

Yeah?

Hold on a second, Fred.

Yeah, Freddy. No.

No. Let him
start the second.

Look. Don't worry.
We'll survive.

Just get
the bullpen up,
keep them ready.

Anybody makes it
to second base,
you yank him.

Derrel Thomas,
the leadoff hitter,

a .244 hitter
this year,

six home runs, 19 RBIs.

Here's the first pitch
in the bottom of the first.

And he swings.
It's a high fly ball
to center field.

Excuse me, dear.

Hey, watch it!

And Law makes the catch.

One pitch, one away
in the bottom
of the first inning.

Quite a change from
the top of the first.

Lenny Randle, the hitter.
Lenny Randle swings
at the first pitch.

Bounces it right through
Giapistol's legs

and into center field.

So the Angels get
their first base runner.

And the Angel fans finally
have something to cheer
about in this ballgame.

Charlie, I got to see the kid.

Virgil, you know
the dugout's off-limits
to suits.

Runner on first, as the first pitch is
swung on and missed by Davidsmeier.

And it's 0-and-1 as we get our first look
at the Angel third base coach, Mark Budaska.

Giapistol working quickly.
Another pitch, another swing
and a miss.

It's 0-2 to the Angel shortstop.

Hey, Virg.
How you doing?

You look sharp, buddy.

Good luck today, Frankie.

And the throw.
The pitcher's swung
on a miss.

The throw to second.
And that's a double play...

Let's get that first hitter.

Forget them, kid.
Just go for it.

He's going to leave him in.

What the hell's he doing?

Where the hell is Weaver?

Weaver!

Come on, kid.
Come on.

Bodeen just now
finishing up his warm-ups.

The catcher is Dan Burns.

And due up as the lead-off
hitter for Kansas City

will be the catcher Chuck Fick.

Dan Burns making his way
to the mound

with some
last-minute instructions

and to try and settle down
the young right-hander,
Sammy Bodeen.

How you doing, kid?

Virgil?

Shh. Not so loud.
I'm very incognito, son.

What are you, nuts?

They catch you
out here, they'll kick
you out of baseball.

I'm here to tell you
that I was wrong, son.

I'm not doing so good.

That's why
I'm going to
hypnotize you, son.

What?

Remember the first time
you ever threw the ball
to me?

Back home?

Right.

I want you to
go back there
in your mind.

I want you to forget
about this crowd.

I want you to forget
about everything...

Except me.

Then I want you
to throw
the ball to me

the way you did
that one day
in Idaho.

Yeah... But...
Look at this.

No buts.

You got no choices, son.

It's magic.

You're hypnotized.

Very long meeting just
taken place on the mound

between Dan Burns
and Sammy Bodeen.

And it's finally
broken up by the
plate umpire, Hank Robinson.

And we're set
to start here in the
top of the second inning.

Chuck Fick's gonna
start it off for
Kansas City.

Powerful catcher.

A .275 hitter,
25 home runs, 92 RBIs...

Breathe.

Come on.

Come on, son.

Come on.
Come on.

Strike!

Strike two! Yes!

That's it.
Sammy, that's it.

That's throwing that pill.

Yes.

Strike! You're out!

Strike three called
and down goes Fick.

Three pitches
and he gets his first
Major League strikeout.

And it's one out
here in the top of
the second inning.

One down!

That's the kid
I saw the other day.
That's him.

And the next hitter
will be Tony Tarasco.

Tarasco, left-handed hitter,

asks for time out,
getting settled in the box.

Strike!

Attaboy, Sam. Tell him, Daddy.

When I'm right, I'm right.

All right, kid.

Two down, Sammy.

You're out!

Two down!

One more.
One more.

Sammy! Sammy!
Sammy!

Sammy! Sammy! Sammy!

Sammy! Sammy! Sammy!

Strike!

Come on, kid.

Strike two!

Time out, ump. Time out!

You're doing great, kid.

Having fun?

I am now.

Just one more strike,
and this guy's history,
and so am I.

Mendoza will be in next inning.

Do me a favor.

He's a rookie,
so take care of him.

My whole life,
the only thing
I ever wanted to do

was play in the big show,

catch one inning
of a Major League
pitcher.

You made my dreams
come true, son.

You're one hell of a pitcher.

Now, do me a favor.

Throw me a fastball
that knocks
my socks off.

You want me to close my eyes?

No. I don't
ever want you to
close your eyes again.

Sammy! Sammy! Sammy!

Sammy! Sammy! Sammy!

Strike three!

Yeah! Yeah!

That was you
out there,
wasn't it?

You could tell? Mmm-hmm.

How did it feel to catch
a Major League game?

Fantastic.

Well...

You got a big problem now.

You can't tell anyone.

I want a million dollar bonus,

non-refundable upon
signing my new contract.

I want one million
dollars a year,

guaranteed for six years,

and I want to be paid

whether I'm injured or not.

Oh. And one
more thing, Gil.

I won't play on artificial turf.

Do it with me.

You're so silly.