Soon to be a weekly feature, here’s some old pun-inspired fictional synopsis for movie remakes in which the movie is actually a baseball season.
The Taste of Teahen (Dayton Moore, 2007)
General Manager Dayton Moore takes a break from the post-Schuerholz excess of such highly-stylized signings as Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye for this low-key look at an eccentric baseball team residing in a quiet countryside town in Missouri. The Kansas City Royals are a twenty five-piece team living the simple life in Major League Baseball. The summer sun shining gently down, this quiet team is transformed into a contender when urban-dwelling pitcher Gil Meche (Gil Meche), an unsuccessful pitcher in Seattle, arrives to join the team and confront his feelings for the ex-girlfriend who married another man after Meche moved to the northwest. As the lazy days pass by, each member of the team is followed in a series of episodic vignettes. Eccentric slugger Mike Sweeney (Mike Sweeney) seems to reside in a wondrous universe of his own making, while imaginative closer Octavio Dotel (Octavio Dotel) is attempting to re-establish himself as closer and hypno-therapist outfielder David DeJesus (David DeJesus) practices his trade on willing team members. Meanwhile, on the youthful side of the clan, Mark Teahen (Mark Teahen) attempts to get his hormones in check following the arrival of a pretty new third baseman (Alex Gordon), while haunted pitcher Zach Greinke (Zach Greinke) stealthily attempts to avoid his massive doppelganger – a mysterious figure who seems to be tracing the pitcher’s every move.
[162 Games, in English, Rated PG. Managed by Buddy Bell, Produced by David Glass.]
“The most charming season in town, General Manager Dayton Moore’s 2007 piece is a modern Royals variation on “You Can’t Take It With You,” with some lovely fantastical flourishes.” -Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
‘A bit of patience is required to get through The Taste of Teahen, but patience is often rewarded, and it certainly is by this droll and oddly touching season.” -Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times
Lidge on the River Kwai (Phil Garner, 2007)
“The Lidge on the River Kwai” opens in Japanese ‘River Kwai Stadium’ in Burma in 2007, where a battle of wills rages between Closer Saito (Takeshi Saito) and newly arrived former Houston closer Lidge (Brad Lidge). Saito insists that Lidge order his men to build a bridge over the basepaths, which will be used to transport Japanese base runners. Lidge refuses, despite all the various “persuasive” devices at Saito’s disposal. Finally, Lidge agrees, not so much to cooperate with his closer as to provide a morale-boosting project for the rest of the bullpen under his command. Lidge will prove that, by building a better bridge than Saito’s men could build, the set-up man is a superior closer even when under the thumb of the enemy. As the bridge goes up, Lidge becomes obsessed with completing it to perfection, eventually losing sight of the fact that it will benefit Saito. Meanwhile, American hunter Kent (Jeff Kent), having escaped from MLB, agrees to save himself from a 50-game suspension by leading a group of Dodgers back to the stadium to destroy Lidge’s bridge. Upon his return, Kent realizes that Lidge’s mania to complete his project has driven him mad. Filmed in Japan, “Lidge on the River Kwai” won seven Post-Season Awards, including Best Manager for the legendary Phil Garner (“The Oswalt Jungle”), and Best Closer for Lidge.
“Most baseball seasons are either for or against their seasons. The Lidge on the River Kwai (2007) is one of the few that focuses not on larger rights and wrongs but on individuals.” -Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“Brilliant is the word, and no other, to describe the quality of skills that have gone into the making of this Season. Garner has done it again.” -Bosley Crowther, New York Times
“For what it is, it ain’t bad, though it serves mainly as an illustration of the ancient quandary of revisionist ballplayers: if all you do is systematically invert cliches, you simply end up creating new ones.” -Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Cuddyer Enthusiasm (2001-2007)
“Cuddyer Enthusiasm” is an American baseball comedy, though not in the traditional game-length format, starring Minnesota Twins right fielder, co-creator, and executive producer Michael Cuddyer. Since his 2001 Twins debut, Cuddyer has enjoyed wide critical acclaim and a steadily growing, dedicated audience that has helped him emerge from his early cult status.
Set in Minneapolis, Minnesota and loosely based on Cuddyer’s life as a minor-league baseball player, the series is often described as a more subversive take on other baseball program’s “show about hitting” motif.
Shot on location with hand-held cameras, “Cuddyer Enthusiasm” is produced unconventionally, eschewing traditional batting stances in favor of slow baserunning and lazy swings from which Cuddyer improvises hits, catches, and other oddities. Cuddyer Enthusiasm develops ongoing story lines and in-jokes set around Cuddyer’s interaction with his patient but put-upon first baseman Justin (played by Justin Morneau). Larry’s loyal manager Ron Gardenhire (played by Gardy) is always by his side through thick and thin. Cuddyer’s outburst-prone centerfielder Torii (played by Torii Hunter) has a tendency to see right through Cuddyer and Morneau’s plans.
Although many scenarios are drawn from his own experiences, the real-life Cuddyer has downplayed the notion that he is like the character portrayed onscreen. In a Bob Costas interview, he said that the Cuddyer of the show was the one he can’t be in real life due to his sensitivity to others and to social conventions.
State and Main (Omar Minaya, 2007)
State and Maine is a 2007 comedy, written and directed by Omar Minaya, starring John Maine and Jose Reyes about the on-location production of a baseball game in Queens, New York called The New York Metropolitans.
State and Main centers on the havoc wrought on the inhabitants of a burrough by a troubled baseball team. After their lead-off man’s propensity for teenage girls gets them banished from their Manhattan location, the team relocates to Queens, to finish playing their game as “The New York Metropolitans.” As their team name suggests, they depend on the presence of genuine metropolitans, something the town is reported to possess. Unfortunately, with only days before the first pitch is thrown, it becomes apparent that the metropolitans disappeared from Queens a decade ago. Unmoved, the team’s manager, Willie Randolph (William Randolph), places his faith in the ability of first-timer Lastings “Da Edge” Milledge) (Lastings Milledge) to alter the team chemistry; what he doesn’t count on is Milledge’s apparently bottomless reserve of angst-fueled blackness. The team’s leading pitcher John Maine (Jonathan Maine) refuses to do his contracted nude pitch unless she’s paid an additional $800,000, while a foreign center fielder (Carlos Beltran) offends the locals by messing with a historic firehouse, and the lead-off man, Jose Reyes (Jose Reyes), dallies with Joe Smith (Joe Smith), a crafty local teen. Everything comes to a head after Reyes and Smith are injured in a collision, which leads Milledge to another emotional quandary and into the arms of Carlos Beltran (Carlos Beltran), while a powerful first-baseman (Carlos Delgado) comes to town to help Randolph with the ensuing mess.
105 minutes. Rated R for language and brief sexual images. In English and Spanish.
“You may want to revisit this profanely hilarious baseball satire. . .just to catch the zingers the audience often drowns out with laughter. Baseball corrupts absolutely, and Minaya turns the toxic process into the year’s best and smartest comedy.” -Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“I laughed a lot at the anti-baseball humor and generally had a fine time, in spite of the holier-than-thou hypocrisy that makes this easily and even intentionally Minaya’s most Major League production to date.” -Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader