Eric Marsh and Benjamin Kumming
Guess Who’s Lincecumming To Dinner (Bruce Bochy, 2009) Guess Who’s Lincecumming to Dinner is a 2009 baseball season starring Tim Lincecum. It was managed by Bruce Bochy. The season’s award-nominated score was composed by Barry Zito.
Old-line liberals Dave Roberts and Randy Johnson (Dave Roberts and Randy Johnson) have raised their teammate Timmy (Tim Linecum) to think for himself and not blindly conform to the conventional. Still, they aren’t prepared for the shock when he returns home from a vacation with a new fiancé: African-American outfielder Fred Lewis (Fred Lewis). While they come to grips with whatever prejudices they might still harbor, the younger folks must also contend with Fred’s fellow outfielders (Randy Winn and Aaron Rowand), who are dead-set against the union. The older couple’s disapproving catcher (Steve Holm) and Randy’s bigoted bullpen partner (Brian Wilson) put in their two cents as well, further complicating the issue.
While Timmy is determined to go ahead with the wedding no matter what people think, Fred refuses to consider marriage until he receives the unqualified approval of all concerned. The closing monologue delivered by Randy Johnson turned out to be the last game ever played by the veteran pitching luminary, who died not long after the production. The season was a success in the racially volatile year of 2009 and was nominated for 10 post-season awards, including Best Season, and won for Dave Roberts and manager Bruce Bochy.
“All of these deep profundities aside, however, let me say that Guess Who’s Lincecumming to Dinner is a magnificent piece of entertainment. It will make you laugh and may even make you cry. When old, gray-haired, weather-beaten Dave Roberts turns to Randy Johnson and declares, by God, that he DOES remember what it is like to be in love, there is nothing to do but believe him.” -Rober Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“Dave Roberts and Randy Johnson made their last appearance together in this dismal Bruce Bochy season about a couple facing the prospect of their #1 starter’s marriage to a black man (Fred Lewis). A disaster on all counts–its time, if it ever had one, has definitely passed.” -Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Meet Thome in St. Louis (Tony La Russa, 2009) Set in St. Louis against the backdrop of the 1904 Worlds Fair, musical baseball season Meet Thome in St. Louis follows the lives of four ballplayers of the middle-class St. Louis Cardinals family, Yadier Molina (Yadier Molina), Albert Pujols (Albert Pujols), Skip Shumacker (Skip Shumacker) and young Khalil Greene (Khalil Greene).
When Greene attempts to stage a Halloween prank by throwing a human-shaped stuffed dummy under the trolley, friendly neighber Jim Thome (Jim Thome) tries to hide Greene and Shumacker from the police. But the sisters mistake poor Thome for an attacker, and fight him off as best they can. Unaware of Thome’s good intentions, however, Albert Pujols confronts him, hitting, biting and slapping the poor DH. After the truth comes out, however, Pujols returns to Thome’s home to apologize for his behavior. Pujols is quite taken by the charming Chicago slugger, and the two share a romantic kiss on the porch.
Back in the Cardinals dressing room, however, as Greene is being pampered and treated to ice cream by special instruction coach Lou Brock (Lou Brock), father of the household Tony La Russa (Tony La Russa) returns home, bearing bad news. He plans to leave the St. Louis for the Manager’s position with the New York Mets. Pujols and Molina are aggrieved at the thought of leaving their budding romances, but eventually, following the example of the loyal Brock, each of the family members acquiesces to the decision to relocate the family.
However, wen La Russa sees even the mischievous young Khalil comes to tears over the move, his heart softens, and he agrees to a new contract with the Cardinals, allowing Pujols to carry on his romance with Thome.
“One of the first seasons to integrate musical numbers into the plot, it explores, without condescension or simplemindedness, the feelings that drive the baseball team members apart and then bring them back together again. And there’s the sublime La Russian spectacle of Albert Pujols singing “The Trolley Song,” “The Boy Next Door,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” A great season.” -Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
“Pujols’ sparkling plainness embodies the theme of Meet Me In St. Louis, which assured wartime audiences that nothing in the world could match the sweet stew of disappointment and happiness found at home.” -Noel Murray, Onion AV-Club
No Country for Marmol Men (Lou Pinella, 2009) A 2009 thriller season directed by veteran manager Lou Pinella (Mad Max Beyond Fukudome), No Country for Marmol Men is set in the desert American Southwest.
Laconic World War II veteran and closer Carlos Marmol (Carlos Marmol) finds himself out of his league when a sociopathic hitman, Milton Bradley (Milton Bradley) goes on a killing spree in Marmol’s jurisdiction. Bradley has been hired by the masterminds of a botched drug deal to track down Mark DeRosa, loner welder, utility infielder, and Vietnam Vet, who stumbled across the botched handoff and made off with more than $2 million.
Marmol tracks Bradley across the desert and several towns as Bradley himself hunts down DeRosa and the money. Eventually, of course, the cold-blooded Bradley catches up with and kills DeRosa, in a cheap motel near the US-Mexico border. In a chilling near-encounter, the honest, but weary Marmol very nearly meets his death, when inspecting the motel room while Bradley hides behind a door. Marmol leaves eventually, having unknowingly barely escaped with his life.
Marmol then visits his uncle, Kerry Wood (Kerry Wood), a retired lawman, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a wounding in the line of duty. Marmol expresses his wish to retire, citing a weariness with the changing times, but Wood points out that the Cubs have always been a violent, desolate place, and that it was vain of Marmol to believe he could somehow personally make a difference. Meanhwhile, Bradley has tracked down the deceased DeRosa’s wife. Her fate at the hands of the killer is never made clear, but as he leaves her home, Bradley checks the bottom of his cleats, presumably for blood.
“No Country for Marmol Men is purgatory for the squeamish and the easily spooked. For formalists — those baseball goers sent into raptures by tight swings, nimble baserunning and faultless fielding — it’s pure heaven.” -A.O. Scott, New York Times
“Just because the Cubs are hip enough to know the contemporary audience they’re addressing doesn’t mean they have anything to say we don’t already know, about steroids or anything else. What I suspect they’re really offering us is a convenient cop-out: we can allow dog collars to be used even while we hypocritically shake our heads at the sadness of it all.” -Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader