“Stop crying! Crying in sports is bad!”

I don’t watch a lot of films. It was not until this month that I saw two classic sports films. But, watching both in such proximity, I wind up asking, what if both plots could fit in a story…?

Spring 1943:
Pops: I should go work on a farm.
Coach: Okay, go.
Pops: What?
Coach: I’m not tying you down. Go work on a farm if you want to.
Pops: But…if our Knights don’t win, I won’t own any of this squad.
Coach: Right. But is it important, out on a farm?
Pops: Good point. So long!
Coach: So long.
Pops walks out. A guy with a funny bat walks in.
Coach: What’s this, a follow-up co-coach?
Guy: No. I’m Roy Hobbs. I’m your shortstop.
Coach: My shortstop, huh? You still in high school?
Roy: No, sir.
Coach: You got all four limbs?
Roy: That’s right.
Coach: You…black or anything?
Roy: No, sir.
Coach: You…actually a woman?
Roy: No.
Coach: So why don’t you go join our army?
Roy: I got shot.
Coach: In Italy?
Roy: No, sir. Two springs back. Army doctors said I couldn’t go abroad to fight. But I can still play ball.
Coach: Okay, sounds good.

A board room.
Branch: What’s with that Giants guy who said “Oh, I’ll show up?”
Philip: Just trying to falsify his tax data or stuff. Wait. Giants? I don’t know of any Giants in this division.
Branch: Oh, shut up.
Philip: Okay. So what’s up?
Branch: You said that our good old NL is not thriving with our stars out fighting in Japan. So, I think I ought to fix things up. How about this…
Branch puts his hand by his mouth to talk softly.
Philip: Nah. Too radical. But…

A farm.
Pops: Wow, farming sucks.
Dad: I know right?
Pops: Shut up, county podunk.
Dad: Shut up, city punk.
Mom: Good luck, girls!
Pops: What’s up?
Dad: Our girls play softball for our dairy squad.
Pops: Softball. Lulz.
Brrring brrring!
Pops (grabbing it): Hi? No, I’m on a stupid farm far away…right, a farmboy prodigy struck out Jimmy Dugan two springs back, but what good did that do him?…okay, okay.
Pops (to Mom and Dad): So, can I go watch this softball?

Softball “stadium”.
Kit (having struck out): Bah.
Dotty: Stay away from high fastballs.
Kit: Shut up.
Dotty racks up a GWRBI.
Pops: You want to go play ball in Chicago?
Kit: Sounds good!
Dotty: Hah! I know what occurs if guys to and try to play ball in Chicago.
Kit: What occurs?
Dotty: Nothing good.
Kit: Spoilsport. I’ll go!
Pops: No, I just want your sibling. But if you go along, so can you.
Kit: Don’t just stick around this farm always. I want to go away.
Dotty: You’ll just wind up hurt.
Kit: No I won’t.
Dotty: Okay, all right, okay.

As a halfway-good coach on a bad squad, that coach allows Roy to hit right away–things can only turn good. Roy hits with skill, and his Knights start improving.
Coach: That’s a cool bat.
Roy: I know right?
Bump: You took my spot. Boo you.
Roy: Not my fault, is it?

Kit and Dotty go to tryouts and wind up both playing for Rockford, with drunk wash-up Jimmy Dugan coaching.

Dotty: Um, coach?
Dugan drools.
Dotty: Coach?
Dugan spits.
Dotty: Can my son join our squad for road trips?
Dugan’s chin drops down as Dugan sloops down, unconscious.
Dotty: Okay. Sounds good.

A dark room.
Knights boss: What’s with this?
Bump: It’s that Hobbs guy winning too much.
Knights boss: I can’t pay you if you don’t throw anything.
Bump: So what should I do?
Knights boss: Find a way for Hobbs to crash into a wall and fall unconscious. I don’t know.
Bump: Hobbs is a shortstop. Took my spot and all.
Knights boss: So what?
Bump: Shortstops don’t run into walls, you ignorant twit.
Knights boss: I don’t know anything about sports.

Dotty: Okay, our “coach” is out of it, so I will call plays. I touch my lips, you run. Touch my chin, you bunt. Hold my baby, hit-and run. Got that?
Rockford squad: Okay.
Rockford wins a lot.

Giants stadium
Pops: Hobbs?
Roy: What?
Pops: I saw you with Lola last night.
Roy: So what, coach? I’m a grown man. And our big boss said Lola is cool.
Pops: I know. It’s just…that woman is bad luck, okay?
Roy shrugs.

Dugan: Oy, you moron, you should swing away?
Marla: But my sign was “bunt”!
Dugan: I’m your coach! I do your signs?
Marla: No, actually, it’s Dotty who signs.
Dugan: Shut up. I’m going to boss around this squad now.
Dotty: Took you too long!
Dugan: Watch it.
Dotty: That’s right. I watch it. I watch our actual sport as you sit around and do nothing.
Dugan: Okay. Um, that stops now.
Dotty: That’s what you said about your drinking habit, didn’t you?
Ump: Oy. Batta up or what?
Kit: Sorry.

Roy slumps a lot, stopping a hot Knights run.

Philip: Oh, this is Dotty Hinson, huh?
Dotty: Yup. Hi.
Philip: Hi. So, this division is doing poorly. Can you, um, look cool for a photograph so fans will show up?
Kit: Oh, look cool, huh? Having to walk about in stupid uniforms that don’t allow good running still isn’t cool? What do you want? Us to act dumb all day?
Dotty: Kit! Sorry. I’ll try.

Dotty shows off during a catch, and winds up in a popular photograph. Roy, passing through Illinois on a Knights road trip, winds up with a copy.
Roy: Oh my gosh, that’s Dotty Hinson!
Roy, happy, hits a pitch off a clock at Philip’s stadium.
Philip: So now my cool stadium is falling apart. This sucks.

Roy and Dotty find a Chicago bar to catch up in.
Roy: So you play ball, huh?
Dotty: Yup. And you? Why didn’t you call?
Roy: I got shot.
Dotty: What?
Roy: Yup.
Dotty: I’m so sorry.
Roy: It’s cool. I can play again, without having to go fight.
Dotty: All right.

Roy’s form picks up, and his Knights win lots. Rockford, too, wins a lot; Dotty’s photo draws fans into stadium stands (okay, not Philip’s, but so what).

Dugan: I’m pulling you.
Kit: Why? That’s not fair?
Dugan: Um, with only six backups, pitching and non-pitching too, you pitch a lot and your arm is about to fall off?
Kit: I can still pitch.
Dotty: No you can’t.
Kit: Boo. You suck.
Dotty: Kit!

That night:

Dotty: I can’t do this. I can’t stick around.
Philip: But you must!
Dotty: Not with Kit. It’s just too hard.
Philip: I’ll pull a string or two. Stay.

Soon following:

Kit: You suck. I must go play in Normal.
Dugan: Is that a city?
Kit: Normal, Illinois.
Dugan: How about Abnormal, Illinois, with girls playing ball? Durr hurr hurr.
Dotty: Shut up, you misogynistic, chauvinistic sot. Kit, not all that you go through is my fault.
Kit: It is too.
Kit stomps out.

Dugan: Sorry I must say this, but, uh, Horn? Your husband got shot.
Horn: Oh no!
Dotty: You poor thing. I’m so sorry.

That night:

Dugan: Can you try and support Horn? You must know how it is.
Dotty: How what is?
Dugan: Your husband dying.
Dotty: I’m not a widow.
Dugan: But…your son? Your lack of husband?
Dotty: It’s a long story.
Dugan: Now that you bring it up, you don’t mock in subtly flirtatious ways now. What’s up?
Dotty: I saw my son’s dad again. But I don’t think I’m part of his story, now.
Dugan: I’m sorry.
Dotty: It’s okay.
Dugan: So if you won’t stay with him, can I flirt with you now?
Dotty: No, you drunk, obnoxious, twit.
Dugan: Watch your mouth, you show-off, annoying, MVP.
Dotty: Go back to your room, you ridiculous, stupid, idiot.
Dugan: Don’t boss your coach around, you arrogant, stuck-up, farmgirl.
Dotty: This is sort of fun.
Dugan: And it turns your coach on.
Dotty: Okay, go away now.

Rockford and Normal wind up playing for AAGPBL championship #1.

Dotty: I can’t do this. I want to go try and find my son’s dad. A sports championship isn’t as important as family.
Dugan: Is your son’s dad busy right now?
Dotty: Um, sort of. I think. Possibly not as busy in fall.
Dugan: So wait until fall.
Dotty: Good point.

Both squads win two matchups, bringing on a dramatic fifth-try finish. Normal go up 1-0, but Rockford go in front thanks to Dotty’s big hit. Kit bats with two outs and Normal losing.
Dotty: Go with high fastballs!
Kit hits a high fastball to walk off.
Dotty: Oops.
Malamud: Oh my gosh, this squad I was watching for many months lost its big matchup! How cool is that?
Kit: I’m your protagonist, and I won, so that is cool in a…normal way.
Malamud: Oh, shut up.

Kit signs autographs for small girls.
Kit: You gonna play ball as a big girl?
Small girl: No, I’m gonna fight for inclusion in boys’ divisions and fail. My girls will just play softball.
Kit: Oh, okay, that works too. Oh hi.
Dotty: Hi.
Kit: So…sorry about stuff.
Dotty: It’s okay.
Kit: Okay, cool.
Dotty: Cool.

With his Knights about to clinch, an angry Knights boss poisons Roy, who winds up in a hospital as Bump throws a bunch of important must-wins. That boss visits Roy.

Boss: I brought you a bunch of cash. Now don’t play.
Roy: Oh cool, a guy thinks I’m so fit I could actually play! Thank you!
Boss: Shut up.

Dotty visits Roy too.

Roy: I want to play tomorrow.
Dotty: Is that okay?
Roy: I don’t know. It could strain my wound. But I want to try.
Dotty: Sports is so important to you, isn’t it. As important as family?
Roy: What has family got to do with anything?
Dotty: Um…nothing. Good luck if you do play.

Roy visits his boss.
Roy: I don’t want your cash.
Boss: Ah, nuts. Shoot you!
Lola: But boss, Roy is kinda good-looking.
Roy runs for it.

With his Knights losing 2-0 with two outs, Roy fouls a pitch off to hurt his big boss, and fouls off a pitch again but his bat cracks.

Roy: Oh, snap, that was my good bat.
Dotty: Try this!
Dotty hands him Dotty’s AAGPBL bat.
Roy: Worth a shot.
Roy hits a shot up into lighting for a Knights victory
Philip: Stop ruining all our ballparks!

Roy, Dotty, and Dotty’s son (actually Roy’s too), go work on a farm. Kit thinks this is a stupid plan, and sticks with playing ball.


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