Mr. Baseball


Mr. Baseball Information


Mr. Baseball is a 1992 American film that starred Tom Selleck and was directed by Fred Schepisi.

Plot

Jack Elliot is an aging American baseball player unsuspectingly put on the trading block by the New York Yankees in favor of a rookie first-baseman (played by former Chicago White Sox player Frank Thomas), and there's only one taker: the Nagoya Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.

Right away, the arrogant Elliot clashes with the Japanese culture and the team's manager; and he soon alienates his new teammates. He believes the rules and management style of his new skipper, Uchiyama (Ken Takakura), are ludicrous, and continues to do things his way, which leads his already dwindling performance to suffer that much more. His only ally on the team is another American ballplayer, Max "Hammer" Dubois (Dennis Haysbert), but even he's fed up with Jack's attitude and lack of respect for the game and his team.

At the same time, Elliot develops a relationship with the beautiful Hiroko (Aya Takanashi), who is, he later finds out, Uchiyama's daughter.

After one too many outbursts, including punching out his interpreter (during a brawl), Elliot is suspended from play. After meeting Hiroko's family, including Uchiyama, Uchiyama admits to Jack that he hired him over the objections of management (they wanted Pete Clifton from the Boston Red Sox) and now his own career, not just Jack's, is in jeopardy. After hearing this, Elliot swallows his pride and admits his deficiencies. In a rare show of humility, he apologizes to the team, who rally around him and teach him the value of sportsmanship and respect for hard work. Uchiyama lifts his suspension and begins to work with Elliot on improving his play. The reinvigorated Elliot's enthusiasm for team play is contagious and the mediocre Dragons become contenders for the Central League pennant. In the process, he also utilizes a Japanese tradition of being able to tell off Uchiyama while intoxicated to convince him to encourage his players to be more aggressive and "have a little fun."

Eventually, Elliot gets the opportunity to break Uchiyama's record of seven consecutive games with a home run. His new-found respect for team play becomes apparent in a crucial game against the Yomiuri Giants. With the bases loaded, two outs and his team down 6-5, the team brass expects Uchiyama to signal for a bunt to try and tie the game, even though it would deny Elliot the chance to break the home run record. Elliot goes to Uchiyama and asks if he read the sign correctly. Uchiyama nods and tells him to swing away, knowing that a home run would break his record. Elliot takes a called strike one with a questionable call on the first pitch. Elliot fouls the second pitch back. Faced with a no ball, two strike count, Elliot sees the Giants' infield is playing deep and bunts. The Giants are caught off guard and the bunt is successful in allowing the tying run to cross home plate. As the Giants struggle to field the ball, Elliot runs through the bag and knocks over the Giants' first baseman (a fellow American expat), which allows the winning run to score from second base.

With the Dragons winning the pennant, Max and Elliot return to Major League Baseball. Max signs a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending his five year career in NPB, and Elliot, who is married to Hiroko, becomes a coach and mentor with the Detroit Tigers. The movie ends with one of the players calling him Chief, the same name he called Uchiyama in Japan.

Cast

  • Tom Selleck as Jack Elliot
  • Ken Takakura as Uchiyama
  • Aya Takanashi as Hiroko Uchiyama
  • Dennis Haysbert as Max 'Hammer' Dubois
  • Toshi Shioya as Yoji Nishimura
  • Kosuke Toyohara as Toshi Yamashita
  • Toshizo Fujiwara as Ryoh Mukai

Production

Fred Schepisi later said he felt as though the film was not as good as it could have been:

[It] was just supposed to be about cultural differences using the baseball game, but also there was much funnier stuff. When he goes down to see the father and there's the noodle scene, all of that, that's the kind of humour that could have been throughout the whole film. Again the studio and Tom Selleck had script approval, which I didn't realise when I agreed to do it. I went in to help them out. They didn't understand it, so they pulled it into the conventional.



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mr._Baseball" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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