73 Sports Movies In 73 Days: ‘The Scout’

As I’ve mentioned several times already in this quest to fill the time leading up to the 2013 NFL season, a lot of the 73 Sports Movies in 73 Days that I’ve been watching are films that I’ve watched before, but it has been so long since I’ve watched some of them that I don’t remember if they were truly good films or not. Again, for example, I once thought that Hot to Trot was one of the funniest movies ever made. After watching it again, I realized that I was a dumb, dumb child. Thank goodness I grew up. *laughs at armpit fart*

Today’s sports movie is the 1994 baseball comedy, The Scout, which I’ve always revered as a fun, clever film about the trouble with young players and how team management can sometimes really be the scum of the Earth. But after watching it again this weekend, I came to a realization that didn’t necessarily change my mind about this film, but one of the other films that I’ve already written about.

The Plot in Less Than 503 Words

Al Percolo was a scout for the New York Yankees, and he’d do anything to make sure that the Yankees keep bringing in the top talent, because they’re the Yankees and everyone wants to play for the Yankees. Yankees, Yankees, Yankees.

After striking out on a hitting prospect who is in a humiliating 0-for-61 slump, Al feasts his eyes on a young phenom pitcher played by Michael Rappaport, but this kid and his family are super religious and have put education and family first. So Al lies to them about being religious and he tricks them into letting him sign with the Yankees. Of course, on the night of his first start, the prospect has a meltdown in the clubhouse bathroom and refuses to pitch. Al is banished to scout in Mexico, because Mexico is the worst place on Earth apparently.

However, it is in Mexico that Al discovers an unknown 5-tool American pitcher named Steve Nebraska, who is practically worshipped by the local fans. The guy throws a million miles an hour and hits moonshot home runs, and Al sees that he’s finally found his King Kong, so he quickly convinces Steve to come back to the States and put on a tryout for all of the teams. But Al wants the Yankees to sign him, because he’ll show them for sending him to Mexico. So he enlists hitting legends Keith Hernandez and… Brett Saberhagen? Yup, Brett Saberhagen shows up to bat against Steve. No need for a consultant on this film.

Of course, just like his last pitching prospect, Al realizes he has another nutjob on his hands, and only after Steve signs the richest contract in baseball history at $55 million (oh, those were the days) and agrees to pitch Game 1 of the World Series if the Yankees make it – because teams always let unproven prospects pitch Game 1 – does he enlist Dianne Wiest as a therapist to help Steve through his psychotic daddy issues.

Meanwhile, Steve’s the toast of the Big Apple, and he even one-ups Tony Bennett at a small show by forcing the iconic singer to sing, “New York, New York”, which is his closing song, but nobody cares, because this guy is going to save the Yankees! Of course, his mere presence inspires the Yankees to win all the way to the World Series, so now Steve has to pitch Game 1, but – UH OH! He can’t handle the pressure.

Steve ends up on the roof of Yankee Stadium and begs Al not to make him pitch, and Al agrees because he finally realizes the error of his way. Fortunately, Al’s realization makes Steve want to pitch and he takes a helicopter down to the pitcher’s mound, because that’s what they do in baseball. Steve then proceeds to not only strike out all 27 St. Louis Cardinals batters in a row for a perfect game, but he also hits two home runs to give the Yankees the 2-0 victory.

An Important Thought About Pitching Mechanics in Baseball Movies

After watching this film again, I thought back to how I dubbed Freddie Prinze Jr.’s pitching mechanics in Summer Catch the worst I’d ever seen in a baseball movie, but I’m going to strip the WWE producer of that title and award it instead to Michael Rappaport. You can judge for yourself here, first with Freddie’s conveniently edited pitching mechanics…

And now with Michael’s equally-conveniently-edited pitching mechanics…

I know a lot of people always want to throw Tim Robbins’ pitching from Bull Durham into the mix, but I think his awful mechanics were all part of the charm of that film. The truth is that there have been very few actors who have ever been able to really make it look like they’d ever thrown a ball in a movie about baseball, but I just can’t get past these two horrible efforts. But like I said, I’m going to revoke Freddie’s crown and give it to Michael, mainly because of that hair. Holy hell, that hair.

Final Grade: One really depressing plate of spaghetti noodles.