The Rookie (2002) Script

There's a story told in the town of Big Lake, Texas.

A story of the town's beginnings. lt's the story of the Santa Rita number one, the birthplace of west Texas oil.

Now, as with most Texas legends, there was a man who thought oil was right beneath his feet.

And as with most such stories, no one else believed him.

Except, in this case, for two nuns, who in 1923 met the man and believed so much in him and his dream that they invested money no one knew they had.

Now, when the nuns told their parish priest about the man's dream and their investment in it, now, he counselled them to try and get their money back.

Sheepishly, they admitted that it was too late.

That the money was already spent.

Well, the priest, he sighed, shook his head and offered just one small bit of advice.

Bless the site with rose petals and invoke the help of Saint Rita, patron saint of impossible dreams.

And while the workers waited for the oil that would eventually come, they played baseball.

He's outta here.

Played baseball so well, that some were able to give up the dirt and the despair, and went on to play major league ball, in the glory days of Ruth and Gehrig.


l've heard and told that story on many occasions, but that was long before Saint Rita decided to bless our little town just one more time.

Yeah!

First game in the big leagues, and Jimmy Morris has a no-hitter going.

Jimmy, don't throw it so hard. My hands are cold.

-What are you doing? -Waiting till spring, that's what I'm doing.

Jimmy? Your father and I need to talk to you.

I hear Virginia's real nice.

At least that's what the Navy folks told your father.

-Isn't that right, Jim? -We'll just be moving again.

It's my job to decide when we move. It's yourjob to make the best of it.

Jim? Please.

Who knows? Maybe it won't snow so much in Virginia.

Jimmy Morris with another masterful pitching performance, well on his way to another World Series title.

Jimmy! Your father and I need to talk to you.


Strike three!

Hey.

Jimmy.

-Hey, partner. How ya doing? -Hey.

-Hey, Dad. -Jimmy.

I had a good game. Thirteen strikeouts.

Did you win?

Just found out there's a chance we may be restationed again.

-How much of a chance? -It's in West Texas.

The Navy wants me to be a recruiter there.

Texas?

-When? -Three weeks.

But, Dad, we still got half our season to play.

I'm aware of that.

Well, maybe I could stay with the Johnsons.

We move as a family.

I don't have a choice in this.

What kind of baseball do they have?

They don't.

I hear they might be starting some summer ball.

Yes, sir.


What are those things?

-What? -Those things moving up and down.

Oil rigs.

When those things are moving up and down, means times are good.

Looks like times are good.


Shoot.

We must have left some of them back in Florida.

-Left what? -I packed a couple of boxes with socks and things. I could've sworn...

Jimmy, did you find that one box? Oh, no.

-It's okay, Mom. -Don't worry, honey, we'll find it.

I've never known a boy to get so upset about losing his socks.

His glove was in there.

-His what? -His glove was in there.

Quit moping and grab a box.

Did you hear me?

There are more important things in life than baseball.

The sooner you figure that out, the better.


This Lee Ivaco-cocus guy, I guarantee you, within two years, three years tops, he's gonna run that company right out of business.

Ain't that right, young man?

Eileen?

Eileen!

I guess she gone to lunch.

Help you find something, son?

-Socks. -Socks we have.

In contrast to common sense, which we seem to be running a little short on today.

I'll be right down. Don't look at my dominoes.

All right, sir, we got white socks with red stripes, black stripes, blue stripes.

Over there you got all your solids in black, blue, brown and grey.

Just take your pick.

That's a real nice pair, right there.

You visiting?

-We just moved here. -Oh, well, then I'm Henry Sampson.

Nice to meet you. Jimmy Morris.

Welcome to Big Lake, Mr Jimmy Morris.


You know, son, I can probably tell you where it is a whole lot quicker than you can find it.

-Got any baseball stuff? -Baseball stuff.

We don't get much call for baseball stuff around these parts.

Now if it was football, that'd be a whole different story.

You know something, though? I got a catalogue over here that just might help us out some. Let's take a look at that.

Yeah, I think we might find something in here.

You know, if you're interested in baseball, there's a story that people here in this town tell that you probably ought to hear.

I thought you said nobody here cared about baseball.

They care about this.

It all started with a couple of nuns and piece of ground not too far from here.


-Morning, Esther. -Morning, Jimmy.

Any more rattlesnakes on the playground?

Yeah. Two this morning. I swear those things show up every time the oil business goes bad.

-They gonna bring the kids in? -They're thinking about it.

Don't these families have enough to worry about?

-Coach. -Counsellor.

-Don't report that, Esther. -I never do.

Sum means that we're adding. We have at least two items.

Don't make this hard, but what are we adding here?

-Protons and... -Neutrons?

Neutrons. Neutrons.

So, David, these protons and these neutrons, they're inside of what?

-The nucleus? -Well, don't say it like a question, son.

If you think you know it, just say it like you know it.

-The nucleus. -That's right. The nucleus.

So, congratulations. Go home tonight and tell your parents that you figured out the mass number of an atom.

Frank, ain't it a little late to be playing this song?

-It's 8:30. -It's March.

Well, that song's too good to play for only one month.

Hunter, you gonna want cheese on that?

-Yes, sir. -Besides, -he smoked three packs a day. -Who?

Nat King Cole. Thought it'd make his voice deeper.

And Frank Sinatra was the poster child for vocal care?

Who died in his 40s? You take care of yourself, -things work out. -Is that right, is it?

Well, what about Jimmy then? I mean, he took real good care of himself.

And, how many surgeries was it, Jimmy? Four?

They put this thing from his ankle up to his shoulder.

We're talking about singing, not pitching.

And, Hunter? Do us all a favour and don't tell us that bit

-about the ankle any more. -Mel Tormé in June.

What in the world are you talking about now?

Mel Tormé wrote The Christmas Song on a beach somewhere.

There wasn't no Jack Frost nipping at anybody's nose that day.

-Daddy? -Yeah?

Your arm ever hurt any more?

Only when I have to drag you out of bed in the morning for school.

No, I'm just kidding you, bud. It hasn't hurt in a long time.

How long?

-Why do you want to know? -Just wondering.

Let's see.

It never hurt when I was in high school 'cause we didn't have a baseball team.

It never hurt when I was in junior college 'cause well, that's why I got drafted.

And then, I don't know. Just started hurting.

Is that why you didn't make it?

It's never one thing.


I'll get her.

Is that a real "I'll get her," or you just waiting for me to say, "Go back to sleep?"

I haven't decided yet.

Go back to sleep.

What's all that crying about?

I think it's my turn.

No. It's your turn to sleep.

Okay.

-You sure? -Yeah.

Here we go. Come on, baby.

There we are.

-Good night. -Good night.

There we go.

Hey, Rudy, when was the last date you had?

What, like a year ago?

-It's enough for me, man. -Come on, man.

Who you kidding? You, too, Rudy. Don't be laughing.

-All set, Coach. -You're not the only one.

Give me a ball.

-Hey, Coach, I forgot my glove. -Check the bag.

-Ten players, nine gloves. -Yeah.

-How do they look? -Couple of holes.

-All right, get one. -Thanks, man.

Hey, Coach. They putting down any grass seed in the field this year?

Man, it's a goat track out here.

-Just waiting for the seed to take. -What seed?

-Ain't no seed out here, man. -Wack!

How come we get dirt and the football field looks

-like Tiger Woods' backyard? -They don't even play for six months.

Just let me worry about the field, all right?

-You plan on worrying anytime soon? -All right, Wack.

You can get your running done early today.

-All right, I'll get my running in early. -Looking good.

Okay, bring it home!

Hey, Coach? You wanna throw?

You know, I've seen you out there at the old Legion Field at night.

You know, sometimes it helps when you throw if you got somebody catching for you. Ball, glove. That kind of thing.

-I'll throw a couple. -Really?

All right.

How come you throw out there? All by yourself?

Helps me relax.

I've been doing it pretty long time.

Coach, back when you were really throwing, -how fast were you bringing it? -I don't know. 85, 86.

Well, that's not bad.

Well, it is when the other guy's throwing 90.

Coach, come on. Let's see you bring one.

Can't.

Promised too many doctors.

Come on, Coach, one is not gonna kill you.

-Now, come on. Feed me. -Yeah, Dad, bring the heat.

Feed me, Coach.

-Wow! -Coach.

-Where'd that come from? -Forgot how good that sounded.

Yes.


Unbelievable.

Coach, how fast do you think those were coming?

Not as fast as you think.

Hey, do me a favour, all right?

Let's just keep this between you and me.

-Okay. -You could barely see that last one.

And that goes for you, too, all right? No telling Mom.

Why?

Because I said so.

Good night, Ray.

I know why your grass isn't growing.

Usually get three or four out here every night.

So I put the seed down, they pick it up.

Once it comes in, they don't like it as much.

That's why the football field looks so good.

Yeah?

Maybe those football guys are paying off these deer with all the big budget money they got.

Hey! Go on! Get out of here!

I thought deer were supposed to be skittish.

You need me to top that off?

Nothing like wine bought with a Chevron credit card.

Well, I know what a demanding consumer you can be.

-Yeah? -Yeah.

I threw today.

To Joel. After practise.

-You threw? -I threw.

How hard?

Pretty hard.

Don't worry. If it starts to hurt, I'll stop.

All right? Promise.

I gotta check on the kids.

Wack, got the muffler changed, buddy.

The Jeep. Can't hear me coming three miles away, can you there?

-Ray, check out the screwball! -Ladies loving the Jeep.

Come on, man. Give me the rock.

All right, bring it in for some BP.

We can't. Rudy's not here.

-Well, where is he? -Locker room.

Something to do with only having one shoe.

-Somebody grab a bat. -You're throwing batting practise?

Yeah.

-I'm up first, man. -I am next.

-All right. -I hit the Lotto!

Come on, Wack! Send it, baby! Send it!

What do you say, Wack?

Yeah.

Looks like that one's gonna land in another time zone, Coach!

You might wanna reset your watch before this next one.

You see that?

Yeah, it's...

Come on.

Yeah.

What was that?

Man!

Wait till he warms up.

-Let me see another one of those. -Nope.

It's batting practise, not pitching practise.

All right.

Oh, my God!

I'm already down two bits.

How many of them job applications you plan on sending out, Jimmy?

Many as it takes, I guess.

So, the little boy coming into my store to buy socks after a dozen moves is planning on making a move of his own now?

-Well, this is different. -It always is.

I hear you diagnosed that problem with that baseball field of yours.

-You mean his potential field. -Well, diagnosed part's right.

It's the curing part I'm having trouble with.

-I'll take five. -You know, I had the same trouble

-out at my place a few springs back. -You did?

-What'd you do? -Oh, hell. Give me five, too.

Let me ask you something. How many games you got

-on that field the next couple of weeks? -Well, we play there next Friday, but then we're not back till the end of the month.

You think you can keep your boys off the field for that length of time?

Now, I'm talking about no practise, nothing whatsoever.

Henry, why do I get the feeling this is something I don't wanna know about?

I'm gonna take back two of them old ones

-if that's okay with everybody. -I'll tell you what you do.

You give me three weeks, and I'll have that field looking greener than Dublin on Saint Patty's Day.

Fifty cents, fellas.

All right, boys. Let's get a hit. Come on, boys.

Rudy Bonilla hoping to spark a Big Lake rally.

Come on, Rudy! Be a hitter!

Keep your eye on it.

Strike three!

Strike three called and the Owls drop their season opener.

It's all right.

It's okay. Good effort. It's only one.

If we don't start hitting, it's not gonna be the only one.

Good game, buddy.

Drive safely on your way home now, folks.

-Where do you keep your brooms, Cal? -Closet.


Right here, sweetheart.

Cory, keep it right, keep it right now.

-Play's at second, Miguel! -Two!

-Blue! -Time!

And the Owls are down ten.

-Just not your day, Rudy. -Not my year.

Looks like Coach Jimmy Morris is making a pitching change.

Shake it off, Rudy.

Just a reminder, folks, the concession stand is still open.

Anybody wanna tell me how we lost that game?

No?

How about taking a look at the numbers on that scoreboard out there?

What do those numbers tell you?

How to get a hold of Bo's Tire Barn.

You quit.

You quit out there.

You quit on me. And worse, you quit on yourselves.

Now, what is it?

You think people don't care about baseball around here?

Think the school's gonna drop the programme?

You're just making it easy for them.

Sad part about it is I see it and you don't.

Look, guys, most of you, you're gonna finish up school here. You're gonna work the rigs.

You're gonna work at Bo's Tire Barn. You're gonna raise a family and retire.

And you're gonna do all that right here in Big Lake.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

A lot of real good people have done that.

I'm doing it.

But if you're looking for something more after you're done here, you better give some serious thought as to how you're gonna play out

-the rest of this season. -What difference does it make?

I mean, it's not like any of us are getting scholarships.

I'm not talking about college.

I'm talking about wanting things in life.

I'm talking about having dreams.

And all that starts right here.

Okay? Right here.

You don't have dreams, you don't have anything.

Coach, what about you?

I mean, you talk about our dreams.

-I mean, I've been catching... -Joel, we're not talking about me.

Yeah, come on, Coach.

Every time you throw, I gotta ice my hand. Every time.

You're the one who should be wanting something more.

And the sad part is, I mean, we see it, and you don't.

I've had my shot, all right? Just...

Look, we got practise tomorrow.

-Let's go. -So, you take another shot.

-It doesn't work like that. -It does if you throw hard enough.

I don't throw hard enough. All right?

Now let's hit the showers. Come on.

Now, wait a minute. We start winning, you try out again.

Last time I checked, scouts aren't looking for high school science teachers.

Well, not many science teachers throw like you.

-Yeah. -No kidding.

-Yeah. -No lie.

Take a heck of a lot more than a couple of wins

-to get me to make a fool of myself. -All right, what if we win district?

What if we win district and go to state playoffs? Then?

-Are you serious? -Yeah, absolutely.

-Are you serious? -Yeah.

Yeah.

And all I have to do is just find some kind of tryout somewhere?

That's it, man.

All right.

-If you win district. -Yeah!

-Come on, man, we can do this! -Right on, man.

Yeah, Coach!

We can take it!

I don't get to tell Mom about this, do I?


You sure about this, Henry?

Yeah, deer get a whiff of human hair, they just keep on moving till they don't smell it no more.

I figure we put us a circle all the way around the field here.

That's a lot of hair.

Well, from the looks of things, contrary to popular opinion, Cal ain't been cheating nobody down there at his shop.

It helps if you actually wear those goggles, Ms Martinez.

Coach.

Yeah, baby. Is that what I think it is?

That, gentlemen, is Bermuda hybrid number five.

We're gonna have a baseball field.

-Maybe he's not home. -But he said he'd be here.

-Hey, Grandpa. -Hunter.

I was reading in the paper this morning that someone in your family

-is having a birthday. -That's a kid joke, Grandpa.

Kid joke? No kidding?

-Jimmy. -Sir.

Whoa.

It's kind of big.

You'll grow into it faster than you think.

Look, Dad, it doesn't have any fingers.

That's 'cause it's a first baseman's mitt.

Is that wrong?

Well, you know, I probably got the receipt somewhere.

We can just, we can get another one, huh?

-One with fingers. -That's okay, Grandpa.

I like first base.

Can I go outside and play, Dad?

Yeah.

-What do you say first? -Thank you, Grandpa.

I really like it a lot.

Stay in the yard.

If he decides he wants one with fingers...

I'll take care of it.

I didn't know you had these.

Oh, yeah.

Your mother gave me a few.

She'd be the one to have them.

Happy birthday to you Happy birthday, dear Hunter Happy birthday to you

-Jessica! -Hey, don't worry, baby.

Your wish still counts.

Charles? Do you think that, that ice cream machine is gonna start spinning itself?

I gotta go get a knife.

-I'll help you, Mom. -I think we need plates, hon, too.

Seems like five minutes ago I was watching you blow out those candles.

-Are you trying to make me feel old? -Come talk to me in 20 years.

Hunter says you spent some time at your father's today.

Yeah.

-You know where I'm going with that. -Yes, ma'am, I do.

Lorri says he's trying real hard to be a good grandfather.

-Yeah, well... -Lord, Jimmy, I swear, the one thing you got from him is his stubborn side.

That's not true.

Well, what do you want me to do? Pretend everything was perfect?

You've been blaming your father for too many things for too many years.

I just call them like I see them, Mom.

Jimmy, you can sell that story someplace else 'cause I ain't buying.

You got your shot at baseball.

You got hurt. Simple as that.

It had nothing to do with your father.

You think he didn't have dreams?

That why it didn't work out with you two?

I'm gonna need a longer street for that talk.

Okay, let's get to.

Come on, Wack!

Come on, Coach, how long we gotta practise here?

-Just a couple of more days. -Getting old out here, Coach.

Playing in a gravel yard.

Okay, Wack, come on in for batting practise.

This is not a ball field.

-Come on, let's go. -Okay, okay.

Okay.

Nice easy swings. Turn your hips.

Throw your hands at the ball.

Come on, Coach. I mean, if we're gonna start winning, -we need to see some better pitching. -Yeah.

-Are you gonna help us or not? -Come on, Coach, right here.

Yo, let's see some action.

Come on, Wack.


Man!

Hey, right on, man.

Got a piece of that one!

Now, -get all of it. -You're the man, Wack.

-Yeah. -Come on, Wack.

Catching up, Coach.

Go, go, go, go, go!

Attaway, Wack!

Hustle!

Run, boy, run!

Out!

-Take it, Joel! -Got it!

Run, run, run, run, run, run!

Yeah!

Hit it, Wack! Eye on the ball, buddy!

How about that for a standing double play?

The Owls win again, and that is five in a row.

Let's go.

All around! All around!

Strike three!

Yeah!

-Yeah, baby! -Come on, get some defence going!

He's taking second!

Strike three!

Going, going, gone!

The Owls clear the bases.

-Taking it downtown! -Yeah!

Hey! Hey! Hey! Keep it down, now, or folks are gonna think that football season's started already!

Now, a lot of coaches would say that they're really proud of you right now.

-Yeah. -And I am.

A lot of coaches would say that it's amazing that we won this many games in a row, and it is.

But! But! But, but, but, but, but, I am not gonna say that I do not care about tomorrow's game

'cause I do.

-So let's finish this thing up. -Yeah!

State! State! State! State! State! State! State! State! State! State!

-Quite a group you got there. -Well, thanks.

I'm Steve Dearborn.

I'm with the Barton School District in Fort Worth.

I was hoping we might be able to talk about that application you sent us.

Sure.

They'll understand.

I got most of them coming back.

Jimmy, you're always gonna have kids coming back.

Not these kids.

It's Fort Worth. High school coaching jobs don't get any better.

You get to coach, you get to teach, and not that it's the most important thing in life, but it's twice the money, Jimmy.

-We sure could use it. -I know.

Well, I'm done telling you to sleep on it because that sure ain't working.


Three years ago, this programme ended the season with only one win.

Two years ago, one win.

Last year, same story.

This year, we have won 1 6 games.

Well, gentlemen,

we need 1 7.

Anybody got any questions?

Coach?

You coming back next year?

Wack, why don't we worry about this year first. All right?

All right, gentlemen, hats off.

Lord, we humbly thank you for bringing us through this season without injury and inspiring us...

Were so gallantly streaming And the rockets' red glare The bombs bursting in air Gave proof thro' the night That our flag was still there O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

A stirring rendition from Big Lake Rotary President, Henry Sampson.

All right, all right.

We're a different team than last time we played these guys.

They're ripe for the picking. Just let's not be nervous out there.

Nothing to be nervous about.

Let's play baseball.

-Safe! -Yes. Yeah!

-Come on, guys. -Guys, come on! Settle down!

Come on! Shake it off, baby!

-Shake it off! -Just give me the ball!

Damn!

Boys from Big Lake in an early hole. Two to none.

Okay, keep your heads up. Keep your heads up.

-Get this thing back to even. -Come on, boys.

-It's the first inning. -Okay, guys. It's all right.

All right, Brandon, grab some wood. Joe David, you're on deck.

This guy's fast ball stinks, so be looking out for his curve, all right?

-Batter up! -All right, one hit at a time.

-One swing at a time, one run at a time. -Come on, now.

Let's go. What do you say, Miguel?

-All right, Miguel. Come on. -Watch him.

Let's get a hit, baby. Let's get a hit.

He's out!

Owls still with that zero up on the board.

-Throw him out! -Out!

A scorcher that dang near took our boy's head off.

Slide! Slide!

Safe! And that puts Big Lake in scoring position.

You all right?

Rudy Bonilla coming to the plate.


-Safe! Safe! -Yeah!

A suicide squeeze. And the Owls are on the scoreboard.

Come on, ball, go!

Yeah! Yeah!

A spectacular catch, and the Owls are hanging in there.

Come on, Wack!

Joe David is still on first base.

I see it! I see the fear in his eyes, Wack!

Come on, baby! Come on, Wack! Come on! Come on, now!

-Go, Wack! Go, Wack! Go, Wack! -Come on, Wack!

-Go, Wack! -Come on, Wack!

-Go! Go! Go! -Come on!

-Slide, slide! -Whoa! Whoa!

-Safe! -Yeah!

Joe David!

Yes!

Big Lake takes the lead.

Rudy Bonilla working with a full count.

Ruffneck runners on first and second.

Come on 'necks! We can do it!

Ball four.

Bases now full of Ruffnecks.

Right here, Rudy. Right here, right now.

We got him!

Let's go, Rudy. Let's go, Rudy. Let's get this out.

-Look him down, Rudy. -Look him down.

Last year's district MVP Cory Jones coming to the plate.

All right, Cory!

Throw him some heat, Rudy!

Ball!

Come on now, Rudy. Come on, baby! Get this last out!

-Come on! -Come on! Strike him out!

-Here we go. Here we go. -He's got nothing. He's got nothing.

-Look alive! -Come on! Tighten up now! Tighten up!

Strike!

He is having to dig deep now. One and one count.

Go. Go.

Foul ball!

Going foul! Yes!

Ball.

Let me tell you, folks, they don't make foul balls any scarier than that one.

-Come on, Rudy! Let's go! -Come on, Rudy! You can do it!

Bear down, baby! Bear down!

What do you say, Rudy? Come on! He can't hit you!

-He ain't got nothing on you! -He can't hit you!

You gotta get this one, baby! Come on!

Come on, now. Rapid fire, baby. Rapid fire.

Go, Rudy. It's just a long strike, now. Here we go.

You can do it, Rudy! You own him, Rudy!

-Come on, baby! You gotta do this one! -You own him!

This punk can't hit you, Rudy! Come on!

-You got him, Rudy! -He ain't got nothing on you!

Dig deep, Rudy.

One time for all the marbles. Let's go, baby.

Come on, Rudy! What do you say? Strike this guy out! Come on!

Strike three!

Owls win! Owls win! Owls win! Owls win!


Owls win! Owls win!


Hey. Hey, hey, hey, hey! Settle down, fellas.

Yeah, come on, guys. Quiet down.

To the man who taught us about wanting something more.

Coach Jimmy Morris of the District Champion Big Lake Owls!

We wanted it, and now we've got it!

Yeah!

Now it's your turn, Coach.

It's your turn, Coach.

Your turn, Coach.

It's your turn, Coach.

-It's your turn, Coach. -It's your turn, Coach.

-It's your turn, Coach. -Your turn, Coach.


Here you go.

Eat your cereal. Come on. Come on.

First day of summer registration. I'm gonna have to skip breakfast.

Mommy, you can take some Mister Crunch with you, if you like.

He's a captain, Jessie. Don't go busting rank on him.

Thanks anyway, hon.

You got anything going today?

Me? No.

We need to go see the real estate guy.

He's been a captain forever.

Why don't they make him something better?

What you mean, like Admiral Crunch?

Just say, "Yes, ma'am," so I know you heard me.

-Yes, ma'am. -Take them all with you if you go.

You kids mind your daddy.

Remind me not to forget Jamie if we go anywhere.


They got lots of players, Daddy.


Sign right here.

Have your players get in line, Coach. Everybody signs in.

-Jim Morris. -Dave Patterson.

I saw you when the Brewers drafted you.

-Yeah. -Must have been...

-A while back. -Yeah.

-How you doing, Dave? -Good.

You still looking at players?

Well, the looking's the easy part. It's the finding that gives me trouble.

You bringing some kids? Besides your own?

-I'm here for me. -For you?

Well, all right, then.

-Good to see you. -It's good. Good to see you.

Sign here.

Come on. Let's go. Excuse me.


-Daddy, you can be X's this time. -Okay.

Now, now.

That's the last diaper.

Well, it's okay. We're outta here just as soon as Jamie's set to go.

-But, Dad. -No "But, Dads," okay?

I'm dealing with enough butts here as it is.

Hold on, honey. Daddy's almost done.

Hunter, look, I promised to try out.

There's nothing I can do if they won't take a look at me.

Hey, Jimmy! Come on, you're up.

Yeah. Just a second!

I'm not doing it.

All right. Look, look, you just stay right here, and you look after your sister, all right?

Come on. Let's go.

Sit!

Be right back.

Who do we got here? All right. All right.

-You need to warm up? -No, I'm good.

All right. Don't hurt yourself.

Whenever you're ready!

Whenever I'm ready.


-You want me to keep going? -Couple more!


That's good, Jim.

Pitch. Pitch.

Man, you were bringing some heat out there.

-Come on. -You had them talking.

You had them talking. Good job, man.

That was Jessica.

-Jim. -You did good though, man.

How fast were you throwing 1 5 years ago?

Slow enough that scouts stopped using the word fast.

-Jim, how fast were you throwing? -I don't know. 85, 86. Why?

-You just threw 98 miles an hour. -No.

Dozen straight pitches. Three radar guns.

-Same thing on all of them. -No, Dave, there's no way that I was...

Now, I been a scout a long time.

And rule number one is arms slow down when they get old.

Listen, Jim, I call the office and I tell them I got a guy here almost twice these kids' age, I'm gonna get laughed at.

But if I don't call in a 98 mile an hour fast ball, I'm gonna get fired.

I'm just letting you know that there's a chance you might get a call on this.

You figure out what I saw out there today, you let me know. Okay?

Okay.


Hey, hon, don't fix dinner. We're getting some pizza.

Oh, thank God.

Jim, this is Dan Jordan with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. l'll try you back later.

Jim, Mark Rafus with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Dave Patterson told me about this afternoon. l'll try you first thing in the morning.

Hey, Jim, this is Dave. Listen, we're gonna have you throw again in a couple of days just to make sure.

They're gonna send out some of the boys from Tampa.

Mommy!

Daddy told me to give you the pizza and not say anything else.

Thank you, sweet pea. I'm sure that's exactly what he told you.

All right, all right. Go, go ahead.

There was like a thousand players, and it was so hot.

And Daddy was pitching really hard.

-Oh, yeah? -Yeah.

-And it was really hot, but it was fun. -Yeah.

-And I got my nose burned really bad. -Yeah.

The guy thought that the damn radar gun was broken.

Do you know how many guys can throw the ball 98 miles an hour?

-Not many? -You can count them on one hand.

I still don't believe it. I mean...

Those are major league scouts on our message machine.

I know. It's great.

Listen, honey, why didn't you tell me about all this?

-Well, I just thought you'd laugh at me. -Oh, come on.

It was just... It was just this... It was this thing to get the kids to start playing.

I thought I'd just go there, I'd throw a few pitches, then I'd be done with it.

-So you're considering this? -I don't know.

I don't know. I have never thrown that hard before.

What?

You don't seem too excited.

No, I am. Really.

lt's a tough decision. Do you go ahead and call in your setup man to try to counter the left-handed batter with the lefty middle reliever?

That's right, Tom. They have Johnson available as well as Bisou, who did work one full inning on Tuesday night.

Yup, now it appears that they've made up their minds and they're gonna go the setup route.

And here comes Grey out of the bullpen, making the traditional run through the outfield to the mound.

You know, Jim, l'm sure no matter how many times you've made that run, it still has to be quite a thrill.

Right you are, Jim, back to the action.


Ain't nothing wrong with that one right there.

So much for his arm falling off, huh?


-Jimmy? -Yeah. Yes, sir.

I was just driving by. I saw that your light was on.

It'll be on for a few more hours.

-You want to come in? -No, that's all right.

I was... I got to be heading back.

I just wanted to...

-Lorri called. -Yeah?

Guess the scouts saw what they wanted to see.

Well, I don't know what to do.

Give it some time.

I haven't got a lot of that.

You're asking me?

Yes, sir.

Your grandfather once told me it was okay to think about what you want to do, until it was time to start doing what you were meant to do.

That may not be what you wanted to hear.

-Good night, Jimmy. -Good night.

I swear, sometimes I think he lies in bed at night just figuring out the one thing that he can say that hurts the most.

I was this close to thinking he was gonna give me some good advice.

Maybe he did.

What?

Oh, boy. Listen, Jimmy, I love you.

Lord knows, I think it's great you're going out there and showing up the kids at the try out, but I'm a little concerned that you might be losing sight of the fact you have a family who needs you and a pretty decent job waiting for you up at Fort Worth.

For the record, all right, I never said I was gonna do this.

Come on, Jimmy. I know you.

Although I was hoping for a little bit more support on the home front.

So this doesn't concern me or the kids?

You can't eat dreams, Jimmy.

And they don't pay for clothes or shoes or gas or babysitters.

Now, I do not want to be the bad guy on this, but somebody around here has got to start being rational.

You know what? That's all I've been my whole life!

Yeah, what about my life? I was there, too, remember?

Every time you got hurt, I got a front row seat to watch you shut yourself off from the rest of the world and from me.

Truth is, I was happy when you quit.

Happy.

Yeah.

Because I don't wanna see you get hurt again.


-Kids down? -For a while at least.

I'm sorry.

Yeah, me too.

-I've been thinking... -So have I. I think you should do this.

-No. No. You were right. -No.

I don't think so.

We've got an eight-year-old boy inside this house who waited all day in the sun and the rain to see his daddy try to do something that nobody believed he could do.

Now, what are we telling him if you don't try now?

I can't leave you here with all this.

Jimmy Morris, I'm a Texas woman, which means I don't need the help of a man to keep things running.

Okay?

Okay.

Great.


See you soon, little man.


Excuse me. Excuse me.

-You the old guy? -I'm the old guy.

Come on, Rays! You're on a roll!

Hey, big time.

You use a walker to get to the mound, or do the other players carry you?

Hey, pitch, who'd you come up with? The Senators?

What are they paying you? They ought to pay us to come see you!

Welcome to last place!

Hey, skipper! I didn't know it was Bring Your Dad To Work night.

Way to bring up his average!

Time!

Pitching change for Orlando.

Now pitching, number nine, Johnny Morris.

Check that, Jimmy Morris.

And now, fans, it's time to guess the winning car!

And a big crash at the first base line!

Number one will win it this time.

Who is this guy?

Work fast. We got a long bus trip.

Let's go, Stingrays!


Hey, pitch! Do I look like a strike zone to you?

You stink! l can't believe they let you pitch your first game.

-Well, how'd you do? -Not bad.

I had a few of them get away from me.

Did the fans all yell when you ran in?

Yeah. Oh, yeah, they were yelling, all right.

Honey, that's just great. Hey, let me get the kids.

No.

Just tell them l'll call them tomorrow from wherever we're going.

Okay. I will.

I love you.

-I love you, too. -Take care.


Blue!

-Okay, what's four times four? -Seventeen?

No, it's not seventeen. You're guessing. Just add it up.

-Sixteen? -lt's sixteen.

You gotta be able to look at four times four, and just know that it's sixteen without even having to think about it.

All right?

-Now, let's do your fives. -Daddy, l already done my fives.

What's...

Well, if you want to learn how to multiply, you're gonna have to practise, bud.

Okay.

-Hey, Dad. -Yeah, partner?

Told you when you're going to the big leagues yet?

-Could you put your mom on? Okay? -Okay.

All right.

Thanks, hon.

Hey.

Jessie says they left you in one too many pitches.

Jessie needs to learn how to keep a secret with her father.

-How are things going? -Things are good.

Hunter's got a field trip on Friday. And the rest of us are talking about...

Honey, that's not what I meant.

I know. It's not bad. We're a little behind.

How much?

Well, they took the bed, but they left the nightstand.

-You all right? -l'm just tired.

-I love you. -Love you, too.

-Good night. Good night. -Okay. Good night.

Listen, man, this is the only long distance phone we have here at the Ritz.

You see someone waiting, you keep it to1 0 minutes, okay?

What? Now you all talked out?

Use it all up on your girlfriend?

It was my son. He needed help with his homework.

Get out of here.

It looks like a little screen time's coming for Kenny Justin.

Jim! Hey Jim, come here a minute.

Jim, I want you to meet Tim Stewart from ABC News.

-Hey, Jim. -It's a pleasure.

Thanks for taking some time with us. You want to sit down?

Got a jersey for you.

Can you believe that?

I go four for five last night and look where they got the camera.

Man's been pitching good enough to talk about it.

Dude's old enough. He needs to talk about retiring.


Come on, let's go.

Grab my magazine.

Old Man River, you're moving kind of slow.

Yeah, six hours on a bus.

-Yeah? -Never mind.

Come on, man. Look, I got just the recipe to loosen them bones up.

Here you go.

Gentlemen, to the diet that put Babe Ruth in the Hall Of Fame.

Hey, River, what was it like watching the Babe play?

Okay. You sure you wanna start this?

How many fans did you guys lose when you raised ticket prices to 50 cents?

Yeah. Not as many as we lose when you pitch.

And this game is over, baby.

River, I swear, if you were this funny all the time, nobody'd say nothing...

About what?

What do you mean?

What are they saying, Brooks?

Look, some of the guys figure, you know, the way the team's pushing your story and all, that...

What, do they think I'm some kind of publicity stunt?

Is that what they're thinking? They think I'm taking somebody's spot.

What do you think, Brooks?

You're too fast for me. That's all I know.

Go, Brooksie! That's in the gap!

Go, go, go, go, go!

-All the way, Brooks! -Come on, Brooks!

Safe! Time!

-You wanna warm up? -Nice job, Brooks!

-Yeah. -Don't expect a raise, Brooks!

Peanuts!

Now batting for the Bulls, number 38, Kenny Bryerson.

Mac, we both know it's gonna be Brooks.

I've had more than one player called up before.

Anybody my age?

So, what are you thinking?

I got a pile of unpaid bills at home, I got a good job there, I only make $600 a month here and I got a family I haven't seen in three months.

We still got some season left.

Somebody once told me that it's okay to think about what you want to do until it's time to start doing what you were meant to do.

Just so you know, you were my best relief pitcher this past month.

Thanks, Mac.

-Jessica, give me that back! It's mine! -No, Hunter!

I'm gonna tell Mommy! Come on.

-Mine. Mine. It's always been mine. -Jamie's asleep.

-You're gonna be in big trouble. -Hello?

-Hey. -Hey!

I didn't think I'd hear from you till tomorrow. l'm coming home.

-What? Did you get hurt? -No.

I'm fine. It's just time.

-You called Fort Worth, didn't you? -I told them I'd be there in two weeks.

-So pitch for two weeks. -No, there's too much to do.

I'll take care of it.

We've been okay for three months.

-Lorri? Lorri? -We'll be okay for two weeks.

No, I'm wasting my time out here.

Listen, Jimmy.

Lord knows, I am ready for both sides of the bed to be warm again, but if you're gonna do this, you make sure you're doing it for the right reasons.

Because you're the one that's gonna have to live with it, okay?

-I'll be fine. -You still love it?

Just think about that, okay?

Finally tonight, dreams that don't die. ln 1983, the Milwaukee Brewers drafted a pitcher named Jim Morris.

You've never heard of him. Arm troubles.

He quickly dropped out of baseball, married, had kids, taught high school chemistry.

Pitching batting practise to the high school kids, he found he was throwing the ball 95 miles an hour.

Faster than he could throw it years ago.

He doesn't know how that happened. But guess what it did to his dream?

Here's Aaron Brown.

Jim Morris is afraid to tell his mother he quit his old job as a high school teacher for his new one, a relief pitcher in the minor leagues.

He is really old, too old to be in the minors, but he's also throwing harder and better than he did as a 20-year-old kid.

And so he's back in that strange and wonderful land called minor league baseball, where the Bull snorts smoke on every home run, and future stars run the bases between innings. l made a challenge to the guys to follow their dreams.

Really, it was something to motivate them, and they turned it around on me and told me l wasn't following my own dreams.

-They are a great bunch of guys. -Be quiet. I'm trying to watch.

The town has been very supportive of me. l grew up here. l've had a lot of really good support from my family and friends and townspeople around there.

This game, it's been the true love of my life, other than my wife, Lorri, since l was a little boy. l had a dream as a little boy of playing professional baseball. l used to pitch and imagine myself, you know, like every other kid in this country, of being in the World Series, pitching in the seventh game, ninth inning, big league ballpark.

There's drama in it. There's suspense.

There's a camaraderie with the other players, the fans in the stadium.

You add that to it. lt's a great game.


Heads up out there. Heads up.

Energy up, now. Come on, boys!

Ready to play!

-Riv! -Hey.

You know what we get to do today, Brooks?

We get to play baseball.

Two!

O-and-two the count on Williams. Morris really on top of his game.

Coach is really bringing it tonight.

Called strike three. Caught him looking with a fast ball.

That's Morris' third strikeout of the evening.

-Infield! Infield! -I got it! I got it!

Thanks for cleaning up my mess tonight.

Hey, you pitched seven good innings. I wouldn't call that a mess.

Jimmy.

Go ahead and close the door.

Jimmy, I just got off the phone with the big club.

They're calling up Brooks.

That's great.

He won't be back.

Well, he respects you and I thought you might want to be the one to tell him.

-Sure. -Being as that you're going, too.

They're calling me up?

Two of you fly out of here tonight. You catch up with the team tomorrow.

-Where? -Well, they're on the road right now.

In Texas.


-Hello? -Hey, Lorri.

-Hey, you. -Hey.

Do you know that blue sport coat that I never wear?

Hang on a sec, hon. I'm boiling over.

Now, what about the blue sport coat you never wear?

Would you mind bringing it to Arlington tomorrow?

Arlington? I thought you were in...

You tell me right now, Jimmy Morris.

Apparently, there's a dress code in the major leagues.

-Lorri? -Yeah, I'm here.

They're flying me out in an hour. Can you tell everybody?

Sure. You just have to tell one person first.

Hunter?

Your daddy's got something he wants to tell you.

Hey, Dad.

-Hey, buddy. Hey, guess what? -What?

Your daddy is gonna be a major league pitcher.

Really?

Yeah, really. What do you think about that, huh?

-Cool. I can't believe it. -Well.

Who are you gonna play for?

-They're called the Devil Rays. -What's a Devil Ray?

-lt's a fish. -What colour is it?

-Black. -Can you eat it? l don't know, bud. lt's got a stinger.

That's cool. My daddy's a big league pitcher.


Team won't be here for a couple of hours.

Feel free to look around.

We ain't in Kansas any more, are we, Riv?


Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Ballpark in Arlington. lt's baseball time in Texas.

Tonight's game, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays against your Texas Rangers.


Jimmy! Jimmy Morris!

Dad!

-Hi, Dad. -Hi.

You look great.

Kids, doesn't your daddy look great?

-Yup. -Yeah.

-Hey. -Hey.

I can't believe it.

-Hey, sweetheart. -Hi, Daddy.

-You're so big. -Yeah.

Hey, partner.

-I missed you. -Me, too.

Here are the starting lineups for tonight's game.

Well, kids, we'd better let your daddy get to work.

We'll see you after.

Okay.

Here at the Ballpark, the Devil Rays went down one-two-three in the top of the first, and now the Rangers try to get their high scoring offence on track in the bottom of the first.

Leading off for the Rangers, centre fielder, number 24, Tom Goodwin.

Three balls and a strike. One out. The pitch on the way. lt is low. Ball four. Runners at first and second.

A scoring chance for Texas.

...page 24 in your souvenir programme...

Here's the pitch. lt is swung on and lined to centre field.

A base hit. A run will score. Runners at first and second. lt's one-nothing Texas, and the Rangers have a one-to-nothing lead.

There's a swing and a base hit to right field.

And this game is now a one-one tie.

A reminder, the Devil Rays and Rangers play again.

Last half of the fourth inning about to get underway. lt's the Rangers one and the Devil Rays one.

The pitch in the dirt again.

The third one he has thrown. And we're about to get some action, it appears, in the Tampa Bay bullpen.

Blanton, Miller.

No, you ain't.

The pitch is on the way. Swung on, and a shot to the gap in right centre field. lt looks like extra bases.

One run is home. Two runs are home.

The throw cut off. The play at third. Out at third base!

Rangers three, Devil Rays one, here in the bottom of the sixth.

On this day in baseball history.

Runners at first and second. A golden chance for the Rangers.

Here's the set. The pitch on the way. A swing and a smash up the alley in left centre field. That will score two. lt's the Rangers five, the Devil Rays one.

Texas has broken it open.

The Devil Rays and Rangers also play on Sunday night.

Game time is 7:05, and it's Cap Night.

All fans thirteen and under receive a Rangers cap.

Game time Sunday is 7:05.

Morris!

Start warming up.

Mommy.

He's down in the bullpen.

Oh, my Lord.

Hey. Hey guys. There he is. There he is. There he is.

Look, he's in the bullpen. There he is. Yes.

He looks good.

Come here. Here, here. Have a looksee.

Blanton trying to get out of a bases loaded jam.

There's a swing and a smash right back at him.

He retrieves the ball in front of the...

And he throws it away. Another run will come home.

Two runs for Texas on the play, and the Rangers have busted this game wide open.

And Blanton may be hurt on that rocket right back to the mound.

Jim Morris continues to throw in the bullpen.

The left-hander from Big Lake, Texas.

Lookit. It's Coach. It's Coach.

-Let's go! Come on! -Let's go, Coach!

The Tampa Bay trainer is on his way out to the mound to check. lt appears the Devil Rays might have to make a pitching change.

Morris! You're in.


Let's go, Coach!


Just three months ago, he was grading chemistry tests, and now Jim Morris finds himself on the mound in a major league ballpark.

Little louder than back home? Well, then let's not make this too hard.

You remember that fast ball you were showing me before the game?

-I think so. -Well, I need three of them.

Coming in to pitch for Tampa Bay, a fellow Texan making his major league debut, Jim Morris.

Morris will be facing Ranger shortstop, Royce Clayton.

Royce has had a very strong second half, and has not cooled off any here in the month of September.

Come on, Dad!


-Yeah! -Yes!

One more time!

Strike two!


Jimmy, what pitches did you throw to get that strikeout?

Fast ball, fast ball and fast ball.

How'd it feel? Pitching in the major leagues?

-Just like I hoped it would. -How does the arm feel?

Could you excuse me for... Just for one second? Could you excuse me?

Sir, I didn't know you were here.

Wasn't missing this one.

Watching you tonight.

Not many fathers get a chance to do that.

I guess I let too many of those things get away.

So did I.

Well, then.

-Hey, Dad. -Yeah?


Thanks for coming.


Does this mean I don't get a baseball?

-That's all I got left. -Well, a girl could do worse.

So how does it feel being the oldest rookie in the last 30 years?

Well, I don't know. I'm tired.

So where are the kids?

Hunter is with Henry, and Jessie's with Cal.

-Don't tell me you left Jessie with Cal. -Cal had a little help.