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View Poll Results: Play Ball
Excellent 4 15.38%
Good 8 30.77%
Average 12 46.15%
Fair 2 7.69%
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Old 02-18-2003, 02:32 PM   #1
alsplacebartender
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Default 402 Play Ball

Play Ball
August 6, 1961


Galveston, Texas


As Lester "Doc" Fuller, a former major league pitcher stuck back in the minors again, Sam must get a hotshot rookie ballplayer back on the right track and away from drinking and self-destruction. In the meantime, Sam also has to ward off advances from his team's owner...and her daughter!


Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Joe Napolitano


Rate and comment on this episode!
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Old 10-06-2005, 06:52 PM   #2
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This was an ok episode. The baseball theme was already done in the pilot episode, but it wasn't bad.
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Old 08-04-2007, 03:00 PM   #3
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An average episode,only. The story was average.and i think a similar line of plot were already taken during an earlier episode of the show,so why do it,again?!
The story itself also weren't so interestng,and even a bit boring.not an episode to remember.
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:15 PM   #4
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This was one of the episodes that I recorded first run - and then didn't record over the following week. I ended up with four cassettes, six episodes on each, which I labeled "QL Keepers." (I just threw out my set of QL Keepers videocassettes when I bought the fifth season). I love this episode for the characters; everybody from the randy owner to the grizzled manager is right on the money. The actor who plays the hot shot hitter did a tremendous job conveying both the pain that he's drinking to anesthetize, and his vulnerability. No wonder he reminds Sam of Al. This is one of the episode obviously inspired by a movie ("Bull Durham," 1988 ), yet, like the others, it takes a different turn from the shared premise and delivers a satisfying story.

I don't mind "another" baseball story, any more than I mind that they did more than one courtroom drama, or more than one college episode. It's not a copy of Genesis; it stands on its own.
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isz
i think a similar line of plot were already taken during an earlier episode of the show,so why do it,again?!
While this episode is another baseball leap like the end of Genesis the simularities cease there. First of all in Genesis the baseball leap was a short "in betweener" as I like to call it. There was no plot whatsoever to it.

This episode on the other hand is a full story and one all its own at that. Sam has to make sure a young player does not ruin himself and his career with this drinking, anger, and most importantly his sleeping with the owner's daughter as well as getting his host back into the big leauges after an unfortunate accident drove him out. I would agree that this is an adverage story but Margeret Tilly aka the team owner is what would make that claim inaccurate. She has a lot of energy, emotion and spunk and its funny how she creeps Sam out. Sorry no offense Sam you know we all love you.

I also love the reference to Sam and Al's friendship and how it was born. I just love how Al responds to Sam's reminding him that they met while he was banging a vending machine with hammer by saying:
"Oh ah it ate my dime"
and his tone is halarious because it's like
"What? I did what anyone else who lost their dime would have done"

I guess you have to watch this episode a little closely to see it, but this is actually a very meaningful episode. Genesis had none of that no story, or plot. All he did was call his dad(which is so adorable) and make the winning play. That is not a story and there can't be a plot without a story. So really the only thing this episode repeated was the theme being baseball. And its not even the only theme thats been repeated. He's leaped into two situations involving a court case and in both playing the defending lawyer. He also leaped into some form of prision twice and two dangerous killers. Real life situations like the one's Sam deals with are not one to a person so the fact that this show repeats some themes is actually very realistic(although they could stand to not repeat so many names for the people around him that he's helping there must be at least five Dianes and Dianas and Danna's and other names that have simular sounds :P). And getting back to this epispde, its not repeating a plot eaither because the leap in Genesis hadn't one.
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:34 AM   #6
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When i said "a similar line of plot" i ment to - His baseball leap in "Genesis".
"All Americans" and "the leap Home: part 1"

So what Tommy Thompson might done here is taking ideas from 3 different episode. wrote an episode with a very similar theme,changed names, places,the supporting roles and sam mission(though sam mission wasn't so different), he add to that another personal detail about Al and Sam relationship and...Walla - he wrote himself an episode.
I wasn't impressed.
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:39 AM   #7
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If you're going to fault Tommy Thompson for using the tried and true "last minute win" theme, well, gracious, I can think of at least ten sports movies (some brilliant and some okay) that use that trope. It's a staple of American filmmaking, so I'm willing to give Thompson a pass. For me, anyway, it's not the happy ending appeal that makes this episode worthwhile, it's the journey of the characters. I get that a viewer wouldn't be impressed with an ending that we've all seen before, but I watch for character as well as plot, and I see more here. The actor playing Chuckie, in my opinion, hit this one out of the park. (Yes, I know: GROAN.)
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:53 PM   #8
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Hun thats the point of sports movies and tv episodes, the dramtic winning shot/touchdown/homerun/goal etc... so you might as well put down every sports movie and tv episode in the world.

Plus baseball was not the entire fpcus of this episode he also had to make Chuckie's father a patr of his life again and help the kid striegthen up. In fact all the episodes you listed have a focus to them besides the sport. In All Americans there was also the issue of Chewy's illegal mother, and in The Leap Home there was also the conflict of Sam choosing family over the real task given to him. So a winning score in the themed sport was not the entire focus of the episodes. There is a deeper meaning in the tasks than just getting the winning score in the themed sport. He had to make sure that Chewy gets his scholorship to college and that his basketball team got better futures, meaning jobs, families etc... and for this episode again, the father needed to be convinced to be in his son's life again and help him strieghten up. so hun you can't just look at the fact that he's playing a sport its more than that.
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana
If you're going to fault Tommy Thompson for using the tried and true "last minute win" theme, well, gracious, I can think of at least ten sports movies (some brilliant and some okay) that use that trope.
What?! what "last minute win". I didn't even thought about it! I'm just saying that the plot of Sam leaping into a Footballer/Baseballer/etc that suppose to win a match and help his "colegues" have a better future is a subject that were "chewed" too much in QL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
Plus baseball was not the entire fpcus of this episode he also had to make Chuckie's father a part of his life again and help the kid striegthen up.
That wasn't part of his mission in this leap. it was just a "bonus".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
In fact all the episodes you listed have a focus to them besides the sport
In All Americans there was also the issue of Chewy's illegal mother,
and in The Leap Home there was also the conflict of Sam choosing family over the real task given to him. So a winning score in the themed sport was not the entire focus of the episodes. There is a deeper meaning in the tasks than just getting the winning score in the themed sport. He had to make sure that Chewy gets his scholorship to college and that his basketball team got better futures, meaning jobs, families etc... and for this episode again, the father needed to be convinced to be in his son's life again and help him strieghten up. so hun you can't just look at the fact that he's playing a sport its more than that.
I'll Explain myself-
a very similar(not exactly the same) theme - in this case -Baseball.
changed names, places- Obviously.
the supporting roles - this time it's the randy owner, A grizzled manager is right on the money, A hot shot hitter who'se ruing his own future By drinking to anesthetize, and having so much anger in him.
Sam mission - Wins the game and give Doc another chance in the first League,and as a bonus - saving a young man,who reminds Sam - Al, future.
In "Genesis" the mission was - To win the game.
in "All Americans" it was winning a game and give chewy and his host scholarships that will help chewy becomes a doctor ,and as a bonus to unit 2 people - his host father and chewy's mother and have a better life.
In "The leap Home" it was wining a basketball game and help his closest team mates gets scholarships and live a better life.
So tell me isn't the plot lines are very similer?!

P.S
I want it to be clear- i'm not even trying to compare between a great episode like "The leap home : part 1" to any of the episodes i mentioned.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isz
What?! what "last minute win". I didn't even thought about it! I'm just saying that the plot of Sam leaping into a Footballer/Baseballer/etc that suppose to win a match and help his "colegues" have a better future is a subject that were "chewed" too much in QL.


That wasn't part of his mission in this leap. it was just a "bonus".



I'll Explain myself-
a very similar(not exactly the same) theme - in this case -Baseball.
changed names, places- Obviously.
the supporting roles - this time it's the randy owner, A grizzled manager is right on the money, A hot shot hitter who'se ruing his own future By drinking to anesthetize, and having so much anger in him.
Sam mission - Wins the game and give Doc another chance in the first League,and as a bonus - saving a young man,who reminds Sam - Al, future.
In "Genesis" the mission was - To win the game.
in "All Americans" it was winning a game and give chewy and his host scholarships that will help chewy becomes a doctor ,and as a bonus to unit 2 people - his host father and chewy's mother and have a better life.
In "The leap Home" it was wining a basketball game and help his closest team mates gets scholarships and live a better life.
So tell me isn't the plot lines are very similer?!

P.S
I want it to be clear- i'm not even trying to compare between a great episode like "The leap home : part 1" to any of the episodes i mentioned.
Actually, in most of the episodes you've cited, winning the game was not the goal of Sam's leap. In "Genesis", they never actually revealed what it was - though it's natural to assume that it was to win since he leaped out right after doing do.

In "All Americans", the goal wasn't to win the game but to make sure it wasn't thrown. Sam could have prevented that from happening and the game still could have been lost.

In "Playball" winning the game wasn't the goal either. It was getting Doc back into the major league and it wasn't Sam winning the game that accomplished that. It was the fact that he pulled himself from the game when he knew it didn't make sense for him to go on.

The only time the goal really was to win the game was "The Leap Home".

Sports, last minute wins, and doing the seemingly impossible has long been a staple of many TV shows and movies. It doesn't mean the idea is stale, or has been used too many times as long as the approach is different.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:18 PM   #11
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Yeah thats exactly what I was trying to say.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:49 AM   #12
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But 4 similier plots(until now. may be when i'll finish watching all of QL episodes i'll add more episodes to the list) in one Drama series,that is not a "Sports drama series"?! I'm sorry but i think it's too much...
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
I'm just saying that the plot of Sam leaping into a Footballer/Baseballer/etc that suppose to win a match and help his "colegues" have a better future is a subject that were "chewed" too much in QL.
With respect, I understand that you have an opinion about the episode, after all, that is what this thread is about, but the thesis that you use to get there doesn't hold. Leaping into a sports player isn't a "theme," it's a character, a setting. If this is true:
Quote:
So what Tommy Thompson might done here is taking ideas from 3 different episode. wrote an episode with a very similar theme,changed names, places,the supporting roles and sam mission(though sam mission wasn't so different), he add to that another personal detail about Al and Sam relationship and...Walla - he wrote himself an episode.
then we're not talking about episodes that have the same or similar plots. As you say, there are different characters, different names, different places, a different mission (and, I would add, different cultures), which all add up to different plots. The only thing they have in common (besides the last minute win, which I thought might be the problem but wasn't), is that Sam has leaped into sports players.

As Julia explained above, winning wasn't necessary (or even the point) in two of the four stories. (E.g. in All -Americans, both players could have played well, and the game could have been close, and even if they had lost, the scouts would have offered them scholarships, based on how they played, not whether they won. No scout would have made an offer if Chewie deliberately played badly - which was obvious, given his talent - and no school would have accepted him anyway once it came out that the gambler influenced the outcome of the game.)

But, back to your premise, it's inevitable that in 97 episodes, a couple of which had multiple leaps, there would be repetition of certain types of characters who would resonate with the audience. Americans dig sports - we have a particular fascination for players of all sorts (especially football, basketball, and baseball), just like we are kind of obsessed with performers (of which Sam was several: actors, musicians). Sam also leaped into many law enforcement officers - but each of those stories was different as well.

As for the "helping his colleagues have a better future" plot line, that's the premise of the whole show.

I want to reiterate that I respect your opinion and I mean this to be a discussion, not an argument. In the end, whether you like this episode, Play Ball, or not is totally up to you.
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:15 PM   #14
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Yeah I agree with bluedana. I of course respect your opinion isz as I do everyone's but your view does not fit. All you are expressing is that the theme of sports is repeated. That has nothing to do with the plot. Trust me I took a creative writing class last semester so I now know better even than before what a plot is. The plot is the "why?" of the story. The story tells us the events and the plot is why those events are taking place. The fact that all the epidoes you are discussing are sports themed is NOT the plot. It's just the setting.

As I explained above before Julia explained it better, all the plots in the each of these stories are different and did not involve winning the game as a huge deal except of course in The Leap Home. So I will give you that one. But even so, winning the game being the point of the story is a common sports movie/tv episode thing so even if you were right Tommy Thompson would not be the only one repeating it or the first to do so.
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Old 10-19-2007, 07:39 PM   #15
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Baseball again - how dull. You'd think they strap a couple of cricket pads on him and throw him into the middle of a poms vs aussies ashes series just for something different, and I was going to say real suspense, however thats not entirely true, there is never any suspense as the aussies always win.

Not an overly flash episode, not one I'll hurry back and watch again.
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:02 AM   #16
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This was a fun episode to me. I quite enjoyed it even though I watched the altered music version.
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:50 AM   #17
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I think that "Bull Durham" and "The Natural" told the story better, probably because they had more time to develop the plot. I have to give the actors/actresses credit for creating believable characters. I really disliked the sleazy team owner, lol.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:07 AM   #18
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I agree that I wasn't particularly interested in the baseball aspect of the show (I enjoy sports, I just find that the sports-themed episodes of Quantum Leap are repetitive), but finding out how Sam and Al met was really nice. I wish we had more little snippets like this in the series -- though I suppose that's what fanfic is for.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:45 PM   #19
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I really liked the characters in this episode and how Sam wanted so badly to help Chuckie because he reminded him of Al. There are a bunch of hilarious exchanges and one-liners, and of course the scene where Sam recalls how he and Al met is one of the top series moments.
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Old 09-09-2013, 03:34 PM   #20
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Just an OK episode for me, the main thing I took away from it was how unbelievably tight Sam's jeans were.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:08 AM   #21
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This episode will probably not be in my top ten but there is a scene which has been already mentioned about how Sam and Al first met.It was just wonderful to see more info about the history of characters.I think I love Al even more as the episodes come.
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