We need to talk about The Scout. I’ve wanted to complain about The Scout to SOMEBODY since the first time I saw it, but I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who has also seen The Scout. I still don’t know for sure if any of the “humans” who will “read” this column will have seen the decidedly okay mid-90’s movie starring Brendan Fraser and Nemo’s dad from the movie Finding Nemo, but based on the reaction I’ve gotten to my discussions about other awesomely 80s/90s movies, I’m willing to take the leap of faith. If even a single reader appreciates this whine-fest, it’ll have been worth it. If not, at least I crammed in a few hundred words before getting to the part you actually care about.
(Aside: I was explaining to a friend of mine about this column, telling her about the time I told y’all about the time I stepped in a hole full of cold water. Her response was essentially, “Oh god, you’re like those people in Pintrest where I click a recipe and have to scroll and scroll and scroll. Just give me the recipe!” I thought it was a very apt analogy.) (Other aside: I’ve wanted to write some “the sports parts of these movies are bad” articles for a long time, and I’ve finally been inspired to follow my dreams by Michael Schur and Joe Posnanski doing hilarious analyses of sports movies on the excellent podcast, PosCast.)
I know I piqued your interest just with my mention of Brendan Fraser, but let me give you the basic rundown of The Scout. Albert Brooks (Nemo’s dad) is a mostly-failed baseball scout (Al Percolo) whose most recent prize prospect barfed all over the place with during his Yankees debut. As a punishment, the guy who played the Hawks’s coach in The Mighty Ducks banishes Percolo to a crappy league in Mexico where, miracle of miracles, Percolo comes across a player with a name fit for a porn star: Steve Nebraska (See! This totally ties in with B1G football).
Steve is a BOSS. He throws 100 miles an hour and crushes pitches over the fence from either side of the plate. Percolo calls his boss to report the good news, only to have his boss fire him for deigning to find a good players. Percolo does what every failed scout is certainly qualified to do: Become Nebraska’s agent.
Percolo and Nebraska come back to NYC and set up an open bidding session/tryout for Nebraska’s services. To show of Nebraska’s pitching and hitting, Percolo hires two major league players: Keith Hernandez and Bret Saberhagen, both played by themselves. This is problem one.
Bret Saberhagen accumulated 4.1 bWAR in 1992 and 1993 (I assume a movie released in 1994 shot the Saberhagen scenes in 92 or 93) (also, bWAR refers to the WAR (Wins Above Replacement) rating as calculated by baseball-reference.com (this is in contrast to fWAR, which is a similar stat calculated by fangraphs.com), and I don’t really know how to explain WAR but I guarantee that every article or tweet referencing WAR will have at least one genius, upset with what the stat is showing in that particular article, who says “WAR what is it good for? NOTHING.”).
Right, so Saberhagen was thoroughly meh during the two seasons when he would have been shooting The Scout, although he did accumulate 5.1, 3.6, and 9.7(!!!!!) bWAR the three seasons before that. He seems to have been a solid choice at the time the movie was made for the “surprise” “good” pitcher for Nebraska to face. Plus in the 92-94 range he played for the Mets and maybe it was easier to get him in the movie than a player for an actual good team. Still, young beez never understood why he didn’t go against Clemens or David Cone or someone.
Keith Hernandez, on the other hand, was an indefensible choice. Hernandez retired in 1990(!), coming after back-to-back negative bWAR seasons (in short, a negative bWAR theoretically means you could have taken any average AAA minor league player, played him instead of Hernandez, and gotten a better result than you did by playing Hernandez), meaning in 1994 the audience would have gone at least three years without seeing him. Bonds, Piazza, Griffey, Jr., Frank Thomas, Bagwell, Molitor, Justice, Greg frickin’ Vaughan. All of those guys had great seasons around then, and ALL OF THOSE GUYS HADN’T RETIRED FOUR YEARS BEFORE THE MOVIE CAME OUT. I assume they used him because he’s a Mets staple and it was easier to get him in the movie than a legendary player from an actually good team.
Anyway, Nebraska gets highest-bid-on by the Yankees (the more things change), has some emotional and mental issues stemming from something I forget, etc etc meaningful character development, conflict resolutions, something something.
The Yankees make the World Series and Game 1 is in New York City. Nebraska, although utterly mentally unprepared for the high-pressure stage, is contractually obligated to start Game 1. Eventually, Percolo gets George Steinbrenner to helicopter Nebraska down from the roof of Yankee Stadium directly onto the mound. It’s all very realistic and practical and doesn’t undermine my main complaint.
Nebraska comes in and blows away the side in the top of the first, striking out all three batters on nine pitches. In the bottom of the inning, he leads off (I think) with a solo home run. 1-0 “good” guys. Vomit.
Fast forward 7 2⁄3 innings and it’s the top of the 9th inning, Yankees up 1-0 (note: I recalled this as being a 1-0 game, but I’m seeing that it may have been 2-0. 1-0 works better for my rant, so). Bob Costas (oh by the way, Bob Costas is the play-by-play announcer for the fictional Game 1 and is GREAT) sets the stage: Nebraska has thrown 78 straight strikes. 26 up, 26 down. One batter away from perfection. And who should step to the plate (as Costas’s frankly really good performance builds tension and excitement)? None other than The Wizard. Ozzie Smith. Ozzie Smith is all that stands between Nebraska and the most perfect of perfect games—27 straight outs all on three-pitch strikeouts; 81 total pitches. How every will Nebraska get through the end of this...
Wait. Ozzie Smith? The actual Ozzie Smith? This is....not a particularly frightening situation.
Smith was the 38th best player in the National League in 1993, just behind Andujar Cedeno and just ahead of Jeff Kent with 2.5 oWAR on baseball-reference (oWAR is just the offensive component of WAR...). Smith wasn’t a bad hitter in the early 90s, but he was decidedly much more well known for his generation- or all-time-defining defense than his offense (plus he hit a walkoff homerun in a playoff game leading to Jack Buck’s legendary “go crazy folks! go crazy!” call). But come on. If you’re looking for a mainstream player who audience members will know as someone who should strike fear into Nebraska’s innocent heart, Ozzie isn’t a great choice.
Plus, and I promise I’m almost done, the chances are VERY good that Ozzie wouldn’t be up in that spot. In a perfect game, the last out will always be against the number nine hitter in a lineup. In 1993, Smith had two plate appearances out of the nine hole. He basically batted second all the time. Realistically, Nebraska’s final out of the game would have been against some very weak hitter, probably a guy with some speed who could set the table for the top of the lineup if he reached base. But it wouldn’t have been Ozzie, and it wouldn’t have even been someone at Ozzie’s meh level of offensive production.
In short, the appearance of Ozzie Smith as the final out in a perfect game ruined what was an otherwise factually accurate, realistic, and believable movie about the best pitcher and hitter in history being the same guy who plays in a Mexican baseball league who also arrives for his first start via helicopter landing in a manner ensured to totally destroy the infield dirt. Like all pretty mediocre movies from the 90s, though, I’ll always watch it again if given the chance. Also Nebraska struck Ozzie out.
Also I got to meet The Wizard over the summer and it was really, really cool.
Wait, that’s absolute Twins LEGEND Nick Punto.
Ozzie was really nice, and I want to clearly state that I think he’s awesome and was an amazing player and frankly I feel really, really lucky I got to meet him. Ozzie’s the one in the middle:
If your team’s favorite player isn’t chosen as a Player of the Week, one of three things happened: (1) It involved a player not involved in Wisconsin’s most recent game; (2) your favorite team’s writer didn’t submit the player for POTW honors; or (3) you favorite team’s player really wasn’t as awesome as you thought.
Sometimes a player will get picked because of the awesome raw stats; sometimes he’ll get picked because of good stats plus situational significance; sometimes he’ll get picked because he did pretty well and plays for Wisconsin; and most of the time he just won’t get picked. Leave your complaints in the comments.
Defensive Player of the Week
Blake Cashman - LB - Minnesota
9 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovered fumble, 1 TD
From your Minnesota writer, and best-name haver, WhiteSpeedReceiver:
Blake Cashman has 9 tackles, half a sack, and had a FF/FR/TD that broke Purdue. Or maybe the tackle he made on Blough on a 4th down run broke Purdue. Either way, he was a beast yesterday.
I am loathe to give a Minnesota player recognition for anything, but a defensive touchdown is always a good reason to give a guy an award. I didn’t see the game, I don’t have anything more to add about Cashman, and I don’t know how much more there is to add. Oh! Cashman and his defensive pals managed to hold the second-most dynamic offense in the conference to ten points, which is a hell of a thing, as Tony Shaloub’s character in Galaxy Quest would say.
Basically Penn State’s D Line Defensive Players of Week 11
Robert Windsor - DT - Penn State - 6 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks - B1G DPOTW - Is from Wisconsin so this hurts a little
Yetur Gross-Matos (again) - DE - Penn State - 5 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery
Shareef Miller - DE - Penn State - 3 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 almost scored a TD on the fumble recovery but then lost a fumble himself
Special Teams Player of the Week
Drue Chrisman - P - Ohio State
9(!) punts, 37.8 avg., 53 long
Drue Chrisman punted nine times on Saturday. Six were downed inside the twenty yard line, five downed inside the ten, and three downed inside the five. At one point, he forced MSU to start three straight drives from inside its own six-yard line. That’s bonkers. Also he becomes the first player to win an OTE POTW award in the same week he won the Honorary Purdue Boner of the Week Award. Plus he’s got awesome hair.
MJ's Shrug Game, except it's for punting. pic.twitter.com/JzR6Ii8sCD— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) November 10, 2018
Of course, as the sixty-five seconds worth of punts shows, his punt coverage unit had itself a great day too, getting down and in position to stop a few punts from shooting into the endzone; however, Chrisman gave his team the hangtime and, importantly, kept the ball out of the endzone to allow his team to keep MSU pinned near its own goal line over and over. Great job, Drue!
Honorary “Rutgers sure punts a lot” Workhorse Punter of Week 11
Jake Collins - P - Northwestern - 7 punts, 40.4 avg., 45 long
Honorable Mention Special Teams Players of Week 11
Emmit Carpenter - K - Minnesota - 2/2 FGs, 5/5 XP
Joseph Petrino - K - Maryland - 4/4 FGs
Logan Justus - K - Indiana - 2/2 FGs, 4/4 XPs - B1G STPOTW
Offensive Player of the Week
Isaiah Bowser - RB - Northwestern
31 carries, 165 yards, 1 TD; 3 recs, 33 yards; 1 division title
You can argue with Isaiah Bowser winning the award this week if you want, but (a) he accounted for 2⁄3 of his team’s offense, (b) he did so in a game that wrapped up the division title for his team, and (c) I’m not listening to what you say so it’s not worth the effort.
Look, I think Northwestern winning the division is as dumb as you all do, but it’s a thing that happened and Bowser did what he’s done a lot this season: grind away at the opposing defense and help his team win. Sure, his legs are going to be a thing of melted butter that you put in the fridge overnight and then set out on your counter for five minutes by the time he’s a junior, but they seem to be just fine now. Plus, given that Northwestern was shown just this past summer to be the Millennial-ist college football program in the B1G, we really should give Bowser the award. You know, for his feelings and such.
Honorable Mention Offensive Players of Week 11
Adrian Martinez - QB - Nebraska - 24/34, 290 yards, 3 TDs; 13 carries, 55 yards, 1 TD - B1G FOTW
Devine Ozigbo - RB - Nebraska - 11 carries, 162, yards, 3 TDs; 3 recs, 36 yards - B1G OPOTW
AJ Bush, Jr. - Just the RB part of him being a QB - Illinois - 25 car, 187 yards, 3 TDs
Anthony McFarland - RB - Maryland - 29 car, 210 yards
Freshman of the Week
Adrian Martinez - QB - Nebraska - Big Ten FOTW
24/34, 290 yards, 3 TDs; 13 carries, 55 yards, 1 TD
“Butt Beez,” you’re thinking, “Isaiah Bowser won OTE OPOTW and he’s a freshman, how come he isn’t OTE FOTW?” “Because,” I answer.
Adrian Martinez has been really, really good all season, and it looks like he’s going to be good for a lot of years and Scott Frost is going to put him in a position to succeed and run up the score. Sure, he got his numbers against Illinois this week, which, come on. But he’s gotten these numbers against most teams he’s played which means he’s either very good or there are a lot of bad defenses in the B1G. Probably a little of both.
Every week I “see” Nebraska play I am thankful that Wisconsin played them early-ish in the year, because my what an ass kicking that would be now.
Here’s a jif of the top result for “Adrian Martinez Nebraska gif”:
The kids are alright honorable mention Freshman of Week 11
Stevie Scott - RB - Indiana - 19 carries, 103 yards, 1 TD; 1 rec, 0 yards
Isaiah Bowser - RB - Northwestern - 31 carries, 165 yards, 1 TD; 3 recs, 33 yards; 1 division title
Award Formerly Known As “Honorary Purdue Boner of the Week” Boner of the Week
Oh Drue. Sweet, sweet Drue. This is how your day started, with a punt that I’d be willing to bet $20 on half the OTE commentariat being able to surpass. Fortunately you turned it around in time to essentially win the game for your team, and more importantly, to with the OTE STPOTW and get your high school picture tweeted out to the “world.”
Actually Really Good Play of Week 11
Per MNWildcat’s demand, and out of respect for our new division champs:
This poll is closed
I agree, poll.
The NERDS won the division and I don’t know what life even is anymore
Bay bee shark (do do doodoo doodoo)