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"Ball Four" TV show (1976)

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  • "Ball Four" TV show (1976)

    I had no idea there was a short lived "Ball Four" TV show on CBS in 1976. I absolutely have no memory of it. Granted, I was only 8 years old in the fall of 1976. Jim Bouton was one of the screenwriters and he even played the lead role!

    Ball Four, You're Out: How A Classic Baseball Book Became A Failed Baseball Sitcom


    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    I remember that. It was especially disliked by fans of the book (like me). They never really got the Bouton character right - they kind of had him as a loveable misfit who was always being blamed for things. There was an episode where he was accused of stealing another player's expensive watch, for example. It wasn't funny, just kind of painful. And Bouton didn't have the acting chops to convincingly play "himself" (which the character actually wasn't).

    I don't know if baseball has enough built in variety to provide the material for a workplace sitcom a la Barney Miller or WKRP in Cincinnati. I doubt it. Plus a show like that needs half a dozen strong funny characters, which the Ball Four sitcom did not have.

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    • #3
      He covers the experience in the later section of the revised edition of Ball Four (entitled Ball Five) which came out around '81. Lots of network interference and general incompetence.
      3 6 10 21 29 31 35 41 42 44 47

      "All of which makes perfect sense on paper, unless you have actually at any time in your life watched baseball being played." - The Commissioner

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      • #4
        I remember one joke from the show. The players retreat to the clubhouse in Washington I think during a rain delay. I believe it was Ben Davidson who played a dim-witted catcher says "oh no it's raining and my car windows are down", someone says "where's your car?" he replies "Minnesota".

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        • #5
          I remember watching this show, but don't remember anything about it.

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          • #6
            "Ball Four" TV Show

            I saw a couple episodes of this and was very disappointed after having read the book. The acting, (Jim Bouton's particularly it pains me to say) was terrible and the show was just wooden... it didn't reach out and engage the viewer.

            The book was Great, so I had high hopes, but the show just didn't deliver. I forget how many weeks it ran but it just couldn't have been very many.

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            • #7
              In order to make it funny and real at the same time, there would have to be multiple great characters. Someone has already mentioned that, but I believe it is possible to replicate how teammates relate within the dugout and in the locker room. The problem is that any successful attempt will hit close to home for a lot of current and recently retired players. There would be a lot of backlash on players who provided realistic story lines or served to advise.

              In other words, there would be the same backlash on those players as Bouton experienced from his book. In this real show, the memory of what Bouton went through most likely prevented anyone to serve as a source because Bouton was still a fresh memory.
              Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

              A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

              Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

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