The Mighty Casey
Mouth McGarry – Jack Warden
Dr. Stillman – Abraham Sofaer
Casey – Robert Sorrels
Beasely – Alan Dexter
Monk – Don Kelly
Team Doctor – Jonathan Hole
Commissioner – Rusty Lane
Ah, Casey at Bat. A lovely little ro-bit story. There are no Trigger Warnings except sarcasm and disinterest. It’s not a favorite.
What you’re looking at is a ghost once alive but now deceased. Once upon a time it was a baseball stadium that housed a major-league baseball club known as the Hoboken Zephyrs. Now it houses nothing but memories and a wind that stirs in the high grass. of what was once an outfield. A wind that bears a faint, ghostly resemblance to the roar of a crowd that once sat here. We’re back in time now, when the Hoboken Zephyrs were still a part of the National League and this mausoleum of memories was an honest-to-Pete stadium. But since this is strictly a story of make-believe, it has to start this way.
Once upon a time, in Hoboken New Jersey, it was tryout day. And though he’s not yet on the field you’re about to meet a most unusual fellow. A left-handed pitcher named Casey.
This has been one of the longest Serling intro so far, I believe. If he thought baseball was dying then, he should see it nowadays. Anywho, as he’s talking we see a series of scenes of the deserted stadium that switches to it’s active past, betokened by a sign reading “Hoboken Zephyrs Try-outs Today”. I think the Zephyrs is an odd name for a baseball team. There are various men practicing. It doesn’t really look like a full team’s worth to me. they’re doing their jumping jacks out of sync and the pitcher id limping. Although I don’t see why that should matter. As far as I know, pitchers don’t run. But what do I know? I don’t do baseball. If anyone out there knows, feel free to correct me.
The manager doesn’t look too thrilled with this season’s batch of recruits. The coach walks over to the dugout to talk with a gentleman in a suit (the manager, perhaps?). He sarcastically comments that it’s a good looking bunch of boys. The suit wants to know what the coach expects when he puts up a sign for tryouts for a team that’s 31 games down. The coach snarks back that these are the boys the suit lines up. The coach asks the suit that as general manager can’t he get some better recruits? The GM snarks back that the coach wouldn’t know what to do with them because he’s 20 games out of fourth place. I don’t like to choose sides but it does seem like a good coach should be able to make at least passable players out of bad ones.
The GM goes on to say that the only thing that distinguishes their team is that their coach has the biggest mouth in two leagues. The GM also points out none too gently that if the Zephyrs win one game they have to call it a streak and Coach Mouth McGarry had better remember that come contract time. They watch the pitcher with the stiff leg. Mr. Mouth says he pitched one inning and only allowed six runs. Mouth snarkily says that makes him their most valuable player. Wow. Aren’t you nice. Making fun of a pitcher who’s still out there trying to pitch. Jerk.
The phone rings in the dugout and the GM answers it, “Dugout, yeah.” Um, there’s only one phone there. If it got called, chances are that the other party probably knows they’re calling the dugout. The GM asks Coach Mouth if he wants to look at a pitcher. Coach Mouth says he’s so desperate that he’d even consider the GM for pitcher. The GM says sure to whoever’s on the phone. After the GM hangs up he tells Coach Mouth that the new pitcher is a lefty. Coach Mouth doesn’t really care. As long as he has more than one arm and less than four he’ll look at him. Um, a person can pitch with one arm, you ass. And wouldn’t four arms possibly make him a better pitcher?
Coach Mouth yells at Monk in the catcher’s position that they’re going to look at a new pitcher so give Fletcher a rest for a bit and catch to the new guy for a bit. Couldn’t he just let Fletcher know himself? The GM wants to know if Coach Mouth has the line-up for the night. Mouth says he’ll let him know, he’s working on it. He tells the guy leading the jumping jacks to quit before the guy on the end passes out. Maybe if they did them more often his players might be in better shape. Yeah, I’m thinking Coach Mouth isn’t a very good coach. Mouth goes to get a drink of water when he hears a voice call his name. He turns around and looks startled.
Coach Mouth turns around to see a little man in glasses. Coach Mouth wants to know what the gag is. Because, Cthulhu knows, that a small guy in glasses can’t possibly play baseball. The GM walks off and Coach Mouth yells after him that it’s a crappy joke (paraphrasing a bit). The man introduces himself as Dr. Stillman and says that he’s not the pitcher. Although he has thrown a few balls in his time, before the war. Coach Mouth still decides to be a raging bag of penises and asks what war? Insinuating that Dr. Stillman is ancient, when he only looks maybe five or ten years older than the coach. A tall blond guy walks up and Dr. Stillman introduces him as Casey, the tryout pitcher. Someone hits a foul ball and Casey watches it until it bounces off his head. Coach Mouth makes an “Ouch!” face but it doesn’t seem to bother Casey all that much.
Dr. Stillman introduces Casey and The Mouth. Although apparently I’ve been wrong, Mouth is apparently the Manager, not the Coach. So who in the heck is the Coach? Or are they the same thing? Either way, I’m still calling him Coach Mouth. Casey shakes Mouth’s hand. Dr. Stillwell has to correct him on which hand to use. Apparently Casey has a strong grip as Coach Mouth grimaces. Dr. Stillwell seems to be taking a bit of pleasure in Coach Mouth’s discomfort. Finally he tells Casey to let go of Coach Mouth’s hand.
Coach Mouth says the guy out on the field with the big mitt and he’s the catcher. He tells Casey to go out and throw a few balls to him. Which strikes (heh heh, get it? Strikes? I’m sorry.) me as odd. If Casey is there to try out as a pitcher it seems reasonable that he would already know the rules of the game. Unless Coach Mouth is making assumptions again and figures that because the guy is big and strong he must have a toddler brain. Casey politely tells “Mr. McGarry” thank you and starts to head off. Dr. Stillwell reminds Casey to put on his hat.
Coach Mouth seems entranced by Casey and walks by a guy still doing jumping jacks. Coach Mouth tells him to “knock it off, he sees him.” They watch Casey wind up for a pitch. Coach Mouth asks Dr. Stillwell if he’s Casey’s father. The doctor says oh, no. Casey doesn’t have a father.He’s Casey’s creator. That catches Coach Mouth’s attention for a second but then goes back to watching Casey. And how freaking long is Casey taking to wind up? Coach Mouth asks how old Casey is. Dr. Stillwell says that’s hard to answer. Casey has only been in existence for three weeks but he has the mind and body of a twenty-two year old. Dr. Stillwell says he created and built Casey and shows Coach Mouth the blueprints. Coach Mouth clearly doesn’t believe him and talks to the sky, asking why He’s always picking on him.
Casey throws his fast ball and it leaves the glove and ball smoking. Then he throws his curve. We don’t get to see it but it’s apparently very curvy judging by the way the Coach and Dr.’s heads are moving. The coach starts wiping his face down with a towel that he pulled from nowhere. He tells the doctor to wait there and goes to stand behind the catcher. He has Casey throw him a fast one and a slow one. Monk is super-excited, telling Coach Mouth that Casey’s the best pitcher that he’s caught in a long time and oh my god did you see him! Coach Mouth says yeah, he saw him and stuffs his face-sweaty towel in Monk’s mask. Ew. He tells Monk to go take a shower. Well, yeah. You just shoved a sweaty towel in his face. I’d go shower, too.
Coach Mouth tries to play it cool by saying that Casey’s rough but they’ll give him a try. Dr. Stillwell tells Coach Mouth that Casey’s a robot. Coach Mouth tells Dr. Stillwell to never say that. They’ll just keep it in the family. Never mention the word “r-o-b-b-o-t-t”. Coach calls Casey over and tells him that he’s rough but they’ll work it out. Coach is such a nice guy that he tells Casey he wants to help young ballplayers then gives Casey a friendly tap on the shoulder that hurts his hand. He tells Casey to go ahead and change is clothes. Casey just stares at Coach so Coach asks the doctor if Casey wears clothes. The doctor says of course. He tells Casey to hit the showers (is that a good idea, if he’s a robot?). Casey just stares and blinks at him. The coach suggests the doctor check him out. The doctor agrees and Casey and Dr. Stillwell leave the field. Coach Mouth watches them and looks very excited.
Coach runs to the dugout phone and calls the GM, telling him to draw up a contract right away. Coach is still rubbing his hand from his handshake with Casey. He tells the GM to hurry down there with a contract, he wants the GM to shake hands with their new ace pitcher. Then he hangs up and has a little daydream about their pennant flying high.
At the game everyone’s excited. Monk asks Casey if he’s got the signals down and Coach Mouth tells Casey not to be nervous. Casey doesn’t know what nervous means so the Coach explains. Uh, wouldn’t it be better to just leave him alone? Why try to make him nervous? Dr. Stillwell asks what team they’re playing. Coach tells him it’s the Giants and he’d love to beat them. He’d love to beat any team for that matter.
Coach wants to know what’s in it for the doctor. Dr. Stillwell says that it’s purely scientific. He sees Casey as superhuman and wants to prove it. Um, ok? He’s not human at all but whatever. He goes on to say that he once built a home economist who was a wonderful cook. The poor doctor gained 48 pounds before he dismantled her. And I’m officially disgusted. He figured with Casey’s speed and stamina that he’d be a great pitcher so he wants to have it proven in a field of competition. The coach doesn’t seem to be paying much attention even though he’s the one who asked. As an acid test the doctor wants Casey to pitch in the worst team around. The Zephyrs. This offends Coach Mouth a bit and he tells the doctor he’s got a lot of class. I wouldn’t be talking if I were you. You’re the same guy who was making fun of an injured player (who presumably got the axe when you signed Casey) and shoved a sweaty towel in a guy’s face. You don’t get to be the arbiter of class.
We get a nice montage of how awesome Casey is making the team and how much they’re winning. In one of the games though, Casey gets conked on the head by a ball. For some reason the team doctor is checking Casey out, not his creator. The team doctor tells them that there’s no concussion and no fracture. Of course not, he’s a freaking robot! Coach is happy that Casey is fine because if not there goes the winning and the pennant. The GM throws in that it would also be the end of Coach’s career, which bums him out.
The team doctor says he always wondered how Casey could throw the ball so fast. He’s checking Casey’s pulse and trails off when he doesn’t find one. He checks out Casey’s heart with the stethoscope but still doesn’t find one. Then he stethoscopes Casey’s stomach and tells him to cough. Casey does and it sounds a little mechanical. The Coach comes over and wants to know what’s wrong. The team doctor says nothing, really, , just Casey doesn’t have a heartbeat and doesn’t seem to be alive. Beaseley wants to know what Mouth is trying to pull. Mouth protests and Dr. Stillwell tells the team doctor that they need to talk.
Dr. Stillwell tells the team doctor that there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for Casey not having a heart. He doesn’t have a heart, he’s a robot. The team doctor says he’ll have to notify the Baseball Commissioner. The GM looks worried and the coach looks bummed. Aw, there goes his pennant. I think the doctor’s right. Having a robot is cheating. The coach tells Casey to move over. Then he grabs a random pill from the table and washes it down with what looks like brandy or something.
The Commissioner is reading from the rule book. Article Whatever, Blah Blah Blah Paragraph: “A baseball team shall consist of nine men.” Men. End of story. Casey’s banned. The GM tries to argue with him, saying that for all intents and purposes Casey is a man. He tells Casey to talk to the man and tell him about himself. Casey wants to know what he should say. The Coach also throws in that Casey is smarter than most of the “mutton-heads” on his team. The Commissioner insists that Casey isn’t human. The GM says he’s got arms and legs and a face and he talks. What more does the Commissioner want. The Commissioner says that Casey doesn’t have a heart. How can he be human if he doesn’t have a heart. Coach points out that Beasely doesn’t have a heart but he owns 40% of the club.
Dr. Stillwell has been largely quiet until now but he pops up and says, since the lack of heart seems to be the problem, what if they gave him a heart? Dr. Stillwell says that he can operate and give Casey a heart. The Commissioner asks Casey if he wants to play. Coach Mouth answers for him and says of course he does! And shakes Casey’s arm around a bit. Casey just looks at him like, “Don’t touch me.”
The Commissioner asks the doctor if he would classify Casey as human if he had a heart. What is he? The freaking Tin Man? The doctor says yes and the Commissioner says that with a heart he will let Casey play. Isn’t that still a little unfair? He is still a robot with super-human skills. The Commissioner says that the other clubs are going to scream blue murder. I don’t blame them. They’re cheating. In fact, if I were the Commissioner, I would discount all of their previous games. But that’s just me. Beaseley and the coach are thrilled because the Tin Man will get a heart and the coach is still holding Casey’s arm. Casey looks like he could really care less.
Everyone’s waiting in the locker room, suited up for the game. Beaseley is trying to ring Dr. Stillman’s house but he’s not getting an answer. The coach gives the team the line-up because they’ve got to start with or without Casey. Then, oh my god, he gives them the “Do it for Casey!” speech. Cheese overload. Monk starts to sniffle and hold a handkerchief to his eyes. I’m honestly confused. Now I have to wonder if the writers were having a little poke at ‘sports’ movies with this speech. It just seems so snarky.
In the middle of his very moving “ghost in the dugout” speech, Casey and the doctor walk in. Coach Mouth doesn’t even notice. He says hi to Casey and goes on with his “win one for Casey” speech. Casey smiles at him. When Coach Mouth finally realizes that Casey’s there he asks how about it? Casey smiles and opens his suit jacket so Coach Mouth can hear.
Casey’s very happy and he’s very cute when he smiles. He says he feels “like togetherness”. Coach Mouth tells the guys to go and get out there. He hands Casey his suit and tells him to go suit up, number 7. Coach Mouth looks weird and repeats “togetherness”.
Out on the field, Casey winds up for a pitch and the batter hits a home run. It doesn’t seem to bother Casey any but Coach Mouth and Beaseley look upset. Apparently having a heart has ruined his pitching arm. For some reason. The Giants keep getting hit after hit off of Casey and Casey looks very pleased by it. I’m just going to take a guess that with his new heart he doesn’t want to make the other team feel bad. The Giants are 14 up at the end of the first.
After the game Coach Mouth wants an explanation. Aaand I was right. Casey just couldn’t hurt the other team’s feelings. Casey has compassion. That’s what happens when you give someone a heart that hasn’t been around long enough to understand competitiveness, ego or drive. Casey apologizes to Coach Mouth and says he couldn’t hurt the careers of the other guys. What about your own team? It just seems a bit uneven. You’d think if Casey were really concerned about everyone he’d have made it a tie between the teams.
Dr. Stillman has suggested that Casey go into social work because he wants to help people. Then he says goodbye and leaves. Coach Mouth feels very sorry for himself. Dr. Stillman slides Casey’s blueprint to him and says a memento might cheer him up. Coach Mouth picks them up and starts to look them over. Then he starts to laugh. He catches up with the doctor as he’s walking across the field. It’s actually a pretty cool overhead shot. But, unfairly, we don’t get to see what he was laughing about.
Once upon a time there was a major league baseball team called the Hoboken Zephyrs, who, during the last year of their existence, wound up in last place and shortly thereafter wound up in oblivion. There’s a rumour, unsubstantiated of course, that a manager named McGarry took them to the west coast and wound up with several pennants and a couple of world championships. This team had a pitching staff that made history. Of course, none of them smiled very much, but it happens to be a fact that they pitched like nothing human. And if you’re interested as to where these gentlemen came from, you might check under “B” for baseball in the Twilight Zone.
Well, it makes me wonder how easy they were to make if an ass like Coach Mouth was able to make a team of them. I also realized that Coach Mouth also played Corry on the Twilight Zone episode ‘The Lonely’. He was a jerk on that one, also. The next episode is a good one with a very meta twist to it.
Thanks for joining us and come back for next week’s episode: A World of His Own