Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

Remembering “Ball Four” — the TV show


Almost all baseball fans are aware of Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four.” If not, please log off right this second, find a copy of “Ball Four” and read it. It’s the best baseball book ever written and, even if it’s 46 years old, it will enlighten you about baseball and baseball players in ways you’ll be thankful for the rest of your baseball-watching life.

Not everyone knows, however, that “Ball Four” was turned into a TV show. CBS greenlighted a sitcom about it, written by and starring Bouton himself. It was  . . . not good. It certainly was not popular. After only four episodes aired in the fall of 1976, it was cancelled. Apart from the opening credits and theme song, it has been lost to history.

Thankfully lost if Dan Epstein’s article at Vice Sports is any guide. He recently talked to Bouton and others about the ill-fated sitcom version of the literary classic. Bouton is under no illusions that it was a good show and admits that he was (a) in over his head when it came to writing for TV and acting; and (b) super happy that it was cancelled so he could go back to his real life. Which, among other things, involved an on-the-field major league comeback in 1978.

Go read Dan’s article. And then ask yourself, does what you learned over there and the opening credits below suggest to you that we lost anything by losing the TV version of “Ball Four?”

Josh Reddick has the best t-shirt

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Dodgers outfielder Josh Reddick hasn’t played all that well since coming to the Dodgers — he only has six extra base hits in 144 plate appearances since being traded from Oakland — but he’s dressing wonderfully.

Note the t-shirt he was sporting yesterday. And he’s no hypocrite! Reddick has no sacrifice bunts this year. Sure, he only has nine dingers, but his heart is certainly in the right place:

Pirates acquire Phil Coke from the Yankees

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The New York Yankees have announced that they have traded lefty reliever Phil Coke from the Yankees for cash considerations.

Coke, 34, has been a disaster in his last few major league stops, but he pitched shockingly well for the Yankees Triple-A club. Indeed, he was a key part of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders success in winning Triple-A National Championship, posting a 0.55 ERA, 0.37 WHIP, and 18/0 K/BB ratio over 16.1 innings. The Pirates are on the fringes of the Wild Card race, so they’ve got nothing to lose.

If they somehow make up the three and a half games between themselves and the Cardinals, Giants and Mets and win one of the two Wild Cards, Coke would not be available for the playoffs since he wasn’t in the organization at the end of August.