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This cartoon begins by giving a brief overview on what baseball requires,
such as a ball park, a diamond, etc., then gives a simulated "Goofy" play
in the process, where the batter gets a base hit to right field, stops at
first while the right fielder bobbles the ball. At that point, the runner
tries for second base but the good throw by the right fielder has him "out
or safe or neither or either or both." This must be the "Goofy" rulebook.
After giving an overview on the pitcher, the batter, and the numerous
types of pitches the pitcher can throw, it's on to the end of a simulated
seventh game of the World Series. I don't remember the teams off hand, but
I do know that the visitors were winning 3-0 and their pitcher had a no-hitter
with two out in the ninth inning. Needless to say, this cartoon got a little
help from Nostradamus, since Don Larsen's perfect game came 14 years later.
In this case, the visiting pitcher just needed one more out. Given the
"Goofy" way, getting that last out was not going to be easy. The first batter
hits a fair ball down the third base line for the team's first hit. I did
not understand that, because normally a hit down the foul line would usually
result in a double, but mind you this is a Goofy cartoon, so the runner
trips over tons of baseball apparel to make it to first base.
On the next odd play, the pitcher catches the runner off first too far
off the bag and a rundown ensues. However, on one of the exchanges, the
second baseman drops the ball, thus committing an error and allowing the
runner to slide safely into second base, taking half of the dirt on the
right side of the infield with him. The pitcher, obviously nerve-wracked
by all of this, throws the next pitch and hits the batter right in the head.
With the tying run at the plate, the crowd goes nuts because of the chance
of a tie game. Well, the next batter comes up and hits a high pop-up in
the infield. Keep in mind that with 2 out there is no infield fly rule,
so the pitcher, the catcher, and another infielder converge on the ball.
However, they collide, the ball lands at their feet, and by the time one
of the players could get their hands on the baseball, the batter had beaten
the throw to first by a step.
"What a game this has turned out to be," exclaims the announcer at this
point. With the crowd going crazy, and the runners doing all kinds of stunts
to get leads off their respective bases, everything then comes to a hush.
Assuming there is a 3 ball 2 strike count on the batter (which the cartoon
obviously skipped), it was up to the pitcher, with $500,000 and the World
Series lying on the final pitch. The pitcher delivers a strike and the batter,
who hit the covering and the string off the ball, outdoes Casey by ripping
a deep fly to center, which, of course, the center fielder dropped as all
the baseball string fell on him. Now, it's a footrace. The bases cleared
and the score became level. As the center fielder so-called "hops" toward
home plate, both the batter and the fielder gave everything they had to
see who would get to home plate first. Both arrive at the same time.
It was now up to the umpire, and when he surprised everyone by calling
the batter out at home plate, a huge argument ensues and both benches clear
on the umpire. Obviously the umpire was wrong because a tie does go to the
runner, but you have to respect the minds of the animators who really made
that judgment call.
I wished they had a sequel to this cartoon, but since they did not, can
anyone calculate what inning this game would have been in if they were still
playing, or did Walt Disney call the game on a count of complete exhaustion?
The first new technique I saw was not necessarily all that new, but was used to great effect in this short. The use of simple diagrams, with narration carrying the narrative, was something we saw in Four Methods of Flush Riveting. In that short, it was dry and humorless. Here, it’s used to great effect, such as the diagram of how the players move on the diamond.
The second technique that expands Goofy’s horizons is the use of multiple Goofs to create the short. We’ve seen this once before, in The Art of Self Defense, but there it was two Goofys fighting each other. Here, we have a whole baseball team full of Goofy players fighting it out. The pitcher Goofy throws it to batter Goofy, and the action continues from there.
What I love about this short is the slapstick quality. Everything is a joke. It’s as frenetic a pace as we saw in the early, early Mickey Mouse shorts, where the jokes piled on a mile a minute. Everything is used for comedy, from the delivery of the pitcher, to the slide of a runner, who ends up sliding down and into the ground, with a pile of dirt on top of him.
The second half of the short focuses on the final game of the World Series, and puts all kinds of baseball issues in the spotlight. The narrator is fantastic, because he uses all sorts of baseball lingo in his descriptions of the action. But rather than keep one piece of jargon going, he changes constantly, adding to the comedic pace. It’s a great little device used to heighten the hilarity.
I can’t recommend this short highly enough, but you probably knew that before you read my review. I love Goofy and especially the “How To” shorts, so this one was a great example of that. Watch it and enjoy!