(Blogathon ’16) Mr. Go, if adapted for American audiences

This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

Mr. Go. The classic tale of a girl, a gorilla, and the Korean Baseball Organization. Truly, one of the greatest Bizarre Baseball Culture entries of all time, and one you should totally consider purchasing if you are a fan of such things. But what if it was brought to American screens? How would it be adapted?

I have a few ideas:

The cute little Chinese girl, Weiwei, would stay, as would the backstory of her and her gorilla, Ling Ling. Similarly, the main antagonist of the film would be Liao Xiaogang, AKA “Tianjin Guy”, a corrupt nouveau-rich businessman/gangster.

This is a purely economic move. China is now one of the leading movie-going countries in the world, and the only way a baseball movie is going to get any attention there is if it has a Chinese person in it. Also, so much of what drives the plot is the fact that Weiwei is an outsider just trying to keep her friends and circus at home from being folded up.

The jerk-with-a-heart-of-gold scout, Sung Choong-Su, would instead be an American named Samuel “Sunny” Chance, played by James Franco.

For one thing, James Franco has experience with apes, and also he is able to do both comedy and drama, which this film would require. Also, I think civilization in general needs to see James Franco make drunken confessions to a baseball-playing gorilla who is also drunk.

Instead of going to the Doosan Bears, Ling Ling/Mr. Go would be a member of the San Diego Padres.

Don’t try to argue with me on this, you aren’t going to win.

The general manager of the Padres will have an expanded role and be played by John Goodman.

Because, really, imagine John Goodman delivering this line:

Jonah Hill would make a cameo as a sabermetrics expert who suggests how they can best use Mr. Go.

Both because he’s always in movies with James Franco, and as a reference to Moneyball.

There would be a subplot about how some people think Mr. Go isn’t playing the game the right way after he unleashes an epic bat-flip.

It’d provide realism to the affair.

After Mr. Go’s rampage, Weiwei and him would go on Jimmy Kimmel to prove he isn’t a monster.

Of course they would.

Instead of a bidding war between the Chunichi Dragons and Yomiuri Giants, it would be the Red Sox and Yankees.

Because of course it would be.

The veterinarian’s role would be expanded and made into a female love interest for Franco’s character, probably played by somebody quirky like Zooey Deschanel or wittily sarcastic like Anna Kendrick.

Because every goddamn movie, it seems, needs a love interest of some sort, and it sure as heck isn’t going to be Weiwei and Franco.

The NC Dinos, the main opponent of Doosan, would be replaced by the Dodgers. Also, the Division Series at the end of Mr. Go would be replaced with a final regular season series where the NL West title is on the line.

This both would better explain why every game is a home game for Mr. Go (in the Korean movie, they come up with an excuse about renovations at NC’s stadium) while still providing plenty of drama.

Leiting, the evil pitching gorilla who faces Mr. Go, will be renamed “Lightning” instead of “Zeros”.

Because Zeros was a dumb name.

The ending would be left more open to the “Football-playing Gorilla” sequel than the original movie was.

Every movie needs to have a opening for a sequel.

And, finally, it goes without saying that Andy Serkis would be playing Mr. Go.

Duh.

At 4 PM: AAA.

This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.

 

So… who’d be in the 2015 “In Memoriam” montage?

Last year, to great controversy, Major League Baseball didn’t do a thing to honor the memory of the great Tony Gwynn at the All-Star Game, leading many (including myself) to suggest that maybe MLB should take the opportunity every All-Star Game to pay tribute to the past and those we’ve lost by having a “In Memoriam” segment at the All-Star Game. One guy (Sully) even made a video on his own, and it was pretty good.

Well, we haven’t heard anything about a possible official “In Memoriam” video happening in a few weeks in Cincinnati, so I can only assume it won’t be happening, or it’s being kept a closely-guarded surprise. But, I (somewhat morbidly) wondered: who’d be in this year’s “In Memoriam” video anyway?

Here’s a list (and a semi-random order) I came up with, a * means that they’d get an extra emphasis, such as a highlight or interview clip about them:

Alvin Dark, 1948 Rookie of the Year, 3-time All-Star, lengthy managing career *

Frank Torre, member of 1957 World Champion Milwaukee Braves

Lennie Merullo, 7 seasons of MLB experience, last surviving man to have played in the World Series for the Chicago Cubs

Gordie Gillespie, all-time leader in coaching wins in college baseball (longtime NAIA coach)

Noella Leduc, winning pitcher of the last AAGPBL All-Star Game

Jim Fanning, longtime member of Expos front office, manager of Montreal’s 1981 playoff team

Riccardo Ingram, Twins minor-league roving instructor

Rocky Bridges, 1958 All-Star

Sy Berger, longtime Topps baseball card designer

Ray Sadecki, pitcher in 1960s and 1970s

Lon Simmons, Ford Frick Award-winning broadcaster for Giants and A’s*

Fred Gladding, 1969 NL saves leader

Jean-Pierre Roy, commentator for Montreal Expos from 1968 to 1984

Victor Sanchez, 20-year-old Mariners prospect

John Keenan, longtime Dodgers scout

Jose Capellan, pitcher during the 2000s

Bill Valentine, longtime umpire

Bill Slayback, 1970s Tigers pitcher, singer of “Move Over Babe (Here Comes Henry)”

Wendell Kim, longtime coach

Minnie Minoso, 9-time All-Star, 3-time gold glover *

Carl Long, Negro Leaguer who later helped integrate the Carolina League

Dave Bergman, 17 years MLB experience, 1984 World Champion

Dick Bresciani, longtime Red Sox PR Man

Jerry Lumpe, 1964 All-Star

Ulpiano Cos Villa, Spanish-Language broadcaster for Angels and CBS in 1980s

Jeff Robinson, pitcher in late 80s and early 90s

Oscar Taveras, young Cardinals star *

George Spencer, top reliever for 1951 Giants

Bernardo Fernandez, longtime Negro Leaguer

Jerry Gross, early Padres broadcaster

Alison Gordon, first female member of the BBWAA

Hank Peters, longtime executive, GM of Orioles from 1976 to 1987

Brad Halsey, MLB pitcher 2004-2006

Ollie Brown, outfielder in 1960s and 70s

John Winkin, College Coach

Stuart Scott, ESPN legend, creator of the “Boo-Yah!” HR call

Alex Johnson, 1970 All-Star and AL Batting Champion

Jerry Dior, creator of the MLB Logo

Don Bryant, catcher of Don Wilson’s second no-hitter, Bullpen coach of the 1975 AL Champion Red Sox

Nelson Doubleday Jr., former owner of the Mets

Al Rosen, 4-time Star, 1953 MVP, 2-time AL HR champion, longtime executive *

Andres Mora, member of the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame, 3rd all-time in minor league HRs

Jose Martinez, former player and longtime coach and executive

Bill Monbouquette, 3 (or 4, depending on how you count the multiple ASG years)-time All-Star and thrower of a No-Hitter in 1962

James Stillwell, an original owner of the Seattle Mariners

George Shuba, member of the 1955 World Series Champion Dodgers, minor-league friend of Jackie Robinson

Joe Simenic, co-founder of SABR

Russ Kemmerer, MLB pitcher in 50s and early 60s

Nick Peters, sportswriter and winner of 2009 J.G. Taylor Gordon Spink Award from HOF

Stu Miller, 1961 All-Star, 1958 NL ERA champion, member of Orioles Hall of Fame

Darryl Hamilton, 13-years MLB experience, MLB Network analyst

Ernie Banks, Hall of Famer *

 

 

On the “In Memoriam” Idea (Also: Sully Baseball’s video)

Note: This post was being written/outlined before Sully Baseball’s excellent video went up. Make sure to check that out- he does most of what I say in here.

As everybody and their brother said during the All-Star Game, Tony Gwynn really should have gotten a tribute. And, well, he didn’t, apparently because MLB didn’t want to make it about “any one person” (never mind that the entire game coverage was about Jeter and only a few years ago they did tributes to George Steinbrenner). So, everybody said, why not an Oscars-style “In Memoriam” segment, perhaps in the fifth inning?

 

I agree. Every year at the ASG, baseball should pay tribute to those it has lost since the last ASG with a Memoriam video of between two and four minutes, depending on how much of a bummer the year has been. It would feature (with examples of the types of people next to it):

  • Hall of Famers who had passed away (Tony Gwynn, Jerry Coleman, Ralph Kiner)
  • Players who had made All-Star Games, especially if they made multiple ones (Jim Fregosi, Bob Welch, Paul Blair, Andy Pafko, etc.)
  • Players who otherwise had roles in major moments in baseball history (perfect games, no-hitters, key roles in postseason, etc.) or won major awards
  • Individuals who were outright icons for various reasons (Don Zimmer)
  • Contributors off the field (Tommy John Surgery creator Frank Jobe, MLBPA president Michael Weiner, GM Frank Cashen, Mariners owner Hiroshi Yamauchi)
  • “Gone Too Soon” individuals who aren’t in the other categories (Umpire Wally Bell, former pitcher Frank Castillo)
  • Exemplary players from outside Major League Baseball (Negro Leaguers, AAGPBLers, College coaches, particularly exceptional international players, etc.)

As for what music that could accompany it? Well, I’m sure a good orchestral score would work well, but want to know what else would work? The most melancholy and nostalgic of all baseball songs: Frank Sinatra’s “There Used To Be A Ballpark”.

Do it, MLB. Make it classy, and it could become an indelible part of the midsummer classic.

A proposal to revamp Hall of Fame voting

One of the major gripes with Hall of Fame voting is that it is the Baseball Writers’ Association of America that does the voting. Even some of the writers themselves gripe about it, and many organizations actually forbid their writers from taking part in it, as it is in, a way, a case of newsman actively taking part in making the news.

And, of course, there is the the fact that, unlike, say, MVP voting or Cy Young voting, not every writer necessarily has seen the players on the ballot play, or even been a contemporary of them. While this can, in some cases, be a good thing- it allows for more neutral analysis statistically, for example, it is problematic. In addition, once a person gets a HoF vote, they have it for life, even if they then move on to cover a different topic or retire.

So the question some have is why the BBWAA has this power in the first place. Well, the fact is, when the HoF first opened, the BBWAA was basically the only organization that was around that could have done the job. Remember, it was the 1930s: television didn’t exist commercially, mass travel was not what it is now, and even radio, perhaps the top mass-media of the day, would rarely have covered national games outside of the playoffs. So, in essence, the only people who would have been able to see all of those players were, in essence, the writers and the players themselves. And so, the job was given to the BBWAA.

Now, however, we live in a different world, which is why I have suggestions on how to modernize the HoF vote… after the jump.

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