Thursday, January 10, 2013

Night Game

Episode 21

A brief introduction is given by the writer before the episode and its neat how she incorporated her love of baseball into the show.  In the episode Winston is a fan of the sport but that stands to reason considering he is the only one who would probably have an interest in it.  She mentions a goof in the script where Ray refers to the score as points rather than runs but takes the blame for making the mix up.  It’s not a big deal but it’s unusual to see people take blame for something they did wrong.  Anyway I enjoyed this one as a kid and find out now that it still holds up very well.  The question is will Winston be able to save the day with his baseball skills or will the Ghostbusters strike out?  I know a poor pun but would anyone be able to resist saying that for this particular episode?

It begins at night on a minor league baseball field.  I’m guessing its minor league since there isn’t even a stadium.  From the pitcher’s mound come streaks of blue and red spectral energy I dare say.  The streaks dart around the field and eventually return to the mound but clearly something supernatural is stirring.  The music is added perfectly to provide that feeling of otherworldly phenomena.

Ghostbuster policy = bribery
Winston comes strolling into the firehouse in full baseball attire flashing around two tickets.  He asks Ray and Peter if they want to go to the game with him but Ray dismisses the invitation once he finds out the Jaguars are playing.  Apparently they are a very terrible team as Ray would prefer to see the Yankees or Red Sox.  Peter declines as well but does he like anything?  Janine in turn refuses the offer opting to stare at her exciting magazine instead.  Egon comes downstairs with a huge stack of books but declines only offering Winston the story that he knew someone in college who studied the curveball.  Alas Winston is left to bribing Slimer with food to join him.  Slimer agrees by taking Winston’s ball cap off and wearing it.  A wink to the camera by Winston and we’re off.

In the stands Slimer is eating wildly while wearing a jacket and hat.  I usually find nothing remotely interesting about Slimer but it’s a funny brief scene.  The blue and red streaks appear during the game as Winston watches on.  Again they came from the pitcher’s mound.  Curiosity is pulling at Winston’s soul right about now.  Let’s face it its far more interesting than watching a crappy baseball team play.

Don't mess with a forearm like that
Back at the firehouse the guys raze Winston about the Jaguars.  “A jag player dropping a pop fly isn’t exactly a supernatural event.”  Ray states.  “Now if he caught the ball that’d be supernatural.”  Peter adds.  Winston slams his fist on the table claiming, “I know what I saw.”  It’s awesome to see him sticking it to the guys for their disbelief in his story.  He brings out a book he checked out from the library, ah the good old days, and explains to the guys about an old Indian legend.  It states once every 500 years the forces of good and evil battle at the very same spot the Jaguars play their games.  That basically shuts up the mockery from them and they agree to check it out in the morning by visiting the mayor for a permit.  Winston is afraid people may get hurt in the meantime because it could take days to get legal permission to check out the baseball field.

Winston decides to take matters into his own hands without the others knowledge and drives up to the field alone in his car, which is styling.  A security guard lets him in because he’s so excited to meet a ghostbuster in person.  That’s when the spirits come out to play so to speak.  Winston tells the guard to take off and he’ll follow.  The guard calls the ghostbusters and the others come quickly.  “He’s in there.  I gotta tell you this guy is brave.”  The guard informs the ghostbusters who look at the supernatural event surrounding the field.  I always liked that line by the guard, don’t know why.  Egon suggests they all fire their beams at the same spot at the base of the dome now covering the field.  That allows a tunnel to be formed and entry possible by the guys. 

Which side was the umpire on though?
As they arrive inside they notice a supernatural baseball field in place with Winston playing as the shortstop.  I love the creativity of the spirits and the layout of the field, in particular the bases.  They have eyes and a mouth with sharp teeth that look downright creepy.  Winston explains he suggested good and evil play a game of baseball this time since they always conform to their surroundings and do battle based off of it.  It’s a fun idea actually.  Winston has to play in the game since he was present when the spirits showed up, makes enough sense.  The umpire wants the rest of them to go and explains this game is being played for one human soul.  Peter overacts and refuses to leave as the guys think Winston’s soul is on the line.  The umpire allows them to stay but they can’t play, that’s probably a good thing.  Can you imagine Egon, Ray or Peter playing baseball, it couldn’t be pretty.  If evil wins the human soul must do evil’s bidding for 500 years, high stakes.

The game goes on with the score being tied at 0 in the 8th inning.  Evil gets a hit and Winston catches a pop fly where about 50 or so balls fall toward him, although he makes the play and catches one for the out.  Peter informs the umpire that evil cheated.  I love the response by the umpire as he explains that evil is allowed to cheat because it’s their nature but if good cheats they will forfeit the game.  Good can’t take the ways of evil and still be good.  Basically evil can do whatever they want to win while good must play by the rules, it’s an awesome little speech.  Ray says as they walk away, “I wonder if good is allowed to steal bases?”  Peter replies, “Maybe good just borrows them Ray.”  Amazing dialogue is all I can say.

Cheater's never prosper guys
As evil goes up one run Winston comes over to say how much it means to him that the guys are letting him do this.  They in turn encourage him to go back out there and do his best more or less, what else can they say?  They’re worried he will lose his soul for 500 years!  Good eventually gets a couple of hits prompting evil to call for a relief pitcher, a giant one eyed, long elephant-like trunked beast.  It doesn’t look good for, well, good.  With the pressure mounting and good down to their final out Winston comes up to bat.  The music is on mark as well which adds to the tension.  The umpire informs the guys that evil’s best pitcher is up and Winston may do better against another pitcher.  The guys ponder over cheating since they haven’t been forced to leave.  Peter hates the idea of a game determining Winston’s fate.  Egon remembers everyone must be on a side.  Peter wants to trap the pitcher to save Winston.  It’s apparent they are on the side of good with Winston though as Egon stops Ray and Peter from blasting the pitcher.  Cheating isn’t an option even for them.

Used to be a woolly mammoth?
Cue the theme music as the pitcher prepares to fire and Winston stares it dead on.  It’s a powerful scene as he smashes the ball straight back to the pitcher with supernatural velocity (appropriate I’d say) sending the spirit into the scoring post.  He rounds the bases to the exciting thrall of the music and the celebration of good winning the game.  Evil melts away in defeat for another 500 years while good gets the classic fade out.  Egon wishes he could have studied the umpire a bit more while Peter says, “At least we saved our buddy here.”  Winston says, “What?..  Oh no, you got it all wrong it was your soul we were playing for Peter.”  Peter collapses in the reality if he cheated it would have been his soul suffering instead.  It’s a great little twist ending to a fantastic episode.

I’m not a fan of baseball but this was one of the best episodes yet.  It’s not the top but it earns its points, runs or whatever you want to call it.  The minimal and effective use of Slimer was great while integrating baseball and ghostbusting flawlessly.  I recommend this one to anybody new to the show that is curious about ghostball.

Rating: 10 of 10
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