Patrick Dempsey as BallPark Frank Murphy
Malin Akerman as Angela Williams
Kevin Hart as Vince “Lightning” Johnson
Reginald VelJohnson as Manager Buck Jones
Justin Long as Pete Graves
Josh Lucas as Hank Gordon
Tom Arnold as Tommy Thompson
and Brian Dennehy as Paddy Sullivan
Estimated Budget: $35,000,000
Estimated Box Office: $70,000,000 Domestic, $70,000,000 International
Frank Murphy (Patrick Dempsey) was the top pitcher in college baseball and his arrogance knew no bounds: Women, alcohol, money; there was nothing Frank felt he wasn’t entitled to. Eventually Frank began gambling on his own games at Boston College and fell into debt with the mafia. To settle these debts, he was forced to throw the final game of the college world series and cost his team the NCAA Title. Frank’s improprieties weren’t a secret for long as in no time ESPN and every other news outlet in the country was reporting that the top collegiate pitcher in the USA was responsible for the biggest scandal in baseball since Shoeless Joe Jackson. Frank’s future, which once looked so bright, was now finished: No Big League team would touch him now.
In the years after his scandal Frank continued to build more gambling debt with the mafia until they finally reached their breaking point. Goons were sent after Frank to break his pitching arm. The damage done was so extensive that doctors were forced to sew the few remaining working parts of the arm together, leaving Frank with a baby arm where his golden ticket had once been. After the surgery Frank found he had no nerve tissue left in his arm and he could never tire his limb out, no matter how many balls he throws.
Through everything, the only thing Frank never lost was his love for the game of Baseball. He couldn’t stay away. Instead of moving on with his life, Frank took a job vending hot dogs in the stands at Boston Red Sox games. While not serving wieners to the loyal fans at Fenway, Frank spent his time watching the action and looking longingly at the diamond that no longer had a place for him.
The Red Sox were in the midst of their worst season in team history and fans were getting angry. One especially hot game, with the Sox losing badly to the rival Yankees, an especially obnoxious Sox fan recognized Frank from his playing days and taunted him for 7 straight innings (“AY it’s Frank the baby-arm! Whassa-matta Frank? Bet your arm on last night’s game!?”). As the man continues needling him, Frank finally snaps and decides he’s had just about enough of life kicking him down. From 20 rows below, Frank whips a hot dog so fast it becomes a blur, and the relish covered weiner smacks the annoying fan right in the face. The crowd gasps. Play on the field comes to halt. No one can believe a throw of that distance, speed and accuracy was humanly possible. Finally after minutes of agonizing silence, the crowd erupts in cheers: A local legend has been born.
In the ensuing weeks Frank Murphy becomes known as “BallPark Frank”, the hot dog vendor with the rocket arm. Fans begin coming to games just to catch a hotdog-fastball from BallPark Frank. Fellow beer vendor and friend Tommy Thompson (Tom Arnold) is a hilarious loud-mouth who takes every opportunity to promote the legend of his friend (including unlicensed t-shirts he sells secretly in the stands). For a team in the cellar, any chance to get fans excited is a welcome one. As Frank’s fanbase grows in size each game, the new owner of the Red Sox Paddy Sullivan (Brian Dennehy) takes notice of the only thing driving fans to the stadium. Sensing an opportunity to put some butts in the seats, Sullivan calls Frank into his office and tells him he’s going to give him a try-out as a pitcher for the Red Sox. Against all the odds, Frank has been given a second chance.
BallPark Frank’s tryout begins disastrously but after taking a deep breath, Frank begins imagining each baseball as a hotdog and proceeds to fire 100mph strike after strike. He makes the team.
Frank soon discovers he’s not the only one on his new team with issues. Centerfielder Vince “Lightning” Johnson (Kevin Hart) is a boisterous and cocky speedster who’s so distracted by flirting with women in the stands that he can no longer hit a curveball. Meek Pete Graves (Justin Long) is a young shortstop who lost all his confidence and with it, his fielding ability. Catcher Hank Gordon (Josh Lucas) is a grizzled veteran who doesn’t want to sacrifice his already broken down body blocking wild pitches anymore. To cap it all off, manager Buck Jones (Reginald VelJohnson) is more concerned about the dugout being stocked with sunflower seeds than he is with Wins and Losses. In short, the entire Red Sox team is in dire need of a reminder of why they fell in love with the game in the first place, lest they miss the playoffs for the 5th straight year.
Red Sox PR-woman Angela Williams (Malin Akerman) is assigned to deal with the media covering the story of BallPark Frank. Angela was brought up in a Red Sox obsessed family and her love of baseball has always been the most important part of her life, going back to the time she bonded with her late father while playing catch with him as a little girl. Despite possible sparks between herself and Frank, Angela has a strict no-dating-players policy that she uses as an excuse to never be vulnerable in front of anyone.
With BallPark Frank on the team, the Red Sox season begins to turn around. Working with his teammates on their issues gives Frank the opportunity to fill the holes in his own life. As Frank notches Win after Win the Sox finally find themselves one game out of the playoffs with one game left to play against the Yankees. If the Sox win, they advance to the postseason. The night before the game Frank receives two phone calls. The first is from GM Buck Jones telling him he’ll be starting tomorrow’s game. The second is from his old friends at the mafia offering Frank $1 Million to throw the game and let the Yankees win. The choice is simple: Financial security or the chance to finally defeat the past demons that have haunted Frank’s life since he fell from grace….
BallPark Frank is a heart-warming underdog story about redemption, teamwork, and what the human spirit can do with a second chance. The laughs and tears come as fast as a BallPark Frank hotdog soaring through the air while the story twists and turns as dramatically as his Curveball. Because when BallPark Frank takes the mound, the batters will be “out!” but the audience will have witnessed a Home Run!
Exclusive Scene From The Script:
Where does the Mafia come in to all of this? To have some point of entrance, give them a quick detailed past or of how he got involved with the Mafia.
I don’t know how you thought of this movie without automatically having Woody Harrelson being the main character.
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