Sunday, September 18, 2016

Quantum Leap -- Episode 53: Play Ball

Sam Leaps Into:
Lester "Doc" Fuller, a former major league baseball player toiling in the minors.

Make it back to the majors (aka "The Show") while also finding a way to give a young, talented, hotheaded pitcher his chance.


Galveston, Texas

Memorable Quote:
This could be messier than I thought.  ~Al

See memorable quote. Funny moment when Sam says that Lester originally got the start from sleeping his way to the top, and then Al assumes he's referring to the gruff male manager until a frustrated Bakula tells him about the female owner.

I understand why they brought in the father/son story line: to help cure what ails Chucky and to bring some emotional resonance to the story (ala Field of Dreams).  Nevertheless, the subplot felt rushed and didn't resonate with me emotionally.  And shouldn't there at least have been a line where the father says to Sam, "How did you know I was his father?"  

Other thoughts, observations, and questions I didn’t ask when I was in fourth grade:
  • Chucky was the third of many credits for Neal McDonough.  He's been in a ton of things but I remember him most from his role as Buck Compton in Band of Brothers. It's not surprising given his appearance here that he went on to a great career because he knocks his role out of the park (pun intended).  He also has a great arm (see 27:17 mark when he's pitching in practice).  Bakula = not quite as great of an arm.
  • Another familiar face is the manager played by Don Stroud who appeared in two episodes of MacGyver: Renegade (as Commander Hilliard) and High Control (as Kluge).
  • Not the greatest portrayal of Latino baseball players: the smiling Sanchez Brothers who carry guitars, speak no English, and in the end are hauled off by immigration agents. 
  • Our second minor league baseball episode (the first was the end of the pilot Genesis), and at the 12:34 mark we get our second shot of the Field of Dreams baseball field (the first was in The Leap Home).
  • The Yankees must be having a rough season if they're signing a pitcher after half an outing and bringing in a pitching coach from a small minor league team (solely on the basis of his removing himself from the game, no less).

Final Analysis:
Not the greatest or most original story in the world, but I'm a baseball guy so I enjoyed the setting. And the acting was excellent including McDonough, Stroud, and Maree Cheatham as the flirtatious Southern owner.  Ranking it 21 out of 53.


  1. Neal McDonough shows up in unexpected places. He's in Star Trek: First Contact as a member of the Enterprise crew. And he's been on 3 seasons of Suits as an attorney for the SEC. He's fun to watch and can be very intense when it's necessary.

  2. I was encouraged with the baseball plot but this was a pretty weak episode. I should honestly rewatch it as I was getting super sleepy by the end of it but I don't think it's all that worthy of a rewatch. Great cast though. I immediately recognized Don Stroud but definitely didn't recognize ALL of him. He must have put on 30 pounds since his first "MacGyver" guest appearance on "Renegade". It was tough to tell given all the biker gear how heavy he was in "High Control" but he had really chubbed up here. This "Quantum Leap" episode aired only seven months after "High Control". I agree that Neal McDonough was fantastic here. Despite the different hair color, I immediately recognized that mug from the million TV appearances he's made since, the best of which was as smug alcoholic DA David McNorris on the 2002-2003 police drama "Boomtown", which would make at least my top-20 if not my top-10 of the best TV series of my lifetime. He was also great in the short-lived 2007 action thriller "Traveler". Pretty much any show will be good if Neal McDonough in it I've discovered.

    The possible exception is this "Quantum Leap" episode was pretty tepid for only the second episode of the season. Seemed like a major missed opportunity. I'll rank it between "Sea Bride" and "Nuclear Family".