No Joy in Mudville



We move ahead and right into the conversation with Dana and Lisa.

Lisa: Why, thank you, Dana.

Dana: You're welcome. I'm happy for you both.

Lisa: Dana... uh...

Dana: Yeah. I'm sorry, too.

Lisa: (smiles) You still know me very well, don't you?

Dana: I guess so.

Lisa: Do you think we could do lunch sometime, and catch up on everything?

Dana: I don't know.

Lisa: Oh, come on.

Dana: I've been extremely busy with work, ever since the Sydney Games.

Lisa: It's been too long, Dana.

Dana: I'll check my schedule.

Casey and Charlie walk up and join Dana and Lisa.

Casey: Hey.

Lisa: I see Charlie found you.

Dana: Hi, Charlie.

Charlie: Hi, Dana.

Casey: Catching up with each other?

Lisa: Yeah. Dana's going to check her schedule and see if we all can have lunch.

Dana: All of us?

Lisa: Yeah, why not?

Casey and Dana look uncomfortable.

Charlie: Can I pick the place?

Casey: Where do you want to go?

Charlie: Fudruckers!

Casey and Dana both laugh.

Lisa: No, dear.

Charlie: Aw, mom.

Casey: Maybe, someday.

Charlie: All right, dad.

Lisa: No.

Casey gives Lisa a look which says, "Come on, give our son a break."

Lisa: We'll have to see Dana's schedule, first.

Dana: Right.


We move to the dugout, where Jeremy is seated on the bench. Natalie runs up and sits right beside him.

Natalie: Ready?

Jeremy: I guess so.

Natalie: You've got to be positive, Jeremy.

Jeremy: Okay. We are earning five thousand dollars for the Komen Foundation.

Natalie: Ten thousand.

Jeremy: We're not going to win.

Natalie: Jeremy!

Jeremy: You said 'be positive,' and I'm being positive. We are giving money to a worthwhile charity.

Natalie: Why don't you think we are going to win?

Jeremy: Momentum is on their side. They have a very talented team. Here's what's going to happen...

Jeremy stands up and acts his premonition out.

Jeremy: ...Robin Roberts is going to hit a double, and then Stuart Scott is going to hit a home run. It happens every year.

Natalie: But Casey's pitching.

Jeremy: Right. Casey pitches every year, and he's the best pitcher we got.

Natalie: Jeremy.

Jeremy: Then a ball is going to be hit to me in right field and it's either going to roll between my legs or bounce off my head, or I'm going to trip over my own two feet trying to run to first base.

Natalie stands up next to Jeremy.

Natalie: Don't break it down.

Jeremy: Break what down?

Natalie: Don't break down the game to bits and pieces.

Jeremy: It's what I do for a living. (points at Natalie) It's what you do.

Natalie: That's our jobs. This is supposed to be fun.

Jeremy: It's not fun when we are being beaten by 10 or 20 runs.

Natalie: Play like a team. Everyone contributes to our success. No matter how minute. See the scoreboard out there. (points toward the scoreboard) It says 'CSC.' It doesn't say 'Jeremy,' or 'Casey,' or 'Natalie.' If we work together and have fun, everything will turn out all right.

Jeremy thinks about it for a moment.

Jeremy: Thank you.

Natalie gives Jeremy a quick peck on his cheek.

Natalie: You're welcome.


Dan and Rebecca, walking and holding hands, join up with Dana, Casey, Lisa, and Charlie.

Dan: Hey, guys. We've got to get ready for the game.

Lisa: Hey, Dan.

Dan flashes a quick smile and waves at Lisa.

Charlie: Hi, Dan.

Dan: How's the little champ doing?

Charlie: I'm not so little any more.

Dan: I can see that.

Charlie: I'm doing great. How about you?

Dan: Really well, thank you for asking.

Lisa: (to Casey) Oh, I forgot to tell you- I purchased tickets for when Edward Villella and the Miami City Ballet come to town.

Casey: Good.

Dan: Oh, Edward Villella, the most celebrated American-born dancer.

Lisa: Yeah, I thought Casey and I would like to go.

Casey: When is it?

Lisa: April.

Dan: That far in advance?

Lisa: I had to get tickets early.

Dan: (nods his head) Hmmm.

Casey: Great.

Dana: Well, guys. We've got to go and warm up.

Dan: Yeah, we'll see you later.

Dan gives a quick kiss to Rebecca.

Rebecca: Good luck... coach.

Lisa: Casey, make us proud.

Casey: Sure will.

Charlie: Do your best, dad.

Casey: Thanks.

Casey rustles Charlie's hair with his hand.

The group breaks up. Rebecca heads toward and greets Isaac and Esther warmly. Lisa goes with Charlie, as Lisa smooths out his hair. Dana, Dan, and Casey walk and talk as they head toward their dugout.

Dan: That was... different.

Dana: Tell me about it.

Casey: What?

Dana: I was taken aback when Lisa came right up to me.

Casey: Really?

Dana: She greeted me warmly, and acted as if nothing had ever happened.

Dan: Wow. It was kinda' like the old days.

Casey: Only Lisa and I were married back then.

Dan: You're married now.

Casey: What? I'm still weighing my options.

Dan: And she's moving ahead with you.

Casey: She's not moving ahead.

Dan: Miami City Ballet. April. That's six months from now. She's making plans, my friend.

Casey stops walking as Dana and Dan keep on going.

Casey: Oh.

Off to the side, a voice calls out for Casey. Casey turns and notices ESPN's Dan Patrick and Bill Pidot walking toward him.

Dan Patrick: Casey McCall, how are things going for you?

Casey and Dan Patrick shake hands.

Casey: Going good. Things are looking good.

Bill Pidot: Great to see you again, Casey.

Casey and Bill Pidot shake hands.

Casey: Good to see you, Bill.

Dan Patrick: I hear you guys are playing for Susan J. Komen this year.

Casey: Yup, and you guys are playing for St. Jude's, right?

Bill Pidot: Right.

Casey: There's so many good charities out there.

Dan Patrick: You can't go wrong as long as somebody is getting much-needed assistance in the end.

Casey: It's always difficult narrowing it down to one.

Bill Pidot: You pitching again this year, Casey?

Casey: Yeah. And you guys?

Dan Patrick: First base.

Bill Pidot: Second.

Casey: And Stuart Scott is pitching for you guys.

Dan Patrick: Right.

Bill Pidot: You have nice jerseys this year.

Casey: These? Yeah, they're great. We could celebrate Christmas with our green and your red jerseys.

Dan Patrick: Things going well with CSC?

Casey: Yeah. Everything's great. Our contracts are up this summer, but we're working things out.

Dan Patrick: Well, if you ever feel in a pinch, you can always come over to us.

Casey: ESPN?

Bill Pidot: Another ACE award winner would only strengthen us.

Casey: I don't know.

Dan Patrick: It's just a suggestion. You are a huge asset to CSC, so I don't think they would want to see you go.

Casey: Thank you.

Dan Patrick: I think they're getting ready to start. Good luck, Casey.

Casey: Thanks guys.

Casey shakes hands with Dan Patrick and Bill Pidot and they head off to their respective dugouts.


Casey joins everybody else in the dugout.

Dan: What was that about?

Casey: Oh, that. Dan and Bill were just trash-talking.

Dan: Well, they better be prepared to back it up.

Casey: They better.

Dan: We are overdue.

Casey: Yes, we are.

Dan: I really, really want to beat them this year.

Casey: We all want to win.

Dan: Play hard, Casey. Play hard. Let's kick some ass.

Dana: Okay, everybody! Let's gather around!

The team gathers around Dana.

Dana: First of all, Scott is running late...

Everyone lets out a collective groan.

Dana: Hey, hey, hey. It's all right. He'll be here later. Let's just keep it close until he gets here.

Dan: We're still going to kick their butt!

Natalie: Yeah!

Dana: Let's go! Good game everyone!

The team breaks their huddle with chants of "C S C! C S C! C S C!"


We see the umpire dust off home plate and he yells, "Play ball!"

We watch bits and pieces of the game.

Casey toss a pitch underhanded and a member of Sportscenter hit a ground ball to Dan at shortstop. Dan scoops it up and throws it to Elliott at first.

A Sportscenter player hits a fly ball and it is caught by Dave in center field.

A '0' posted on the scoreboard for ESPN in the top of the first.

Natalie hits a ball, and it just gets by the opposing shortstop.

Chris smashes a ball over everyone's head in left center. Dan, coaching third base, waves runners home. Kim rounds third and heads for home, followed by Dave.

Casey grounds into a double play.

A Sportscenter player strikes out.

Another Sportscenter player strikes out.

Robin Roberts hit a ball down the left field line, and we see her coast into second base, standing up.

Stuart Scott crushes a home run over the center field fence, next to the scoreboard.

The scoreboard changes the '0' in the top of the fifth, to a '2.' The score is ESPN 6, CSC 8.

Dan Patrick hits a ball just over Natalie's head at third base.

Bill Pidot hits a ball past Kim at second base.

Kim hits the ball hard.

Dana hits the ball hard.

Dave hits a fly ball.

Chris hits a fly ball.

Dan hits a home run.

Rebecca is cheering in the stands, while Isaac and Esther are laughing and having a good time.

Will makes a great catch in left field.

A ball is hit over Jeremy's head. Dave chases the ball down.

Two Sportscenter players cross home plate in front of Dana, who is playing catcher.

A sharply hit ground ball is hit to Dan, who snags it, turns, and whips it to Kim at second. Kim catches it and quickly throws it to Elliott to complete the double play.

Casey pops out to ESPN's catcher.

Jeremy hits a ball very weakly in front of the catcher. The catcher picks up the ball and throws it over Dan Patrick's head at first. Jeremy reaches first base, unaware of the wild throw. Will, coaching first base, motions Jeremy to second base, and Jeremy takes off. Everyone in the Sports Night dugout is jumping up and down and screaming. Jeremy sees another errant throw go by the shortstop covering second base, and he runs to third. Dan waves Jeremy home, and he heads for home. The catcher has his mask off waiting for the throw. A few feet from home plate, Jeremy trips and falls forward. He stumbles and crawls forward. He touches home plate right before the catcher tags him with the ball. The umpire signals "Safe!" as Jeremy lies in the dirt as everyone runs out of the Sports Night dugout. They pick Jeremy up and celebrate his run.

A '1' goes up for CSC on the bottom of the eighth, and the score is ESPN 12, CSC 13.

Dan Patrick hits a ground ball to Natalie at third base, and she throws him out.

Bill Pidot hits a ball to Elliott, who makes a back-handed grab going away from first base. Casey runs over to cover first, and Elliott tosses him the ball. Casey catches it, recording the out.

The scoreboard shows a '0' for ESPN in the top of the ninth, trailing by one run, and with 2 outs.

Robin Roberts hits a ball back up the middle, and Casey ducks out of the path of the flying object to prevent from being decapitated.

Stuart Scott crushes a ball to center field, and it bounces off the top of the fence. Stuart is running and he is halfway to second base. Dave runs down the ball at the track, grabs it, and throws it to the cutoff man, Dan. Dan turns and sees Stuart heading for third and he throws the ball there. Natalie catches the ball and applies a tag to the sliding Stuart, and the umpire calls him safe.

Another Sportscenter player hits the ball over Dan's head for a base hit.

Casey looks down at the pitcher's mound in disgust.

In the stands, Lisa looks disappointed, and Charlie looks like he is going to cry.

Elliott gets a base hit.

Will gets a base hit.

The scoreboard says ESPN 14, CSC 13, and there are 2 out in the bottom of the ninth.


Casey leaves the on-deck circle and goes to bat. A man is seen running into the Sports Night dugout.

Natalie: Scott!

Dana, who was at the front of the dugout, turns around and sees Scott standing there next to her.

Scott: I got here as soon as I could.

Dana: Good. There's two outs. Elliott's on third, Will's on second, and we're down by one.

Scott: Do you want me to hit? (looks toward home plate) Pinch hit for Casey?

Dana: Give me a second.


Time is called in the field. Casey meets Dan halfway down the third-base line.

Dan: Two outs, Casey. A base hit scores Elliott and Will, and we win.

Casey: Yeah.

Casey notices Scott in the dugout and motions in that direction.

Casey: Scott's here.

Dan: Dana said to keep it close until he got here.

Casey: Pinch hit Scott for me.

Dan ponders the idea for a moment.

Casey: Scott can easily win the game for us.

Dan: First base is open.

Casey: So?

Dan: They'll walk him.

Casey: And get to the top of the order.

Dan: Your point is?

Casey: Take me out and we have a better chance of winning.

Dan puts a reassuring hand on Casey's shoulder. Dan then takes a step back and claps his hands a few times.

Dan: Come on, Casey! A base hit wins the game!

Casey stares at Dan as he walks back to his spot at third base.

Dan: A little rip, baby. Let's knock 'em in!


Scott: You're sticking with Casey?

Dana: I guess Dan has a strategy.


Casey steps into the batter's box. Both benches are tense with anticipation. The crowd in the stands are yelling and cheering.

Casey: Hey, Stuart! You wouldn't think of walking me? First base is open!

Stuart Scott: Not a chance, Casey!

Casey lets out a sigh of disappointment, as the umpire tells everyone to "Play ball."

Casey takes the first pitch right down the middle for a strike. The crowd starts going crazy because he passed on the perfect pitch.


Dana: (whispering) Come on, Casey.


The next pitch comes and Casey takes a mighty swing. He fouls the ball off and it flies behind the fence and safely into the crowd.


Dan: (to Elliott) Two outs. As soon as it's hit, take off.


Lisa sits silently and looks concerned. Charlie is standing up, with the rest of the crowd.

Charlie: Come on, dad!


Casey steps back into the batter's box. He whispers something under his breath.

Casey: (whispering) This... is for... charity.

Casey's concentration completely drowns out the noise being generated by the crowd, his teammates, and his opponents. Stuart Scott begins his wind-up, brings his arm around like a windmill, and releases the underhanded pitch. The softball begins its ascent, and Casey tries to judge where the softball is going. Ball or strike? When the softball begins its descent, Casey judges it to be going outside of the strike zone. It is just too close to call. At the last possible moment, Casey decides to swing. He shifts his weight foward as he takes a step toward the front of the batter's box. He twists his torso, brings his arms around, and extends them trying to reach the outside pitch. Casey realizes he is swinging late. He keeps his eyes on the ball as he creates a collision course between his bat and the softball.


The ball does not reach its initial destination- the cather's mitt- because Casey has made contact. The ball starts traveling upward and down the right field line. Even though Casey has hit the ball, he doesn't have enough power to hit it over the fence, but he does have enough power to hit it over the first baseman and out of the infield.

Everyone on both benches lean forward, some of them coming out of their dugouts to get a better look at the ball. Elliott takes his first stride toward home as Dan waves his arms toward home plate and possible victory. Will begins his sprint from second base with his first step. Casey tosses the bat down, starts to run toward first base, and watches the ball travel through the air. All the heads in the crowd follow the path of the ball; all heads turned in the same direction. The Sportscenter right fielder starts to run toward the right field line, hopefully lining himself up to catch the ball.

The ball travels through the air, spinning and cutting through the wind. All eyes are on the softball, basking in the sun and everyone's undivided attention. It rides an invisible crescent-shaped path while following the white chalk of the right-field foul line. The ball reaches the apex of its path and starts to fall back down to earth, undecided of its future.

The ball comes down, determined to land and make the final call of the game. Will it be caught? Will is be fair? Will it be foul? The right fielder closes in and lunges after the ball, extending his arms out as far as they can go. His body hits the grass and slides along the ground attempting to catch the ball in his glove. The friction of the dirt, grass, his jersey, and his body slows him down, and he comes to a halt. Short. The ball lands- touching the soft, green grass.

Fair ball.

Sports Night