Every evening, Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) is out practicing pitching. His minor league career ended with a shoulder injury twelve years ago. Now, Jim coaches a struggling high school team. When he tries to motivate them, they challenge him–if they reach the play offs, he must try out for the majors. The team starts to win, and makes the play offs. Not realizing how strong his arm has become, Jim is apprehensive as he sets off for the try outs with his son and baby daughter. The coaches recognize him, but think he has brought a young prospect. Late in the day, as he’s changing a diaper, Jim is called. When he throws his first pitch, he surprises the coaches–and himself.
Director John Lee Hancock, director of photography John Schwartzman, and composer Carter Burwell have made a glowing movie based on the true story of Jim Morris, investing it with a touch of myth. Dennis Quaid is convincing as the pitcher. His scenes with Brian Cox, playing his father, bristle with unresolved anger. The great Australian actress Rachel Griffiths shows her extraordinary chameleon-like ability–as Jim’s tough-minded wife, she captures perfectly a woman who has to deal with life’s practicalities and with her husband’s dreams.