Hardball (TV Series 1994– ) Poster

(1994– )

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So unrealistic...and so unfunny
dragonphan20 January 2001
After becoming a huge fan of the HBO series First and Ten, I had been waiting a long time for a TV show to air that was based on a professional baseball team. Alas, Fox decided to air a new series called Hardball, a sitcom about a struggling major league baseball team named the Pioneers, that had hired a new manager (his name was Happy)to try to shape things up in the clubhouse and on the field. They had a stupid looking mascot named Hardball, who never left his uniform (it was a copy of Mr. Met, one of the worst mascots in sports history). Basically, this was a premise that I really looked forward to seeing on TV.

Unfortunately, the show was terrible. It turned out to be a typical videotaped, low budget Fox sitcom with terrible low budget acting and terrible low budget writing. I wondered if the writers had ever seen a major league baseball game. They had no idea how to write a show about baseball.

There was one episode where the Pioneers' manager had a rivalry with a manager from another team. In the game, the rival manager switched a Pioneer bat with an illegal bat. A Pioneer player used the illegal bat to hit a game winning home run. The rival manager told the umpires that the bat was illegal, and the umpires ruled the batter out, and the Pioneers lost. The players just calmly accepted the loss and mopped into the clubhouse. Now if that really happened in Major League Baseball, there would be all kinds of fights and protests (remember George Brett pinetar incident). The players would never just accept a loss like that.

This was the best example I could come up with to show just how stupid an unfunny this show was. I totally understand why it didn't last very long.
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I remember the pilot being funny...
Rontrigger11 June 2009
In the pilot of this show, Coach Mike Widmer (played by Mike Starr) was openly gay. Note the "memorable quote" from this character in that section; there was another one in the pilot that I remember--Mike was very unhappy about something and someone gently suggested that perhaps he ought to get out of baseball. Mike then said: "And give up showering with men? Never!" O.K., it was over the top, but I think this was a "premise with promise." The coach of a baseball team, with an undeniably masculine persona, apparently accepted as homosexual without question by his players--it seemed almost revolutionary to me in 1994. And overall, I recall that the show had some good laughs. So I looked forward to the first regular episode.

Well, this was a prime example of just how much things can change between the pilot and that first regular episode. Whatever laughs were to be had in the pilot were clearly not there now, and--unbelievably--there was a comment to the previously gay coach about his wife and kids! The suits at the network obviously had stepped in and put a stop to one innovation that had certainly clicked with me. I seem to recall that I didn't even finish watching the show that night.

Why any network would even air the pilot at all, let alone as the first broadcast of the series and only a week before the first regular episode, when they had revamped the show so completely, is beyond me.
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too bad it was canceled before the characters could develop
dan-conrad19 September 2006
Hardball was one of those replacement series that never got off of the ground and was shown the door pretty much before it had debuted. There are so many things going against sports-fiction based TV comedy series that it is not surprising that few survive. it was a good series. Dann Florek of Law and Order SVU fame was the manager of the baseball team -- the Pioneers. the team owner was Rose Marie - a watered down Marge Shott. Because the team did not play well, the main conflict was between the two team mascots. The marketing department's mascot, the Pied Pioneer, a dancing mime dressed up like Davy Crocket, and HARDBALL, a large baseball-head who was the fan's favorite. Long before the day of the Rally Monkey, when the team was down, the call would go to bullpen for not only a relief pitcher, but for Hardball, to do his thing to rally the fans -- by going into the stands and beating the stuffing out of the Pied Pioneer to the raucous cheers of the fans. The only thing I can remember about every episode was in that in EVERY inevitable locker room scene before or after the game, Florek would kick Hardball in the rump and say, "Get out of my way you stitch-headed freak." I give it a 9 out of ten because it gave me what I EXPECTED out of your basic baseball based half hour broadcast network comedy.
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Is this the one with the angry mascot?
jsexton-21 January 2001
I remember watching the first episode of this series and finding it hilarious. It had something to do with a new team mascot who turned out to be a very unhappy guy in a baseball head. The other episodes were not nearly so inspired and the series probably deserved its short run.
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Forgettable and Forgotten
richard.fuller129 September 2005
A promo had Joe Rogan (Valente) muttering under his breath for the tough talking Rose Marie to 'shove it'.

"What did you say, Valente?" "I said I love it." Then he goes into this high squeal. "I love it! MUAH!" He was supposed to be the breakout pretty face in the show. Girls would watch it because he was so cute.

I do recall the mascot who was supposed to be so bad and that made him cool. (!!) He would appear at the end of the first episode to a heavy metal guitar bit, much like wrestlers do now on the WWE and Raw (whatever), and it was supposed to be sensational, like when Norm returned on Cheers one season.

Hardball, by the way, was the mascot's name as well. I guess he was supposed to be as mean and likable as this Stewie is now on "Family Guy." Fox went through this period where shows would have 'ball' in their name somewhere.

There would be an equally short lived medical show called Medicine Ball as well.
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