“TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME”
AN ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Copyrighted Library of Congress
EXT. WILLIAMSON COURT — AFTERNOON 1986
A Jeep Cherokee zooms up the court in front of a suburban townhouse, it slows down, then eases up a driveway.
INT. CRAIG WEIRNIK’S HOUSE — CONTINUOUS
Next door, in his living room, standing from behind a shear, window curtain is freckle-face and scrawny CRAIG WEIRNIK, 9. He eye balls the oncoming Jeep, including the big man behind the wheel.
EXT. WISNEWSKI DRIVEWAY — CONTINUOUS
ED WISNEWSKI, 40ish, way over six-feet tall and over 225, wearing his hard hat and work clothes exits the Jeep. Craig continues to watch. Ed’s clutching a leather-bound folder. He nonchalantly places the folder on top of the mailbox by the curb as he leafs through mail.
Ed Wisnewski then turns and begins unloading items and lugs them towards the garage. He returns shortly to unload more items.
INT. CRAIG’S LIVING ROOM — CONTINUOUS
Craig remains at the window.
That’s, Big Ed. He’s a serious man. He doesn’t know it yet, but we’re going to be buddies. There’s much Big Ed doesn’t realize just yet. For instance, he’s already forgotten that he’s placed his folder on top of that there mailbox… That’s OK I’ll straighten him out.
BEGIN TO ROLL CREDITS:
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — LATE AFTERNOON
Ed storms into his house carrying stuff. Some falls to the floor as he rushes towards the kitchen.
He takes a quick inventory then rifles through a stack of papers on the kitchen counter and beneath a Philadelphia Phillies calendar. He cringes. (CONTINUED)
GIRLIE the family cat cries to be fed.
Suddenly, Ed turns and bolts back outside to the driveway. (MOS) His vehicle’s door can be heard being opened. We hear him rummaging through it. He’s back in the kitchen looking perplexed.
Something is missing… The phone rings.
Yo Ed, Cody! My stats ready yet? Weren’t we supposed to get ‘em today?
Yeah, you will… I’m tallying your guys up, as we speak.
While on the phone, Ed’s continues searching through kitchen drawers. He’s looking in every conceivable spot. He reaches up to feel around the top of the refrigerator sending loose papers to the floor. Some papers take a nose dive others feather.
Making no effort to pick up the mess Ed continues ripping the place apart.
So my man, tell me, how am I doing? Is Strawberry leading in RBI’s or what? In case you didn’t notice me and him had a hell of a week…
I ah…I ah… Yeah, I’m still tallying ‘em up. It’s too soon to tell.
Ed’s call-waiting phone service clicks.
Can you hold on a second pal? I have another call coming through. I’ll be right back. (CONTINUED)
The phone wire clicks again
(in a hurry)
Hi honey it’s me.
(sounding almost hysterical)
June! Have you seen my leather folder? Ah June it’s missing. I can’t find it anywhere. Inside it are all the guys’ stats.
Oh Ed, I haven’t seen it… Isn’t it with you? You know, you do this all the time. Have you retraced your steps? When was the last time you had it?
Eh, I realized it was missing as soon as I got out of the Jeep and into the house. It’s usually right next to me… I can’t believe it. Billy G. gave me that folder. If it’s missing I’m sunk.
Now Ed, calm down it will show. Things always do.
I hate when stuff like this happens… Say look, I have Cody on the other wire. Let me get back to him.
Wait a second! Mercedes is bringing home a friend. He’s supposed to be nice. His name is Jeffery Timber. He’s a law student at Penn. She’s high on him. Be nice… put on a clean shirt and don’t forget to feed…
Yeah-yeah June sure. Now let me get back to Cody will ya.
Ed pulls the phone from his ear and presses the receiver to reconnect Cody.
Cody you still there?
Yikes Ed whats a guy to do?
Bare with me, pal. I’m a little behind. I’ll call you back as soon as…
Again the call-waiting service interrupts. Girlie rubs up agianst Ed’s leg and cries more.
… I have to get the other line. Cody hold on.
Ed finagles with the phone’s reciever and connects with the other incoming call.
BUTCH KRUPNIK (V.O.) (gruff)Hey Pollack! Where’s my sheet? What kind of idiot Commissioner you supposed to be anyway?
Look Butch, don’t bust my balls. I do my part….
So what’s the problem?
Look! Not to change the subject but when you saw me leaving work, do you remember if I was carrying my leather folder? (CONTINUED)
Hey dummy, whattaya think I am, a private detective? I can’t even remember what you look like.
I should have known better…
All I know… you’re holding the dough. You’re supposed to hand out stats every week. The season’s just started and you’re already dropping the ball.
I’m not dropping jack shit!
Oh, so that’s it. I get it now. Jerkoff lost the stats. What a chump. You’re a dumb pollack Wisnewski. Forget the stats. Just refund my money tomorrow, or I’ll have to send somebody ‘round to talk to you.
Again the phone line clicks.
Hold on a second Butch. I got another call I’ll be right back.
I wasn’t born to be kept on hold squirrel. I’ll see your butt tomorrow.
Butch’s line clicks dead. Ed attempts to retrieve the incoming call but there’s nobody there. He hangs up in disgust.
Ed prances the floor. He snaps his fingers whilte retracing each step. Girlie meows louder.
(talking to himself)
Let’s see, the whistle blew. (snap) I remember picking it up. (snap) I placed the folder on the seat beside me and drove home?
Ed grits his teeth. The phone rings again. At the same time there’s a knock on the front door. Girlie continues to meow.
Lou grabs the portable phone and heads to answer the door.
Ed! Cody again.
Ed opens the door.
EXT. WISNEWSKI DOORSTEP — CONTINUOUS
Craig, smiling with one tooth missing and proudlike stands in the doorway clutching Ed’s missing folder.
Hi. Mr. Wisnewski, you left your Phillies folder on the mailbox.
Ed snatches the folder. Embarrassed, he makes no effort to be more congenial or even thankful.
Yeah, I left it there on purpose, but thanks.
Ed shuts the door while Craig still stands there. He picks up his conversation with Cody.
Whoa Cody, I thought I lost my stat folder but the kid next door found it. What a lame brain I am. It was out on top of the mailbox. (MORE) (CONT’D)
Plus I just had to contend with that creep Butch Krupnik, calling me up to bust them… I should have told him that the league was full, but you know Butch; he bullied his way in.
That was your call Ed. He’s always a pain. I’m really glad you found the folder. So where’s my stats?
I’ve been kind of wrapped up. I’ll bring ‘em to work first thing in the morning. See ya then.
Wrapped up! Hey pal the Commissioner has to be on top of things.
Ah, I’ve had to watch my two nieces. June’s sister Harriet and her sissy husband had to attend some bullshit seminar so the girls stayed with us.
Why not just give ‘em each a ten spot and drop them off at the nearest fun factory.
Oh, I suppose I wanted to be more of an uncle, do something more worthwhile. Any jerk could have taken them to a fun factory.
Again the call-waiting service.
Cody, I’m going to ask you to hold just one more time.
C’mon Ed. What is this…
So you call that a visit? Some uncle you’re turning out to be… And what’s the big idea making them play baseball… outside in the rain no less?…
Ed cringes more like he doesn’t want to hear it.
… They’re girls Ed. They don’t give a hoot about baseball. And ooh, you’re such a cheap skate. You could have at least taken them to the fun factory or something, but no… because of you, they’ve just about caught themselves a death of a cold.
Good bye Harriet. Nice talking to you.
Ed hangs up the phone.
Bitch… Oh shit! Cody.
Ed tries to reconnect. Cody’s gone.
Ed looks down at Girlie. She continues to meow.
Ok! Ok! Friskies coming up.
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — DINNER TIME
Ed sits at the head of the dinner table surrounded by his family. Sitting to his right is ROBBY WISNEWSKI, 17, a chip off the old block. He’s wearing an athletic shirt that says Neshaminy High. Next to Robby is Ed’s daughter MERCEDES, 19, pretty and pure. (CONTINUED)
JUNE WISNEWSKI, a few years younger than Ed sits. She still holds on to her girlish beauty as the family matriarch at the far end of the kitchen table opposite Ed. JEFFERY TIMBER, 22, pale and preppy, wearing a suit and tie occupies the fourth side of the kitchen table.
A heaping bowl of meat balls are being passed around.
Jeffery, Mercedes tells me you’re a law student at Penn. Is your father an attorney?
No, as a matter of fact he’s employed by the same company as you Mr. Wisnewski. He’s the Director of Operations for the Louse Company.
Did you know that Ed?
(hardly paying attention)
Oh yeah, Timber. Horace Timber. he’s a big shot. I just know him to say, hi.
Actually father is the firm’s principle planner. The Louse Company recruited father especially for the Benjamin Franklin Complex. I’m sure the very blue prints that Mercedes’ father uses were approved by my father.
See daddy, Jeffery’s father directs what you do.
Nobody directs dad. He runs the skycrane no blue prints for that.
Tell her dad.
I just do what the bosses say.
Ed turns to Jeffery.
Tell me Jeff, you a ball player?
The name is Jeffery, Mr. Wisnewski…but to answer your question, basically I don’t care for team sports. I’ve never been one to depend on the other fellow. I enjoy scuba diving, biking and mountain climbing.
Ed and June give each other a look.
Jeffery’s going to take me diving, down to an old German U-boat sunk off of Cape May.
That sounds adventurous. Well Jeff are you at least a fan? Oh sorry it’s Jeffery isn’t it?
Actually the Timbers are Yankee fans. Father says, why root for a perennial loser such as the Phillies, when the Yankees are the premier team in baseball and just 90 miles up the Jersey Turnpike.
YANKEES! How can anybody like the Yankees. This here is a Phillies house. Dad says we have Phillies red running through our veins.
Well, it’s just that our family is used to being with winners.
Well my boy maybe there’s a little more than just winning. I believe in this year’s edition of the Phils you’ll find a real winner.
Father says, ‘don’t let the Phillies fool you. They’ll always break your heart. Pragmatic thinkers are cognizant that the Phillies are fast starters but by August they’ll be in the familiar confines of the cellar, where they belong.’
That sounds like a bunch of bull to me. I hope your dad knows more about putting up buildings than he does baseball.
Ed puts his hand on Robby shoulder and reaches over to rub his son’s head.
You’ll have to forgive my son Jeffery. He’s been brain washed by his old man.
I can’t for the life of me fathom myself as ever becoming a Phillies fan. Better watch out folks I’ll soon have Mercedes wearing a Yankee cap.
Ed just about chokes on his pasta. June drops her fork and Robby gives Jeffery a mean stink eye.
EXT. BIG CITY SKYSCRAPER UNDER CONSTRUCTION — AFTERNOON
One hundred and ten stories up, big Ed carefully handles the complex-looking controls and maneuvers the giant skycrane.
A huge steel girder swings at the end of the crane’s boom
The ten-ton girder is eased down gingerly. Five floors below, his crew waits somewhat anxiously for the girder’s delivery.
The entire job site holds up for a moment as to watch the tricky maneuver.
EXT. STREET LEVEL — CONTINUOUS
Down at street level skid-row the homeless gander up towards the crane, then turn their attention away taking swigs of cheap booze.
Merchants venture outside of their beat-up shops to look up.
Traffic cops take a break from stopping traffic. The sky show is already doing it.
EXT. ATOP THE CONSTRUCTION — CONTINUOUS
When the beam touches down Ed’s crew scampers to secure it.
At a dizzying 1260 feet high Ed’s crew with death-defying skill, uses hydraulic tools and blow torches to create a permanent, steel junction.
A painted ply-wood sign indicates the LOUSE COMPANY as the project’s primary developer.
As Ed’s crew finishes riveting the girder into place —- the whistle blows.
Ed and BUDDY MCKIRK 20ish, lanky, wearing construction gloves are the only two occupants who man the skycrane. Ed slowly reels in the crane’s cables and like a proud overseer admires the day’s progress. Ed looks out further.
A. Philadelphia’s burgeoning skyline shimmers on the clear day.
B. City hall stands in the middle of the city… a statue of William Penn is situated on top of city hall… Penn’s famous hat sits on top of that statue.
Wha’cha lookin’ at Ed?
See that hat? (CONTINUED)
Used to be the law that no building could go higher than the rim of that hat.
Well I guess we stretched the law.
Nah, finally those bums in City Hall figured we’d better get with it.
EXT. JOB SITE –CONTINUOUS
Ed chuckles and the young worker gives a ya-hoo.
Ed looks south to the Philadelphia sports complex. His eyes fall on a huge sign: VETERANS STADIUM. His face lights up as if he seen a lost love.
EXT. ATOP CONSTRUCTION SITE — CONTINUOUS
Ed lumbers out of his crane and gingerly walks across the makeshift pylons towards the construction elevator. The wind whips his plaid flannel shirt behind him. Buddy brings up the rear.
With lunch pails in hand the crew waits for them so they all can make their final decent of the day.
The elevator stops on the crew’s level. They decend to street level. The crew’s in good spirit.
In the open elevator the chatter varies from the day’s work to their fantasy baseball league and their stats.
They pass bye a tattered billboard. SCHMIDTS OF PHILADELPHIA, THE HOMETOWN BREW. THE OFFICIAL BEER OF THE ‘86 PHIGHTN’ PHILLIES.
INT. INSIDE DESCENDING CONSTRUCTION ELEVATOR — CONTINUOUS
Yo! Yous guys going down to the tappy? (CONTINUED)
I’m already there.
Both CODY KIRKLEY, 40ish, a man with an outdoor look and BUDDY MCKIRK, 20, with a toothy grin, stand close to ED. Cody’s next to Ed. Buddy’s behind them. Ed hands out papers, papers that contain the standings of their fantasy league. The men check their stats. Cody shouts out to anybody within ear-shot and rubs his hands together.
First place! Yowzah! I can tastes that Schmidts already!… So what? Is it a Phillies and Dodgers weekend or what?
Ed tugs firmly the front of his “Jeff type” hat, adjusting it further, straight on his head.
Maybe your best friend and league leader and his beautiful wife CONNIE can come bye Saturday to watch the game. Is that OK. with you big guy?
Ed affirms with a nod of the head.
Buddy boy here wants to know if he can drop by too, but he’s too scared to ask.
Buddy maintains a toothy grin.
I told him big fellow. I told him the rules. I told him if he wanted to catch a Phillies game with Mr. Philadelphia Phillie himself… he had better be on his best behavior. I spelled it all out.
Oh yeah, what else did ya tell him? (CONTINUED)
Like I say, everything. The rules… No casual chatter, only baseball talk. I warned our Buddy boy here about your reputation for showing guests the door if they don’t tow the line.
Cody looking back at Buddy.
He’s ready… He promises no idle talk about broads or cars.
Buddy stays silent. All along he maintains a his toothy grin.
EXT. STREET LEVEL — CONTINUOUS
The burly crew make their way out of the elevator. Most of the crew head towards the corner bar.
Loitering across the street, muddled is a different looking group of men. Most are dressed shabbily; bums, bust-outs, derelicts; unemployed men who congregate for some afternoon sun.
EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE ED WORKS — CONTINUOUS
A. A man’s pushing a rusty, grocery-store cart… He searches through a pile of rubbish.
B. Others share out of the same bottle.
C. Some smoke cigarette butts that are still lit after being discarded from passing bye cars.
D. With Styrofoam cups, some wave down passing motorists.
The neighborhood where Ed’s crew works hosts all the elements that support a skid row.
Their dress is both tragic and comical. Brown shoe, black shoe oddly enough, stuck onto the same-pair of tired feet; shoes you wouldn’t want to be in.
They’re victims of urban renewal. Their bastion of bummery is in jeopardy. The hovels and alley ways that they’d so dishonored for years are being cleaned up before their dingy eyes.
EXT. ACTION STREET LEVEL — CONTINUOUS
Cody gives Ed a gentle poke with his elbow.
There’s our, second shift, right on time… Have you noticed how they all come out about the same time each day?
Yeah, to hit up on the homeward bound for some last minute panhandling.
We go home, they take over. In no time they’ll infiltrate the site and camp under the trucks and equipment. Like I say they’re the ‘second shift.’
Ed shakes his head in pity.
Poor sons of bitches, I can see they have their weekend all planned.
EXT. STREET LEVEL — CONTINUOUS
BUTCH KRUPNIK; 45, heavy set, the union’s imposing, business agent stands with two enforcers… he’s a hard-looking man… shark-like, his eyes zero in on the men getting off the construction elevator… He button-holes Ed.
Hey, Wisnewski, you got my stats?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, hold your horses. Read ‘em and weep.
Butch snatches the sheets out of Ed’s hand, gives them a one look and litters, by tossing the paper sheet into the street.
They’re probably fixed… Hey, shithead, make sure you send that friggin’ elevator back to the top. I don’t want some of your pollack cousins using the penthouse… They ain’t been paying their membership dues lately.
Ed ignores the comment, acts pissed-off, turns around, inserts the master key, sending the elevator skyward without saying a word.
We ain’t running a boy scout camp here. Besides, I just got a union contract from Timber to keep them creeps off the site after five… Them instant cops ain’t been able to do the job. They ain’t got the methods nor the balls.
Since when has the operating engineers gotten into the goon business?
Don’t worry about it. From now on just lock the elevator and send it to the top!
What’s a matter Krupnik? Aren’t you making enough shaking down union members, taking book and pushing them ‘night-life’ pills of yours?
You better watch your mouth Wisnewski or…
C’mon Ed, let’s go.
Cody grabs Ed’s arm and pulls him away. (CONTINUED)
Krupnik’s two “go-fors’ lean forward.
Their body language signal to their boss that they’re ready to go for Ed’s throat. . . Krupnik rests one of his hands against his main enforcer’s chest holding him off. They sneer at Ed with contempt.
Ed, Buddy and Cody walk away.
EXT. FURTHER DOWN THE STREET — CONTINUOUS
The trio walk away towards the bar.
I can’t stand that creep. He’s a wise guy. What a sorry excuse for a business agent. The guy’s more crooked than Ridge Avenue.
The men drink at Hallahans, a better maintained bar than the rest of the down-trodden establishments.
The neighborhood’s a mish-mash of flop houses, pawn shops and bad looking bars.
More odd characters linger outside, the men have to wade through them in order to get inside.
INT. HALLAHAN’S BAR — CONTINUOUS
Ed, Cody and young Buddy sit with some other men in the rear of the bar, right next to the men’s room. In front of them, opened beer bottles, no glasses, a few empties.
Cody turns to see a man begging through Hallahans window.
Can you believe all them pathetic sons of bitches.
Cody shakes his head then directs his attention towards Buddy Mckirk.
Talking about pathetic… what about Buddy boy’s fantasy baseball team? That’s pathetic.
Buddy leans back on his chair. (CONTINUED)
Yeah, the way my team’s been playing, they should be checking into the Salvation Army. By the way, Thompson, the union driver, says Butch Krupnik keeps complaining, saying that Ed’s stacking his pals stats.
So then, say Mr.Commissioner, can ya give Buckner some more RBI’s and a bunch of stolen bases, since we’re supposed to be so buddy buddy.
If Krupnik had anything to do with it, he’d stack his own team with 10 Mickey Mantles. The guy’s a scammer. I bet the only reason he’s in our league is so he can try out a few of his scams on us.
Knowing Krupnik, he’s going to try some of his stuff all right. Think he’d be happy with the hundred and sixty bucks he pries from us each month for union dues. I wonder how much of that goes his way?
Here, here, watch out, how you talk about that prick face ‘cause he’s coming our way.
Butch Krupnik, bosslike, with his two goons still in tow, walks the bar room…. he’s moving in the direction of Ed’s table… on the way he stops from time-to-time collecting envelopes.
The men handing over the envelopes faces reflects their disappointment while having to face the imposing man.
He passes by Ed’s table and moves into the men’s room… the men remain mute until he’s inside.
Cody observes another man on the outside, mime-like the man moves his hands towards his mouth indicating that he’s hungry.
I’ll tell ya, they ought to do something. These guys take it pretty hard on the chin down here.
They’ve been down here for years; ex-millionaires,and ex-professional men and even some washed-up movie stars chose to embrace the bottle… letting life go. Just the sight of them should be enough for one to think about following the golden rule.
Even in the short period time that I’ve been on the site, their numbers seem to have risen.
The poor chumps… man they’ve had a tough winter.
EXT. BACK AT JOB SITE — AFTERNOON
Down the street at the job site everything on the sight is being locked up.
The homeless scavenge through everything.
Even with the guards the bums still find ways to infiltrate.
They find little covey holes, where they bunch up and keep warm, drinking their cheap wine and sterno.
INT. HALLAHANS BAR — AFTERNOON
Butch comes out of the john. And after overhearing part of the men’s discussion, he adds his two cents.
What are you guys turning into… a bunch of bleeding hearts? They’ve become a pain in the ass. We’ll be fixing their butts soon enough.
The men chose digression rather than confrontation… they ignore Butch. Soon enough he moves on to collect more losing bets.
(his eyes follow Butch)
It must be true that misery loves company.
The men at the table further observe Krupnik’s action.
Is that the misery you’d prefer to watch the game with ya bum? Mr. Baseball and Butch Krupnik… Bums watching bums!
Misery!… Bums!… You can’t be talking about my Phils. I’ve been smiling all season long so far. My boys are playing like champions!
Just kidding pal. Just kidding. Here let me buy you another beer.
The men turn their attention to the TV’s early-evening sports report. The liberty-belled logo belonging to the Phillies is visible on the monitor.
Heard over the TV.
Not yet named sources report a blockbuster trade in the works between the Giants and the Phillies, supposedly all taking place while the Phils are on the coast. Stay tuned to Action Sports, we’ll keep you up to date. (CONTINUED)
Most of the bar patrons suspend their conversations, others “shush” for quiet before more could be learned; a Schmidts Brewing commercial interrupts the broadcast.
Tune in for tonight’s pre-game show, right here on Channel 29… and now, this important message.
ANOTHER ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
How would you and forty-nine of your own hand-picked guests like to attend a future Phillies game at Veteran’s Stadium, compliments of the Phillies and the Schmidt’s Brewing Company?… You and your guests will see all the action from a super-deluxe box, plus, meet some of your favorite Phillies…
The announcement sparks additional interest. The men pay close attention. A bartender reacts and moves to turn up the volume.
The Phillies, Schmidt’s Brewery and WXPN are in search of the Delaware Valley’s ‘Greatest Phillie Phanatic.’ To enter all one has to do is compose an essay, up to 5000 words, ‘why you could be considered as, the ‘Greatest Phillie Phanatic.’ The prize includes; transportation, a catered feast in sky-high deluxe box, autographs. The dead line to enter is the All-Star break. The winner will announced on July 15th.
After the men digest the announcement Ed blurts out.
I could win that! I could enter and win!
The men turn towards Ed, taken back by his statement.
Listen to him… Whatta ya… half stoned off them pills that Butch been pushing! Win!… Win what?
Why not? I’ve thought about writing in my spare time.
Well I hate to wake you up Sleeping Beauty… but you can count yourself out on this one.
Whatsamatta Cody? Afraid there’s more to your pollack buddy than all muscle and a pretty face.
Nah! I just think my pollack buddy should stick to what he’s good at…
Moving steel, watching baseball, tallying stats and drinking Schmidts.
I’ll tell you what Mr. Smartass. I just might enter that contest and win it… And you know what else? When me and my 49 other best friends in the whole friggin’ world board that bus to go down to the Vet to have a wonderful time… Well then, you ain’t going!
Ed whips off his jeff hat and whacks Cody over his head with it. Then he latches on to his buddy and corrals him in a gentle head lock while he gives him some “noogies”
Onlookers around the table hoot.
EXT. CROWDED EXPRESSWAY — LATE AFTERNOON
Ed drives his Jeep Cherokee up the expressway and out of the city.
EXT. STREET ROAD EXIT — AFTERNOON
Once in the suburbs he pulls off at the STREET ROAD exit and on to a county road that will lead him to the entrance of the development where he lives.
EXT. ED WISNEWSKI SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD — AFTERNOON
Ed turns onto Williamson Court and motors his white Jeep Cherokee with a Philadelphia Phillies bumper sticker in its bumper towards his house. It’s the end one, in a short-row of townhouses that face the cul-de-sac.
EXT. WISNEWSKI’S DRIVEWAY — AFTERNOON
Just as he begins to ease up his driveway; a mongoose-type bicycle and rider; Craig Weirnik whizzes across the Jeep’s path.
INT. WISNEWSKI’S JEEP — CONTINUOUS
Ed slams on the brakes!
The suddenness of the stop overturns all light cargo in the back of the Cherokee.
EXT. WISNEWSKI DRIVEWAY — CONTINUOUS
Its tail swings while its back brakes lock, the rear tire leaves a twelve-inch, black, rubber mark in the sidewalk.
The bike skids to a halt.
INT. JEEP WINDOW — CONTINUOUS
(a beat, staring)
…What are you trying to do boy, get to heaven before supper and ruin my dinner to boot?
EXT. ED’S DRIVE-WAY — AFTERNOON
Big Ed exits the Jeep to begin to scold all the kids.
We see Ed getting out of the truck with a killer look. As he emerges from the cab it was as if he never stops coming out.
A dozen or so playmates gathered around and don’t want to miss hulk-like Wisnewski’s wrath let loose.
That goes for you kids too.
He then he directs his attention towards Craig. Craig cringes knowing he’s going to get it.
(chirping and talking fast)
Mr. Wisnewski! Mr. Wisnewski! Did you hear the news? Did you hear, on the radio, it’s about the Phillies? They traded Sonny Capers to the Giants for Lefty Luongo and Lefty Luongo is going to pitch tonight against the Dodgers!
Ed stares at the boy. LAUREN SMOLOW, 6, a cute little girl sits on her tricycle. The twins, both 4, from up the court, have half of their Mr. Softee, ice-cream cones still on their faces. Others witness.
Bo-Jangles the court’s favorite dog wags his tail and listens to Craig spitting out his mouthful.
You say he’s pitching tonight, on the coast?
Ed stops to digest what he just heard. It’s as if he’s already forgotten the bike incident.
Craig flashes a cat’s grin to go along with the good news. Big Ed brakes out with a gigantic smile, too.
(he wonders out loud)
The Phillies finally got a first class left-handed starter!
Ed makes a funny face, whoops it up, and then, clenches his fist as a sign of exhilaration, forgetting for the moment that his audiences’ average age was that of a preschooler.
OK, so remember, all you kids better watch out when playing out here on the court.
Ed turns towards his front door and walks away.
Ooh, do you think you’re in trouble, Craig? Do you think he’s going to tell?
Nah… no way, he’s too happy. He won’t even think of calling my dad now. Besides, Ed’s my pal.
Craig you’re naughty.
Yeah, I almost had an accident so I could give him the news. The trade was my ace in the hole.
Why did you do that?
That bully, Ray McGreavy had me in a killer head lock. I could do nothing and it hurt. I shouted out, to let go, or I’d call Big Ed… So with the good news, Big Ed’s now my pal… no kids will mess with me, even Ray McGreavy. They’re all ‘scared shitless’ of him. That’s the way I wanted it for myself. (CONTINUED)
Ooh you’re bad.
No I’m not. I’m just a survivor.
Craig does a wheely with his mongoose and zooms down to the end of the court.
INT. NEIGHBORS HOUSE — CONTINUOUS
A punky kid, Ray McGreavy, with disappointment written all over his face, takes it all in, from a nearby townhouse’s living room.
EXT. ED’S TOWNHOUSE — CONTINUOUS
Ed steps lively towards his house humming, Take Me Out To the Ball Game.
Wisnewski’s Jeep has a ‘Catch Phillies Fever’ bumper sticker on its bumper…the front-door window has a nifty, Phillies logo stuck up on the glass.. a ‘Fighting Phils’ doormat lay in front of the front door.
Yo! Anybody home?
He heads towards the kitchen, opens the refrigerator and grabs a cold Schmidt’s. Girlie does her ritual.
He takes a big swig of his beer and turns on the radio. Ed feeds Girlie.
Ed’s calls go unanswered.
Ed and Girlie sit and listen to the two-way talk sports radio.
A family portrait depicts a proverbial million-dollar family. They look close knit.
The house is well furnished. They seem to be doing OK.
INT. AROUND THE FAMILY’S KITCHEN TABLE — EARLY EVENING
The Wisnewski’s sit at the dinner table.
I’ve never been able to understand how an Irish woman like your mother can make such good Italian food. Hmm… hmm the sauce is great, baby.
I’ll do the dishes mother if I can use your car to go up the mall.
I’m going anyway, we can go together… Oh Ed, that reminds me. I promised the Weirnik’s to watch Craig and Jason. They’re coming over for the night. Would you mind if they watch TV while Mercedes and I are up the mall.
No problem, let the little brats come over, but if they’re still up when the game’s on, They gotta stay quiet or they’re outta here.
I know the rules by now.
ROBBY’S been wolfing down his food, paying no attention to the family’s idle talk. Now that his stomach is full he finally looks up from his plate for the first time.
Daddy, Jeffery expressed some interest coming over to watch the game with you. Do you mind?
I thought he was a Yankee fan?
See what you get when you go out with one of those egg heads. What’s a matter with all the guys at Villanova. From what I’ve seen so far, you’d be better off with a Temple guy. (CONTINUED)
You should just worry about graduating high school.
Your brother has a point. I’m surprised at you bringing home somebody who’s not a Phillies fan.
Well at least the Yankees are not in the National League.
The Phillies! You’re either with ‘em or against ‘em… there’s no inbetween.
Cut it out… Tell Jeffery he’s welcome to come over, but of course you know your father’s rules… Besides, you two get used to it. Jeffery has asked Mercedes to attend the Main Line’s, summer cotillion..
Well whipty doo… Dad! What about the Phillies? Did ya hear? They gotta be for real since they traded for Luongo.
I’ve never considered them anything else but for-real to tell you the truth.
Geez dad, no matter what, you always consider them contenders but will the sports writers and TV people give them a chance?
What do I care what them leaches say or write. They’re ‘Sunday fans.’ Them knuckle heads root for the home team only when they’re winning. You know the type… wishy-washy guys who like to throw stones.
Well I’m no Sunday fan. I’ll be tuned in, when Luongo’s first pitch is thrown. I’ll be able to say I saw him throw his first pitch as a Phillie!
You gonna watch it with me?
I was gonna watch the game over Timmy’s before the Luongo trade, but since it’s his first night and all. I think I’ll stay home and watch it with you.
Very good of you. You must be looking for a loan… pass some more of that pasta…
Pontificating with his fork.
I’ll tell ya buddy boy, now we have an equalizer. The Phillies searched all winter for a left-hander… Now we got a pitcher who can neutralize the left-handed bats of the Mets and Cards.We already have a three-and-a-half game lead over anybody else. Pay attention buddy boy, this road trip out west is very important. If the Phils can just play five-hundred ball they’ll be OK… Lefty Luongo might be just what the doctor ordered! (CONTINUED)
Ed rubs his hands together eagerly anticipating his team feasting on the rest of the competition around the league.
Hey! When the hell you gonna stop listening and pass over your mother’s pasta.
June passes the pasta.
Oh, sorry dad. You blow my mind sometime…. how you’ve educated mom, Mercedes and me ever since I can remember.
June and Mercedes listen as if they’ve been there a thousand times.
Yeah, your father has been known, after a few too many Schmidts to say, ‘If I’ve never been able to provide my family riches, at least I’ve given ‘em baseball.’ Now that’s your father.
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — LATER
After supper June and Mercedes rush around and clean up.
The boys will be over in a half hour. Mercedes and I are dashing out to the mall. We promise to be back before Lefty Luongo tosses out his first pitch as a Phillie.
(mumbles to himself)
I love to hear that kind of talk.
INT. THE DEN — LATE EVENING
June and Mercedes return home as promised.
The family gathers and are settling in for the pre-game show. The room dark except for the TV monitor’s white fog.
The neighbor’s kids, Jason and Craig are lying on the floor. Their heads rest on pillows, sticking out from under a bed quilt. Jason’s asleep but Craig’s all eyes and ears.
There’s a knock on the front door. Jeffery Timber shows up. He’s wearing a Penn sweatshirt. He eases next to Mercedes not saying a word, as if he’s been briefed beforehand.
On the pre-game show the talk turns to the writing contest, the one sponsored by “Schmidt’s of Philadelphia.”
Wow! Can you believe it? An all expense paid trip to a Phillies game with fifty… count ‘m, fifty of my best friends… Neat! Sitting in a deluxe box! That’s monster man! That’s monster!
Jeffery, that sounds like something down your alley. Mother, Jeffery’s a beautiful writer. I’ve read his poetry.
Ignoring his sister’s comment.
Hey Dad, you should enter that contest. You’re the greatest Phillie Phanatic I know. Shoot you’re the biggest Phillie Phanatic that anybody knows of around here… You’d win! You’d win!
C’mon Robby, get real. Dad knows a lot about baseball and especially the Phillies and he’s has some great ideas and all, but dad’s no writer. Tell him dad!
(to his dad’s defense)
What makes you such an expert? Just because you’re taking Lit. 101 doesn’t mean you’re an expert. (MORE) (CONT”D)
Since you got that Porcha part, in that sissy play, you’ve acted like some hoity-toity.
Ed pushes back in his recliner.
I’m surprised at you, Mercedes. I know I’m no Neil Simon or anything but you’ve heard some of my stories…
Oh, c’mon Daddy I have! And some of them moved me… I mean, you’re a great story teller, but daddy, your English is atrocious. There’s comas out of place and most times you don’t even use periods… and you can forget about the spelling… From what I understand it’s a writing contest not a story-telling contest.
Perhaps I could lend a hand. I could tutor you, Mr. Wisnewski. I’m carrying a 4.0 in English.
Don’t get so generous, Timber. I’ve done OK. so far.
Sorry, but father always says a man should reach for an extended hand.
Your father has a building to erect. You have a law degree to attain. I’ve got kids to raise.
Directing his attention towards Mercedes.
And you young lady, you’re beginning to force my hand and you sound like some of them empty heads down at the job. Why your old man should just enter this thing, and win, just to show ya… I’ll tell ya the same thing I told, Cody… You, my precious, little princess, on the night of the big game you’ll will find yourself sitting at home… ‘cause; YOU AIN’T GOING!
Ed breaks out in a laugh that’s more of a fatherly tease.
Robby’s on the sofa lying on his back gleeful, listening to his smarty sister sinking herself in front of Jeffery and getting told off by the old man. Robby gives a thumbs down.
(rubbing in some salt)
You tell her dad!… Sheeeee’s down!
Shut up dog breath!
You two knock it off!
June directs her attention to Ed.
Be careful Ed!… Remember the last time someone accidently discovered some of your writing?.. Remember when Harold came upon and read your left-on-the-kitchen-table letter. The one to Sears, complaining about the TV. You didn’t have the nerve to admit that it was your writing. You lied, saying it must have belonged to Robby… Remember that Ed? That’s all Mercedes is saying.
Daddy, most of your stuff is great. Only thing I’m saying is, it’s compositions they seem to want, they have to have a certain structure. They have to be almost picture perfect or they won’t be taken seriously, no matter what the content. I wouldn’t want you to get your hopes up.
Can you believe this crock of sh…!
June breaks in.
Ed! The boys.
June gives a protective glance towards the boys.
Don’t forget it’s been you, who drums up all the self-criticism and it’s been you, who has insisted that I destroy the manuscripts over our objections.
For crying out loud, I don’t want to hear no more! Let’s forget the whole thing OK. You win.
10 beats. in a low tone and as if he had no chance.
Who am I kidding anyway? You know how many writers are going to enter a contest like that?… Thousands, that’s how many. A guy like me wouldn’t stand a chance.
Ed gets quiet and starts to concentrate on the TV. It’s a sign to his family — ‘enough already.’
Jeffery gets the idea. (CONTINUED)
Jeffery appears uncomfortable.
I’ll call you tomorrow Mercedes. I can’t stay I have to get going… Good night Mr. and Mrs. Wisnewski.
He just looks at Robby.
Yeah, thanks for coming over. See ya around.
June and Mercedes walk Jeffery to the door… Ed Robby and the boys on the floor, stay in the den. The game begins.
INT. WISNEWSKI DEN — LATER.
At the first 1/2 inning commercial break.
Ed, any writer realizes that part of the risk, is that there comes a time when one exposes inner thoughts. You can judge by the reaction you’re getting right here what some of the responses might be… It’s something you should think about before you get disappointed.
Robby can’t wait another second.
Yeah but dad, none of those other people have the background you do. Geez, you grew up right next to old Connie Mack Stadium. You remember the ‘Whiz Kids’ back in ‘50. You’re the only person I know, who still has Phillies tickets from 1964, ones printed for a World Series the Phils never got into.
Robby gets up on his elbows. (CONTINUED)
You’re the original Phillie Phanatic around here… And mom; the judges reading it are supposed to be Phillies fans. Not English teachers.
The complete lack of support may have struck a nerve. June looks fidgety.
(reversing her stance)
That’s true. Your father has a lot to say about the Phillies… Why, Ed, I didn’t realize, if you have your heart set on it. Then I think you should give it a try.
Mercedes picks up on her moms effort.
Come to think of it. None of my friends; fathers know more about the Phillies than dad does.
Acting like he doesn’t want to hear anymore.
(dejected and not buying)
Knock it off. Look, do you mind, the bottom half of the inning is starting, so let‘s pipe down.
Craig lies on the floor pretending to be asleep but still taking it all in.
With gusto, Ed yanks himself out of his recliner… he tosses the evening paper into the air before it falls to the floor …
He throws both of his hands in exasperation and moves towards the kitchen to grab a beer. After popping the can he says.
Look! I don’t want to hear any more crap about it.
He returns, picks up the paper and settles back into his recliner. His look says, “let me just watch the post-game show will ya!” (CONTINUED) We see Craig staring at Ed then June, then we focus in close up on Craig.
That night would not be the time to sell Ed on the idea. Mrs. Wisnewski would have to devise a plan for it. June knew how to handle Ed. After twenty years of marriage she knew when to drop the subject.
We see June close up, as post-game show plays on… away from Ed’s eyes June give her kids a wink to back-off… signaling that she’ll take it from there. We can envision June’s mind turning.
She had read his compositions a few times, to her, they were beautiful pieces of art. Ed had a primitive, gruff, style on paper but in her eyes they were profound and poetic. Ed wrote in a different fashion. She suspected by his tone that Ed really had the true desire to enter the contest.
INT. THE KITCHEN — SATURDAY MORNING
June’s up early making breakfast; French toast stuffed with cream cheese and marmalade.
She’s on the phone with her sister Harriet.
…I’m making him his favorite breakfast…Well he has written about sports. That’s all that interests him…I’ve got good news for him. We got more than we expected from the IRS. The check came yesterday for three-hundred and seventy-five dollars… With last night’s win he’s probably feeling quite lush. I’ll burst his precious bubble soon enough.
Ed walks into the kitchen with sports page in hand. (CONT’D)
June hangs up, kisses him on the forehead and serves him breakfast. He eats and reads, She cleans up. He keeps eating.
Ed, I know you’re going to get upset about what I have to say but I want you to hear me out, it’s about the writing contest.
What!… What June? Not that Phillie Phanatic stuff again? For crying out loud!
I knew you were going to start it up all over again. I thought we were through with that stuff last night. What do I have to do? Make a jerk out of myself? For the last time… I’m not interested anymore!
(in Ed’s face)
Just listen Ed Wisnewski!
June gives Ed hell. Despite Ed being six-foot six and June a petite five foot one, she’s not keeping her place as Ed’s loyal, demure-acting wife and makes her point, appearing not to be mincing words, she’s not backing off and is being heard out. MOS
Ed acts as if he knows better than to get her Irish up.
Ed remains silent.
(changing her tone)
…Look Ed, I’ve been wanting to tell you this for a long time. I think you write beautiful stories. Even though they are about sports, you have a knack for story-telling and I’m sure other people would enjoy them. And you know what Ed? They just might be interested about hearing what you have to say. (CONT’D)
June consoling uses her hands to get her point across
Last night as a family, except for Robby we weren’t supportive. I’ve done a lot of thinking and I want you to give it a try. Do it Ed! We’ll make it a team effort. You can be the author, Robby can do research for you, Mercedes can type, and I can take care of, cleaning up the punctuation and spelling… Besides; those kids are growing up right before our eyes. Here’s a chance to have a family project. Do you want your children going out into the world with negative attitudes? There’s enough of that already.
June now has the cutest smile on her face.
What if!… What if what? Hey, big boy! Nobody around here wants to hear any ‘what ifs!’ What’s the worst that can happen?… What’s so bad about doing something creative?.. Isn’t it macho enough for you? What’s the matter Ed, afraid the neighbors might find out you have a worthwhile hobby other than, baseball, baseball and baseball? Will the guys down the job tease you? Is that it? God forbid!
Mouth agape and for the first time in defense of himself.
I’ve told the guys…
Not about to let Ed finish and sounding more like Alice Cramden.
Look Buster!… Maybe it’s time for you to take a shot at something for once in your life! It’s easy to be in the stands or in front of the boob-tube criticizing the players and second-guessing the mangers… Now it’s your turn to see if you’ve got the right-stuff.
June goes after Ed even more aggressively
What’s a madder, ya bum?…
Mockingly and holding her nose.
Can’t get da-ball over da-plate?… P—U!… You stink!… Throw the bum out!… Booo!
She hollers something indescribable, She steps back, then storms out of the room throwing her hands up in disgust. Ed stands in bewilderment.
She’s back again, that fast, with a handful of his old manuscripts. She tosses them on the kitchen counter and then moves closer to Ed. She acts differently, mysteriously. This time she gets up on her tippy toes and puts her arms around his neck.
C’mon, honey. It’s only a contest. Besides… how can you go wrong? Your whole family’s behind you and we wouldn’t coax you to enter if we didn’t believe in you.
Ed stands there speechless like some baby Huey. He has no defense.
What Ed wasn’t saying out loud was that all along, down deep inside, he wanted to enter the contest and win.
Saying to no one in particular: (CONTINUED)
That’s what’s wrong with this marriage… The broad knows me inside and out… OK! You win! I’ll give it a shot, if it will make you guys happy. But, promise one thing. Not one word. Not one word to anyone outside the walls of this house. If I hear the slightest peep from anyone, it’s all over and I’ll deny everything… Deal?
Deal. Look Ed, don’t even worry about being embarrassed, or about your anonymity. You can enter the contest under a pen name. Why not use William Penn’s name? That would be perfect. He’s still one of your heroes… isn’t he?
June hugs Ed and gives him a big squeeze. Ed gives her a quick kiss, disengages himself and sheepishly retreats toward the garage.
Mercedes burst into the room.
Guess what? I have some exciting news! Jeffery just called. He’s decided to enter the Phillie Phanatic contest!
I thought Jeffery’s a Yankee fan.
Oh he still is. He says, ‘one doesn’t have to be emotionally attached to a sports team to verbalize or compose feint adulation. One just needs to be organized, composed and talented.’
Ed and June are stunned. Their mouths drop. (CONTINUED)
Ed looks down and exits into the family garage.
June rings her hands.
INT. WISNEWSKI GARAGE MID — MORNING
Saying to no one in particular with nobody but the Jeep as his witness.
I don’t know how I get talked into these things.
INT. THE WISNEWSKI BEDROOM — A.M. DARKNESS
Ed tosses in his sleep. He awakes, he’s thinking. His fingers move, perhaps itching for action.
INT. THE WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — DAWN
The rays of the dawning sunshine illuminate the kitchen Phillies calendar.
INT. SEWING ROOM UPSTAIRS — CONTINUOUS
Ed’s up working on his Phillies story.
A. INT-WISNEWSKI SEWING ROOM-LATE NIGHT
Ed hacks at the typewriter into the night.
B. INT. LIBRARY — DAY
Robby at the library.
C. INT. WISNEWSKI HOME — NIGHT
Mercedes researches from an old Phillies program… Ed interacts with his family on the project.
The scenes are repeated.
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — EVENING
The calendar says it’s June 21st. A pile of neatly-typed papers rests on the kitchen table.
This is it! You guys can go back and start proof reading. I bet there’s plenty to correct.
Ed begins to read. At first he reads stiffly. The family sits spellbound
Ed gave account of when, how and why he’d become a Phillies fan. He detailed touchingly his affection for the Phillies and what they meant to him, then he went on to relay the history of the Phillies marking the depths of bitter disappointments and the dizzying heights of ecstasy. He restated his unwavering loyalty to the boys in the red pinstripes. His description about the out pouring of emotion that following the Phillies, World Series win in 1980 was especially moving.
The screen unreels the years and flashes back highlighting many of the old Phillies teams. Reading from his composition
“…and lastly; to those Phillies fans who couldn’t wait around the ninety eight years it took for us to win the big one… I want you to know that your spirit endured and we kept rooting no matter what. And I want you to know, that when we eventually won that elusive World Championship all of you were not forgotten…”
Ed’s masterpiece covered the entire 105 years of the Philadelphia Phillies history and every emotion he felt as a fan was intertwined in that history.
Ed finishes reading. Around the cozy, kitchen table the Wisnewski’s ignore the tears and take turns embracing one another.
OK!…OK!… Let’s knock off this cry baby stuff.
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — LATE NIGHT
June and Mercedes work late into the night editing.
So… what do you think?
I kinna feel between a rock and a hard place.
You mean you’re wrapped up emotionally, worrying about whether to choose your father’s story over that crap dripping off that dweeb Jeffery’s lips.
Mother what are you trying to get at?
I swearM you’re all morons. Oh, your father. You can’t blame him. He’s a dreamer. The poor man can’t help himself.
At least Jeffery knows what he’s doing.
Oh, that pompous ass. He’s so into himself, he couldn’t stand to see an old broken-down horse such as your father earn some respect.
Mother you’re not being very nice. (CONT’D)
I’m not trying to be. You’re all nuts. Especially your father, and as for Jeffery —— forget it… and you young lady, you’re worse. You had better get off that high horse.
INT. POST OFFICE — MORNING
Robby is the first person in line when the post office opens.
It’s done, the manuscript is on its way.
INT. CONTEST HEADQUARTERS — BUSINESS HOURS
Bag loads of entries are delivered and dumped onto a table. A team of readers sort and go over manuscripts. More bags show up.
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — MORNING
A surge of wind blows the dates off the kitchen’s rip-away, Phillies calendar.
The Wisnewski’s go on with their life.
EXT. JOB SITE AT THE HELM — DAYTIME
On the job site Ed lets himself day dream for a moment, then he catches himself and snaps back into reality. He sits there, shakes his head, chuckles at the thought and says to himself.
You’re no author… you’re a skycrane operator — fool.
The family lived up to their end of the bargain. Not a word was said to anyone about the contest.
INT. KITCHEN — MORNING
The the rising sun’s light illuminates on the Phillies rip-away, calendar. It’s Sunday July 15th.
INT. KITCHEN — LATER
Polish sausage and eggs fry in a pan. The kitchen radio complains about the heat and humidity engulfing the Delaware Valley.
The Wisnewski’s are dressed for church.
They start to walk out the door… the phone rings!
I’ll get it.
EXT. WISNEWSKI DRIVEWAY — MORNING
Ed starts the Jeep Cherokee.
INT. WISNEWSKI CAR — LATE MORNING
June, Mercedes and Ed were already in the family Jeep waiting for Robby the engine is running.
What’s keeping that kid? Doesn’t he realize we’re out here sweating our butts off?
Robby’s voice can be heard coming from the inside.
Dad! Dad! The phone, it’s for William Penn. It’s Mr Schmidt!… from the Brewery and he wants to talk to William Penn, or you!
The rest of the family evacuates from the Jeep and they rush back into the house.
INT. THE KITCHEN — MORNING
Ha, ha, hello… Wisnewski here.
Ed listens intently with no apparent expression. Robby and Mercedes are besides themselves.
June scolds and shushes them to keep it down. Robby juts for the upstairs extension.
Ed continues to listen moving his head up and down and answering yes, and continues with a litany of “yeses.”
He’s giving an anxious June and Mercedes hand signals like he’s a winner. Robby’s “ya-hoo,” is heard simultaneously through Ed’s receiver and from the upstairs.
It’s a clear signal that Ed has actually won… June and Mercedes embrace… things calm down a bit.
…William Penn is an alias. My wife thought it might be a good idea and all because..(3 beats) It’s OK. Mr. Schmidt, you can call meM William Penn or just, Ed. I don’t care. It makes no difference to me… Thank you, Mr. Schmidt… Yes, Mr. Schmidt… Right Mr. Schmidt… I’ll be there. We’ll all be there. Yes, I’ll see to it that William Penn is there too… Thank, you! Thank, you…YesM I understand, thank, you again!”
Ed puts down the receiver and slowly shakes his head.
Holy Moses, June! I can’t believe it!… Imagine, they want William Penn down at Veteran’s Stadium right away… They’ve called a press conference and want to introduce him to the media… And guess what gang? I’m William Penn, the grand champion. Yahoo!
Oh my God!… What will I wear?
Robby is back from upstairs and he and Mercedes are going bonkers! Ed can’t wipe the grin off his face. It appears as if he’s cemented to the very spot, All he can do is run his large hands through his thick, wavy maim.
We bad! We bad!… We going to the game. We going to the game in style!
Mercedes is speechless.
(mouthing out loud)
I’ve admired the noted romantic writers… All this time I had been touting the works of Shakesphere, T.S Elliot and F. Scott Fitzgerald…. Wait until the world finds out about my dad!… Oh my God Jeffery!
June stands back, biting her bottom lip. She looks radiant, elated taking in with joy her family reacting happily together.
Robby steps back, lifting his right arm to the air. Ed recognizing Robby’s body language does the same and both give each other a resounding high-five
For Ed it finally sinks in.
Yeah!… Yeah!… Yeah!… I’m the Phillie Phanatic!
Both of Ed’s huge arms extend in jubilation almost touching the kitchen ceiling.
(repeats three times)
This is something …
The small family seems to have forgotten about everything else. Rapidly, they head in their separate directions.
Mercedes runs to the other phone line upstairs in her room.
Robby runs outside making rounds on the cul-de-sac and can be heard knocking on neighbors doors announcing the news.
June gives Ed a gigantic kiss and a hug and runs next door to the Weirniks where she can use our phone.
INT. WEIRNIK’S HOUSE — CONTINUOUS
June calls her sister Harriet she wants to spread the good news right away… acting so proud on the phone.
…Be sure to watch WXPN in between the Phillies double-header….
Ed is gah-gah. Minutes have passed since Mr. Schmidt’s earth-shattering phone call and he’s still standing in the same spot in the middle of the kitchen, still holding onto the receiver.
(at first to himself)
Imagine that… I won!… I really won!…
So, let’s hat up. We have a double-header to see.
Ed looks up as if he’s looking into heaven.
Lord you’ll have to forgive the Wisnewski’s this Sunday. We won’t be attending church, evidently you’ve made some different plans for us.
EXT. THE DRIVE WAY –MORNING
The family leaves Williamson Court with a contingent of neighbors all around the family Jeep.
Craig and Jason wave and cheer.
The neighbors pat Ed on the back.
Imagine… right in our midst and right here on Williamson Court, we have an award-winning writer for a neighbor.
EXT. THE WISNEWSKI DRIVEWAY — CONTINUOUS
The happy family backs out of the drive-way and heads towards South Philadelphia. Ed behind the wheel is rattling off some indescribable gibberish that sounds silly and that makes no apparent sense.
Boom, boom, boom, bomp-too-wa… bomp-too-wa, doo doo doo too was wa-wa.
The Polish version starts.(“Is-key-es-ski sho shoba,”) or at least that’s how it sounds.
EXT. ACTION-EXPRESSWAY — LATE MORNING
Moving south on Interstate 95, towards Philadelphia, Ed Wisnewski beeps his horn periodically for no apparent reason other than in celebration.
The whole family wave at other cars, apparent strangers and yell; “Make way for the Phillie Phanatic.” Giggling and carrying-on, not caring, what people might think of their foolishness.
INT. THE CAR — LATE MORNING
It’s all paid off.
Ed puts his arm around his wife And further says with a sigh of relief.
June, today’s a pay day, a payoff for being a faithful Phillie fan for all these years. It’s a pay day for you too June.
EXT. FRONT GATE OF VETERAN’S STADIUM — EARLY AFTERNOON
The Wisnewski’s show up at the VIP gates of Philadelphia’s Veteran’s Stadium. By the roar of the crowd the first game of the double-header is already in progress and is playing on the car radio. Ed addresses the guard. It’s hard to hear. Robby cheering the radio.
Ed Wisnewski and family here to see Mr. Christian Schmidt of the Schmidt’s Brewing Company. He’s expecting him.
(Looking at his clipboard)
I don’t have any orders to let in anybody named Wisnewski.
How ‘bout William Penn?
Looking back down at his clip board.
Why yes. Why yes sir, right here Mr. Penn!… You can park right there, Right there in the first VIP slot… They’re expecting you sir. Congratulations!
The now-smiling guard hands them special passes.
The Wisnewski’s walk through the entrance into the concourse of the stadium. The crowd can be heard above.
Ed hedges when it comes to taking the first step that will lead him to the Phillies inner sanctum.
The small family approach a gallery of catacomb like offices. The Wisnewski’s stop, in awe at the gold-painted letter on the glass: Executive Offices — Philadelphia Phillies.”
INT. PHILLIES EXECUTIVE OFFICES — EARLY AFTERNOON
Once inside they’re greeted by a MR. GREAVES who acts as if he is eagerly awaiting their arrival.
So nice to meet you Mr. Penn, Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Giles are waiting for you. Would you please follow me.
Ed gives June a gentle elbow and stage whispers so Robby and Mercedes could overhear. (CONTINUED)
Giles. He owns the Phillies!
1. Ed being introduced…
2. Ed being showed around…
3. A news conference ensures…
4. Ed being inundated with the press…
5. The Wisnewski’s being inundated by the press.
Ed steps behind and dwarfs a small podium.
He has to lean down to address the media.
I-ah thank my family … my wife June and my son and daughter June… I mean Mercedes, she’s my daughter… she attends Villanova and that there’s my son Robby, a high school senior… that’s Neshaminy… Neshaminy High School in Bethsalem township. Ah… Thanks to the sponsors and the Phillies.
Ed clears his throat and is mercifully excused. He doesn’t say much more.
Ed is whisked around the executive lounge by Mr. Greaves and introduced to a lot of people.
There are Phillie executives, people from the brewery. They’re nice and understanding about his nervousness. the press aren’t as polite.
They vie for Ed’s attention and press him for his complete life story.
What do you do for a living?… Where did you grow up?…Who were his parents?… (CONT’D)
The rest of his family doesn’t escape the deluge of questions.
What do you think June?… How ‘bout you Robby?
Both games are well over before an exhausted Wisnewski clan emerge from the stadium.
The press smirk at the idea of Ed.
Can you believe this guy? He’s far from being a rocket scientist.
I’ll bet on what family member put the sentences together.
I’ll take the mother.
The second reporter pulls a twenty from his pocket.
I got the daughter.
The Wisnewski’s deal with their new found celebrity status.
INT. JUNE’S WORK — DAY
Women at the telephone company make a fuss.
EXT. VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY SORORITY HOUSE — DAY
Mercedes is acknowledged by the president of the sorority and others
Jeff doesn’t act so thrilled.
So, your old man was lucky huh? So at least we get to go to the game. (CONTINUED)
Jeffery trys to get a little fresh with Mercedes.
You’re not being very nice… And stop that in public.
C’mon, I’ll get over it. Besides your dad needs all the help he can get.
You saying he didn’t earn it?.
Hey listen up! If we’re going to continue to be an item… and you expect to attend the cotillion… you had better shape up and fly right. There’s lots of girls out there giving me the eye.
Mercedes reacts as if she’s been slapped in the face. She bites her lip… She looks as if she wants to run away but doesn’t…tears of sadness well up in her eyes….now she’s biting her thumb nail but not making a move, staring straight ahead. She doesn’t blink an eye.
Are you saying you don’t love me?
I’m the only one who really loves you.
INT. THE LUNCHROOM AT NESHAMINY HIGH SCHOOL — SCHOOL HOURS
On the other hand Robby gets smiles from some teenage heart breakers.
The next week was far from ordinary for the Wisnewski’s. Overnight they were transformed into celebrities.
A bevy of newspaper, magazine and TV interviews.
EXT. ED’S JOB SITE — MIDDAY
Ed can’t get a mouthful of his lunch down. He looks frustrated.
I’ve been a private person all my life.
He stops answering questions and ignores the probing.
EXT. JOB SITE-MID — DAY
Butch Krupnik with his two goons in tow climb their way to Ed’s sky crane with Ed at the helm. The three beefy men are wiped out from the climb. They’re huffing and puffing.
For Christ sake Wisnewski! A guy could get a heart attack coming all the way up here.
That would be a shame.
Say Mr. Pulitzer Prize winner I want you to make sure you reserve four spaces for our outing…one ticket for me, and two for the boys… and one for our illustrious union prez, Bud Moran.
What makes you so sure that you’re invited in the first place?
What makes you think we hafta ask in the first place?
Ed hearing the rhetoric doesn’t give them the satisfaction of any more answers. Instead he pays attention to the payload swinging from the end of the boom. (CONTINUED)
He glances at the men, glances at the pavement 100 stories below.
The men look down.
Ed shifts some gears and the entire platform starts to gyrate, vibrate and begin to swing.
Butch and his guys don’t like it and are fearful. Butch is holding on, so are his goons… Butch jerks his head back, like they had better get out of there.
Ed’s face remains blank not giving away the boiling that’s going on on his insides
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — EARLY EVENING
The Wisnewski’s sit around the kitchen table. Craig’s having dinner with the Wisnewski’s. He’s about to speak when the phone starts to ring. They ignore it for the most part.
Aren’t ya gonna answer it?
When are they going to stop calling?
Ed and the family go through the motions eating dinner… they’re not smiling… Ed moves the fork slowly to his mouth and stares straight ahead… the phone keeps ringing.
We focus in on Ed’s eyes. He’s thinking.
For Ed to take his crew to the outing was a gimme… But here was Butch trying to shake him down. And then, the union driver Thompson, told Buddy Mckirk how the union had its own plans about promoting union workers. Something about depicting Ed as something more than just time-card punchers and heavy equipment operators.
EXT-JOBSITE.EARLIER — THAT WORKDAY
C’mon Mr. Wisnewski, you’re the company’s showcase. Mr. Timber said to shoot you as if you’re a captain at the helm.
Go ahead give it a try.
Whattaya want tickets. Showcase this.
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — CONTINOUS
The phone keeps ringing. The family just sits. Ed still in a trance.
EXT-JOB SITE — EARLIER THAT WORKDAY
Butch Krupnik; in front of Cody, Buddy and others, shakes his index finger up close and in a threatening manner towards some of the lower company men.
CRAIG (V.O.) (con’t)
Ed found himself in he middle of a flap between the union and the developer, while they both romanced him for his time. Neither the company or the union was offering Ed more than the $28.50 per hour he gets for operating the crane.
Ed’s still staring straight ahead with a miserable puss.
INT. LOUSE COMPANY HQ. DIR OF OPERATIONS — EARLIER THAT DAY.
Jeffery Timber sits across from his father Horace Timber inside a spacious office, they’re both in matching seersucker suits and matching ties.
There’s a knock on the door and Butch Krupnik enters the room.
You called for me Mr. Timber.
Krupnik. How you coming with those tickets?
I’m working on it Mr. Timber.
Perhaps Jeffery here can give you a few pieces of Timber logic.
(like a rat)
Why is young Jeffery putting the timber to the Polish princess.
Must you be so vulgar Krupnik.
A buzzer sounds and Timber is summoned.
That’s for me I have to go… Work on that Krupnik.
Jeffery and Krupnik stand alone.
Butch grins, anticipating a deal is in the makings.
You get any tickets yet?
(sure of himself)
I’m working on it.
You sound like me.
Yes, but the dichotomy of the situation is that the source of my tickets, well sir that particular source is crazy about me. (CONTINUED)
You boffing her yet?
Perhaps, but that’s of no consequence
You’re getting nothiing are you? Say let’s make a deal and both pool whatever tickets we can wrangle out of these yokels.
Butch fishes around in his pocket and pulls out some sort of substance in plastic.
Here give this to your little Villanova Polish sweetie. She’ll be coming across in no time. When you and your buddies want more you know where to find me.
Jeffery takes the packets like it’s no problem.
More tickets for me… more night life for you.
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — CONTINUOUS
The family still sits silent around the kitchen table. The phone finally stops.
I’m so tired of smiling that my face hurts. Even that schnorer on the corner, ‘Mr. Body Beautiful’ with the toupee. Eh, the bum never gave me the time of day. So now the SOB, goes out of his way to give me a big wave and that phoney smile of his.
Imagine the nerve of some people. That snob Gloria Von Tempsky… just because she’s president of our sorority, she feels she’s entitled to go to the game along with her JERK boyfriend Freddie. You should have heard her. (CONT’D)
Mercedes goes on, mocking Gloria by squinting her eyes… it’s her version of the Gloria Von Tempsky look.
(like a know it all)
‘Freddie’s been a Phillie fan all of his life. His dad used to take him to every game.’
Mercedes bats her eyes.
Did you tell her to get bent?
Well… that’s what I wanted to say… but didn’t. What else could I do?
You whimp! That’s what I would have done. You’re just hanging with that prissy crowd.
That’s easy for you to say Mr. Smarty-pants… Unlike you, I have difficulty being rude.
That’s enough! All you have to do; is say that the Phillies game is something that you have no control over, and your father is handling all the tickets, and he has already invited the quota allowed.
I know that mother, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when someone as pompous as Gloria Von Tempsky puts you on the spot.
Well to tell you the truth, I can empathize with you. I’ve had my own hassles, especially down at work. (MORE) CONT’D)
I’ve been bugged all week. It’s strange but those most vocal about wanting to go, are people who have absolutely no rapport with our family.
It’s just disgusting the gall of some people.
Ed keeps mum about his own confrontations he looks glum. He’s tired and still in his trance. Then snapping out of it.
I’m beat from talking about myself, tired of making excuses not being able to give direct answers to people who insist on mooching…I know this sounds crazy, but I wish I never entered that god-damned contest. It’s been nothing more than a pain in the ass so far. I never figured that there would be such a fuss stirred up.
The phone starts to ring again.
INT. THE TIMBER MANSION — EVENING
Jeffery Timber dials the phone and listens, no answer, he curses and hangs up.
INT. WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — CONTINUOUS
Keep the telephone off the hook. I’m fed up.
INT. PHILADELPHIA’S NEWSPAPER PAPER COMING OFF THE PRESS
The Philadelphia Inquirer printed excerpts in one of its Sunday editions, two weeks after Ed won….Seems Ed unknowingly signed over all copy-rights to the the contest’s sponsor upon entering the contest.
1. INT. CODY’S KITCHEN — SUNDAY MORNING
Cody’s reading the paper…
2. INT. CHEAP MOTEL ROOM — SUNDAY MORNING
Butch, while some bimbo is under the covers, he reads the paper.
In the fine print the legalities were supposedly mentioned. The sponsors in turn sold the winning composition to the local paper.
3, INT. KEANEN FAMILY KITCHEN — CONTINUOUS
An unidentified family pass around the story with concern on their faces.
4. INT. AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE — WEEK DAY
An attorney in a law office reads the paper…
5. EXT. WISNEWSKI’S FAMILY MAILBOX — AFTERNOON
Ed looking over his mail.
CRAIG (V.O.) (CONT’D)
Shortly thereafter the Wisnewski’s received a legal document from a downtown law firm. They were being sued for slander by the survivors of a deceased person named; Joseph Keanen. In his written story, Ed referred to Mr. Keanen quite a few times. He referred to him literally as ‘old drunken Mr. Keanen’…
Ed said later… if anything, he was affectionally calling him ‘old drunken Mr. Keanen.’ After all, it was Mr. Keanen who he credited for his introduction to the Phillies”
FLASH BACK WITHIN A FLASH BACK… BLACK AND WHITE
INT. ED’S CHILDHOOD HOME — 1945-NIGHT
Ed’s row home sits on a narrow Philadelphia street… the stadium lights can be seen a few blocks down the cavern of brick and stoop… a distant roar comes from those lights.
An infant rests in a North Philadelphia row home which laid in the shadows of the grand stands of old Shibe Park, later to be known as Connie Mack Stadium. It’s where the Phillies play.
EXT. ED’S STREET –NIGHT
The grand-stand lights shining can be seen from outside his Gratz Street house are a signal that there’s Philadelphia Phillies action going on down at the stadium.
INT. WISNEWSKI HOME — NIGHT
Ed’s crib rests in a middle room, next to a window; a few blocks away, the roar of the crowd stirs the baby. The baby, not startled smiles and goes back to sleep.
INT. WISNDWSKI HOME — A FEW HOURS LATER NIGHT
The baby is shaken out its sleep by the Keanens who are arguing next door.
Little Eddie lays there helplessly taking it all in.
Ed listens from crib, through the open window and further through the summer-time screen, while MRS..KEANEN (battle ax) with a voice, as disturbing, as nails-on-the-blackboard, hollers at MR.KEANEN. (ANDY CAPP TYPE)
MRS. KEANEN (V.O.)
Every damn night you go down to spend time with them…. Then, when they leave town, what do you do?… You sit in the kitchen and paste your fool ear to that damn radio for hours at a time… And!… What are you listening to? You’re listening to them while drinking your god-damn beer! Then, as soon as they’re back in town — where are you? Right back there, getting drunk with them. (MORE) (CONT”D)
MRS KEANEN (CONT’D)
You stagger home… an embarrassment to your family, cursing in front of the neighbors, making a disgrace of yourself and all you do, is complain about them. Them! Them! Them! I’m sick of them! What about me?’
Flash back continues. Ed lying in his crib.
Ed mentioned in his masterpiece, that even then he summed up; if Mr. Keanen was willing to get into such dutch and still be willing to take more abuse from that old battle axe for being with them, then those thems must have been worth it.
INT. ED’S CRIB — NIGHT
Night after night ignoring his rattles little Ed listens, as old drunken Mr. Keanen staggers up and down Gratz Street.
Them god-damned bums lost again.
CRAIG ( V.O.)
By 1950 Ed reached the tender age of five. That year the Phillies were special and tagged as the ‘Whiz Kids’ in the National League.
With the sound of the crack of a bat; sports page headlines and old Phillies newsreels flash across the screen.
The Whiz Kids Sweep Dodgers To Gain First Place.
1950 Phillies show scrappy play.
EXT. ED’S STREET 1950 — EARLY EVENING
Little Eddie is on the stoop with his family as Mr. Keanen comes out the door, heading for a night game. (CONTINUED)
Ed remembered that 1950 season. In his story he reminisced how Mr. Keanen before going to each game would come up to him and have him touch MR. KEENAN for good luck.
Put it there little Eddie. Maybe you’ll help Robin Roberts put some wicked stuff on his fast-ball tonight!
Mr. Keanen goes through the same ritual before every home game with then Little Eddie outside on the front stoop.
Phillies win Pennant!
Phillies swept in World Series, loose 4 in a row to the Yanks.
Ed receives his first dose of defeat. Ed graphically recalled in his story how Mr. Keanen really tied one on after the last heart-breaking loss.
The press printed; the accounting of a youth crazy over a losing baseball team, and how, as both a teen and as a man, one who never gave up on his team. Ed wrote in his words how: ‘…it seemed all the other teams in baseball eventually made it to the top of mountain,’…
The newspapers spin and spin showing the Phillies always in last place as the years pass by the calendar stops at 1980.
Somehow, simply, and with humility Ed was able to portray himself modestly, as a fan’s fan. (MORE) (CONT”D)
CRAIG (V.O.) CONT’D)
He never gave up hope and verbalized within his writing how each spring he’d become an eternal optimist. His honest work moved the hardest of critiques.
Philadelphia Daily News — 1980
Phillies Win Pennant
Phillies; 1980 World Champs! On Top of the Baseball World
EXT. ED’S JOB SITE — AFTERNOON
The whistle blows ending another work day. At work Ed’s razzed and is the brunt of jokes behind his back. He becomes distant. The crew heads for the tappy except for Ed, despite some coaxing from Cody and Buddy. He’s deserted outside the construction elevator. Butch Krupnik and his muscle come from around the corner.
Yo! Wisnewski! Wait up.
Ed stops, takes a deep breath but doesn’t turn around.
Hey, you haven’t forgotten the tickets for your buddies have you pollack?
You don’t have to say a word. I bet everybody must be buggin’ you for tickets…that don’t make no difference between us guys. Oh, yeah, Bud Moran seems to have come through and rustled up some lady friends to accompany us to the game. That will be four more. See what you can do… Ya know what I mean?…I wouldn’t want to see your pension fund records wind up buried with Jimmy Hoffa.
Ed makes his way straight home rather than have a couple of good-time brews with the crew like in the old days. Down-trodden he passes by the bums in their makeshift, cardboard condos on the way to his car. He isn’t very patient with the panhandlers.
Some homeless people approach Ed for a handout.
Get the fuck away from me ya creeps! If you don’t get out of my way I’m apt to bury ya inside one of them card-board boxes.
INT. WISNEWSKI HOME — AFTERNOON
Once home Ed checks the mail. Heaps of legal looking documents from the Keanen’s family attorneys and from the courts stuff the mailbox. Ed looks worried.
EXT. ON THE JOB — LUNCHTIME.
A week before the scheduled event a reporter named; KIP CARLSON, a toad reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer shows up for an interview. He’s shown to Butch by the guard.
Butch extorts a twenty from the reporter. He sends Buddy up to the sky crane to summons Ed.
Some reporter from the Inquire is down there. Butch pulled a number on me in front of the guy and sent me up.
He can forget it.
I don’t blame ya. I’ve read some of that stuff those guys have said. They get pretty personal. I’ll tell him to hit the pike.
Buddy takes the construction elevator down to find a waiting Carlson.
EXT. STREET LEVEL — CONTINUOUS
Carlson unwraps a piece of gum and litters the wrapper. He offers Buddy a piece. Buddy refuses.
Too bad, your co-worker isn’t living up to his billing.‘Pole with a Pen’ and ‘Headline Making Hard Hat’ he ain’t.
Well if you guys and the rest of the blood suckers would give the poor guy five minutes peace…
I’m wondering if he even wrote the story. The guy has problems formulating sentences or answering simple questions.
Is that what you call them? Some of them questions have sounded a little tricky to me. From what I heard, the press wants to talk about a lot more than baseball. The man’s proud. You guys go out of bounds… pointing out that them stuff, every body talks that way from our neighborhood. What pricks! He isn’t too thrilled about the way youguys come across over the TV… Shit man, he knows what a dork looks like. And I suppose he doesn’t relish any role that has him playing one.
Well, that’s not the way I see it… I see some guy who’s been itching for the limelight. Once its on him, he can’t measure up, he loses his guts. He becomes a mere nothing. (CONT’D)
Nothing! Look what’s happened! The guy has to eat lunch up there, just to get some peace. Christ! He don’t want no spotlight.The poor guy’s getting sued and everything.
Hey, what do you want me to do… cry a river? Too bad for him… I’ll tell ya, the adoring media will soon enough turn against him and dub him as a ‘flash in the kielbasa pan.’
For Ed’s honest reflections he had to hire a lawyer — eat lunch within the confines of the job-site — not answer his own phone.
INT-WISNEWSKI HOUSEHOLD-DINNER TIME
The Wisnewski’s family portrait becomes even more gloomy.
Ed and June kept putting off the night where they’d whittle down the perspective list of candidates that he’d take to the game. Already, over eighty guests had presumed themselves as, ‘on the list’ and going along.
INT. THE WISNEWSKI KITCHEN — CONTINUOUS
Ed hangs up the phone with disappointment on his face.
Mr. Greaves said the rules are clear, nobody else, even if they pay. I bought my own ticket. I figure I’ll be able to get past security because of my status.
We had less pressure inviting guests to our wedding.(CONT”D)
I thought that was a protocol fiasco. . .I suppose I should tell you. Harold called, He wants to know if his girls count? He’s under the impression because they are both under 12 that they won’t…
Harold!… What the hell does he think?… And why didn’t you tell him in the first place? You should know better! A ticket is a ticket, a person is a person, ‘Kabeech?’ I thought that cheap shit hated sports. Just because he’s your brother-in-law he thinks that gives him the right to go to the game along with his dog-bag wife and their two spoiled brats…. What a mooch he is. If it wasn’t a free-bee he wouldn’t even bother!
Knock it off Ed. He’s your brother-in-law too.
Knock off nothing. I’m sick of the nerve of some of these people especially those who should realize just what’s going on and What about that wife of his…
What about her?
Ed mockingly squints his eyes same as Mercedes did, when imitating Gloria Von Tempsky, he turns up his nose and somehow thins his lips mimicking his sister-in-law Harriet.
‘…sports! they’re so barbaric and all that money. It’s so silly paying grown men all that money to play boys games, they should use their energy in more productive ways.’…
Oh! You’re such a big deal! Why don’t you pick up the phone then? You can tell them what you think! I am sick and tired of hearing you whine about your problems… and having you doing nothing about them! You had time to invite who you wanted all along!… Right from the start you had control but no… you just skirted the issue Ed, and now you’ve got problems… Too bad. It’s not my problem anymore I don’t even want to go.”
EXT. JUST OUTSIDE THE WISNEWSKI’S BACK DOOR — CONTINUOUS
June almost runs over Craig as she bolts. He’s planted just outside the back door. He looks as if he’s been working up the courage to knock on the door while the Wisnewski’s were in the middle of a tiff. June looks so peeved she hardly notices Craig.
I figured that my timing was bad and perhaps it was best to mosey on home rather than spend a sad time with a bummed-out Ed Wisnewski.
Whattaya want Craig?
I suspect he knew all along that I just wanted to hang-out.
INT. ED’S HOME — AFTERNOON
Craig, uncomfortable about Ed’s crabby mood fesses up.
You folks sort of sounded the way my parents do when they argue. They both yell at each other… neither of them listens… Well, you were hollering real loud and it sounded like you were getting real mad.
Oh yeah …
I’ve heard some beefs going on over here about Friday night’s game. I might be able to fix your problem… My brother Jason and I already have plans to attend a game, next week, while on a field trip with my day camp… So, I’ve decided for Jason that we can skip the game with you guys, so there can be more room on your trip. Jason and I figured that might be better.
Ed appears flabbergasted at the notion. He stares down and says nothing. He’s quite taken by the boys sincerity.
Craig… you’re some kid. Only you have given a second thought to help lighten the load. I never realized what kind of champ you really are!
June returns with groceries.
She finds Ed tuned into a TV show. Craig has fallen asleep on the sofa near Ed. Peanut butter and jelly on his kid face are a telltale sign that Ed made him a treat. Ed’s more relaxed than when she left and he has an inane smile on his face.
Have you made any progress?
Don’t you worry about a thing sweetheart. I’ve got it all figured out.
Ed pulls from a drawer 50 tickets wraped in a rubber band.
Here, 15 for Robby and 15 for Mercedes. You and I will give out he rest.
EXT. JOB SITE — DAY
Ed at work, construction goes on around him he appears at ease with himself.
EXT. VILLANOVA CAMPUS — DAYTIME
Jeffery and Mercedes are siting under a shady tree. Mercedes pulls from her sweater pocket a stack of tickets.
… Mother gave me my share of the tickets. I’ve been so pestered though. I’ve promised no one so far… just you Jeffery.
Say, why don’t you let me hold them… for safe keeping. This way you can say they’re all gone, then I’ll help you choose. This way you’ll have less pressures.
EXT. JOB SITE — NEXT DAY
Jeffery meets with Butch Krupnik on the side and proudly flashes 15 tickets.
So you do have talent.
No need for the flatter. Now Mr. Krupnik what about some more of that night life.
Butch looks around to see nobody is watching. He slips Jeffery the drugs.
So what. You gotta be banging her by now.
Never under estimate a Timber.
EXT. JOB SITE — DAYTIME
Ed’s on the job running his skycrane.
It is as if Ed’s gone through some sort of metamorphosis. He appears as if he’s had a huge weight taken from his shoulders.
Three men approach and after a few words they shuffle on off.
Sorry fellows, sorry I can’t take everyone. Maybe next year.
INT. GAME DAY WISNEWSKI’S HOUSE — EARLY MORNING
June has a frown on her face when she kisses Ed goodbye and hands him his lunch pail.
I love you.
EXT. WISNEWSKI DRIVEWAY — EARLY MORNING
She runs to the window of his Jeep.
Don’t forget to pick up Craig.
INT. INSIDE HOUSE MORNING
June goes back into the house, picks up the phone and calls her sister.
…he appears quietly happy. He’s back to his old self… but my intuition tells me something odd is going on. That Wisnewski can be a strange one at times…
EXT. JOB SITE — MORNING GAME DAY
Keeping to himself up on his crane Ed remains aloof. During the 10:00 a.m. coffee break Butch confronts him. He sips his coffee and whistles in a relaxed tone; Take Me Out To The Ball Game.
Oh yeah pal, here’s the eight tickets ya asked for. Have a blast.
Krupnik snatches the tickets. Rather than speaking he just flaps the tickets in Ed’s direction and affirms with his head. He never says thanks.
At 2:30 p.m. Ed calls his foreman and blows his own whistle.
INT. ED’S CAR ON THE EXPRESSWAY — AFTERNOON
Ed makes his way through the mid-afternoon traffic heading north on I-95.
EXT. BUS DEPOT — AFTERNOON
A bus with its marquee display PHILLIES SPECIAL pulls out of a city depot and enter the heavy traffic heading out of the city.
INT. ED’S CAR ON EXPRESSWAY — AFTERNOON
Ed looks at the digital clock and does some quick calculations.
Let’s see, right on schedule.
EXT. WILLIAMSON COURT OUTSIDE THE WISNEWSKI HOUSE –AFTERNOON
People are stating to show up many of them in Phillies garb readying themselves for the excursion.
EXT. BREEZY POINT DAY CAMP — GAME DAY AFTERNOON
Ed’s Jeep comes to a stop in the Breezy Point parking lot…a herd of youngsters surrounds his Jeep cheering. The kids recognize Ed.
Many of the kids have especially worn their Phillies T-shirts and caps in honor of his visit. For once Ed looks as if appreciates the fuss.
A few counselors make their way towards Ed’s Jeep through the throng of happy children.
Greetings, you must be Big Ed Wisnewski! It’s not often we have a celebrity in our midst right here at Breezy Point.
Ed couldn’t help but smile back.
You’re all he talks about around here… We read your story during quiet time this week. The kids thought it was terrific. I think you’ve inspired a few more baseball fans.
Ed beams and thanks the young man as Craig appears, wearing his cap and waving his baseball glove up at the window over at the passenger side so Ed can see him to let him in.
Hi Mr.Wisnewski, ready for the big game? I bet we’ll cream those Mets tonight! Is Lefty Luongo pitching? (CONTINUED)
Craig gushes. He climbs into the car. Ed grunts in response glances at the clock and pulls away from the waving cheering kids.
INT ED’S CAR-ON EXPRESSWAY AFTERNOON
They are back on the expressway before Craig ventures to speak again; unable to contain his excitement no longer.
My Mom said a ‘humongous’ bus is going to pick us up right in front of our house, right Mr. Wisnewski?
Look Craig, I have a little surprise for you and there’s a new plan. We’re going to head that bus off at the pass! Do you know what hijack means? We’re on an adventure and our plan needs some pinch hitters. It’s you and me. Are you with me big boy?
Craig’s eyes widen as Ed speaks and he nods his head vigorously in response. It’s as if there’s nothing more that he’d like to do more than be on an adventure with big Ed.
Ed keeps a watch out the rear view mirror. It is 3:45 p.m. and the chartered bus should be coming soon behind them somewhere, taking the same route up Interstate 95 towards his suburban neighborhood.
Ed takes the Street Road off ramp and pulls into the first shopping center’s parking lot.
EXT. JUST OFF EXPRESSWAY — CONTINUOUS
He maneuvers his Jeep to a spot close to the expressway exit where he parks. Ed lays and waits.
Craig has his head craned to the side keeping faithful to the watch that Ed had given him.
They can see the off ramps’ traffic coming from about a mile back and when the PHILLIES SPECIAL comes into view both see it simultaneously. (CONTINUED)
Alright boy! That’s it, that’s it Craig! That’s our bus Craig!
Ed’s unable to pull out in the bumper to bumper traffic. Ed waits for the bus to turn on Hulmeville road…he pulls aside the bus beeping his horn.
The bus driver ignores Ed’s horn until he notices Ed waving his arms and signaling for him to pull over. The bus pulls to the side of the road.
EXT. HULMEVILLE ROAD SHOULDER — CONTINUOUS
Wait here Craig.
Ed gets out of his Jeep and walks towards the bus. He lumbers to the doors of the bus and signals for the driver to let him in. Ed is recognized by Mr. Greaves, the spokesman from Schmidt’s, who’s sitting on the front seat with a clip board on his knees. Mr. Greaves is to accompany Ed and his guests to the game.
INT. ED CHEROKEE — CONTINUOUS
Craig stands on the Jeep’s seat hoping to catch a peek of the three men as they speak in the front of the bus.
EXT. STREET ROAD — CONTINUOUS
Ed exits the bus and makes his way back to Craig.
INT’ ED’S JEEP — CONTINUOUS
What’s going on?
I’ll tell you what’s going on my man! We’re getting on that big bus there and taking in a Phillies game!
EXT. SHOULDER OF HULMEVILLE ROAD — CONTINUOUS
The Mutt and Jeff duo abandoned Ed’s Jeep on the side of Street Road and make their way onto the bus where they plop themselves down in the front row seats across from Mr. Greaves. The driver starts the bus and turns the wheel of the giant cruiser making a U-turn,the bus turns back onto the entrance ramp.
Ed has a mischievous smirk on his face. (CONTINUED)
EXT. WISNEWSKI HOUSE — CONTINUOUS
Back on Williamson Court, at least 80 or so fans are gathered, waiting to board the bus to that night’s Phillies game and all the amenities that go along while sitting in a Super Deluxe Box.
EXT. THE EXPRESSWAY — AFTERNOON
The bus presses on with every spin of the wheel, further and further from Ed’s house, further from what is supposed to be its original point of embarkation.
You know my dad said they’re going to have reporters and even a mini camera at your house to see everyone off to the stadium.
Mr. Greaves squirms not yet figuring out why he hadn’t been told about the change in plans. Mr. Greaves rises and leans up against the front bus rail and looks out the front window.
Greaves alternately glances at his watch and stares at Ed. He looks perplexed as if not knowing how to handle the situation.
The driver, a big black man almost as big as Ed tends to his driving and the big charter continues to rumble down the freeway.
EXT-EXPRESSWAY HEADING SOUTH-AFTERNOON
1. The bus rolls past the sprawling suburban housing tracts.
2. The bus rolls by block upon block of brick row homes, the same that housed Ed as a kid.
3. The homes became more worn and defaced as they move into a more checkered part of town.
4. Corner stores, playgrounds, and churches turf no longer are the view instead its factories, mills, and railroad yards.
5. On the other side of the expressway’s median slow-moving traffic heads out in the opposite direction.
6. The sleek silver Greyhound with its four occupants wheels unhampered; deeper into the metropolis, which is rapidly being deserted by its daily commuters. “Race Street,” next exit, reads the huge, green, sign, hanging over the freeway.
I know where we are!… We’re downtown!… Are we near where you work Mr. Wisnewski? Are we going to your job at the Benjamin Franklin Complex!… Did you forget something at work?
Yeah, That’s right Craig. I forgot something. Lately I’ve forgotten plenty. . . You know Craig, my family told me that you were a pretty smart kid. I guess that must be true ‘cause you’ve sure taught old Ed here a few things.
Ed puts his big arm around his little buddy and Craig beams up at him.
EX. -A SMALL STREET — EARLY EVENING
The bus can hardly fit onto the tiny, almost an alley of a litter-strewn, side street. It’s all but empty, deserted by its working population, only polluted by its depressing everyday inhabitants.
The proverbial second shift remains; crouched in doorways, clustered in small groups, comparing the day’s booty and sharing some cheap booze.
They’re just one block from where Ed operates his sky crane and its visible down the street a piece.
Here, pull over here and stop. Go ahead, pull up on the sidewalk so traffic can still get by!
What’s going on here Wisnewski? No one told me anything about running a chauffeur service. (CONTINUED)
the brewery representative, moves past him and out to the sidewalk through the bus’s open doors. He walks down the street and around the corner.
Moments later Ed’s torso emerges around the corner, he crosses the thoroughfare and speaks with a group of “street” people.
He and the vagrants that he’s been talking with accompany Ed. In turn, they cross the same street for the second time and disappear again, around the corner leaving it empty for just a moment.
Ed turns the corner, within the eye-sight of the three waiting for him on the bus, he is far from being alone. Behind him trails a not-so-sure, scared-looking, bunch of men. They’re a scruffy, stumbling, disheveled lot. The trio on the bus can only gape out the bus’s windows. Ed is leading the column directly onto the bus!
INT. ABOARD BUS — EARLY EVENING
Ed and the rest of the street people trudge their way aboard.
Mr. Greaves, I’d like to introduce to you to my guests!
Ah come-on Mr. Wisnewski you gotta be kidding!
I don’t kid pal, like I say, these are my guests Mr. Greaves. If you don’t like my taste in companions you should shut up ‘cause you don’t want to get my Polish up!
Ed pretends to be annoyed with Greaves.
I thought! I thought!…
Whatever you thought Bub, it doesn’t count! Nobody informed me about any prerequisites or categories concerning my guests. (MORE) (CONT’D)
Together we’re all going to ride down to the Vet and take in a ball-game. Hopefully you’ll agree Greaves since I earned my grand prize, fair and square!
Ed turns to the rear of the filled bus and motions to the lot, as if looking for a sign of approval.
Isn’t that right guys?
A rip roaring “YEAH!” explodes from from the “barfy” bunch. Their unanimous support encourages Ed further as his voice takes on a new role of authority.
Mr. Greaves, I just want you to understand You don’t have to worry about any repercussions. After all, who won the Phanantic contest?
Right! Now that person wants his guests to be transported immediately, and without further ado, directly to the game, so we have time enough to take in batting practice… plus, I’m getting thirsty and I’m sure the boys can’t wait to sample a couple of ice-cold Schmidts down at the ball park.
Ed’s militant attitude, brought on another ovation, sprinkled with some; “right ons,” including another volley of, “yahoos,” this time much louder than the preceding two. Mr. Greaves appears perplexed and confused unsure just how to handle the situation.
(still not confident)
I have my own reservations. It’s a little difficult for me to come to grips with the fact that it’s your trip… and… I-ah suppose the complimentary cases of Schmidts on ice, tucked up there in the storage racks are yours…
Ed directs that the hidden cargo is unveiled and that brings even a louder eruption of cheers, its loudness rattles off what windows that are yet broken, echoing off the graffiti-scrawed walls.
The packed bus is still sitting half up on the curb.
Now let’s get this show on the road!
Another adulation comes from the now ‘dirt filled’ seats.
Open some windows. It’s getting a little ripe in here.
Perhaps the thought of what he might envision, as a bizarre scenario, being produced by his truly, so the big man lets out a jolly belly laugh as he anticipates the look on the faces that might greet them down at the Vet. Ed looks down at young Craig who has been taking it all in so far. He put his arm around the young boy’s shoulder and gives him a wink.
Well boy, are you ready for a ‘kick ass’ time?
Craig slams a fist into his baseball glove and giggles. Craig is ecstatic. He has the skinny by then about the entire situation and seems as if he relishes the chance to further participate in on what’s about to go down.
This is going to be great!
Other than the skeptical Mr. Greaves, a growing spirit seems to be emerging from all of the passengers, including the bus driver.
The driver just shakes his head and whistles in disbelief.
Oohwee! This is really going to be something!
A chorus of “Ninety-Nine Bottles Of Beer On The Wall” rings from the shoddy almost toothless crowd, followed by a hearty rendition of; “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”
I can still see the big man as we made our way from the front to the rear of the bus, shaking every-man’s hand, welcoming them aboard.
INT. BUS — CONTINUOUS
One after another, each more tragic than the other we see their faces. Craig innocense has him as being too naive to be inhibited by the unsightly and sometimes scary looking men.
At that age I knew my monsters… these guys far outdid lots of the ones I had already seen in comic books or cartoons. They all to a man acted kind towards me. They seemed to appreciate my innocence, perhaps remembering their own, while reflecting on their then lost, once-fresh outlook.
They interact with Craig.
Hey Sonny, Cinco’s the name, high five’s my game.
Cinco holds up an exposed filthy, dirt-balled palm above his cooty filled head, so Craig can take a good whack at it, and Craig does so, whopping it squarely for a killer high five.
One old geezer winks, noticing Craig’s glove.
Think we’ll snag any foul balls today champ?… I remember… I remember once, I took a young fellow just like yourself down to old Connie Mack Stadium… We both got lucky and snatched one!
The poor man stares back out the bus’s window looking away from Craig’s eyes as if trying to bring back better times, a time perhaps, when he was a family man.
What’s your first name Greaves?
Ed turns back towards the seats.
This is George men, he works for Schmidt’s brewery. He’s our host this evening.
The now customary hurrah comes easily from the men. It’s unclear if their cheers are for George Greaves or the brew his company provided that they were rapidly pouring down their thirsty gullets. The appreciation that was showed towards George, at any rate, was unanimous. Ed, standing in the front of the bus like a boy scout leader, instigated three cheers for the bus driver.
Hip-hip, hooray, hip-hip, hooray, hip-hip, hooray!
The bus load of now happy hoboes makes its way back onto the expressway and on its way, non-stop, to Veterans Stadium.
EXT. VIP ENTRANCE OF THE STADIUM — EARLY EVENING
Under the canopy at the VIP entrance of the Veteran’s Stadium a welcoming committee forms, prepared to greet the winner of the Philadelphia Phanatic writing contest and his guests. The delegation is led by CHRISTIAN P.SCHMIDT the IV, CEO of the Schmidt’s Brewing Company, grandson of the founder himself.
Included, the brewery’s top executives and their spouses. With them; stand WARREN GILES, President of the Philadelphia Phillies Baseball Club. His special guest is PETER UBEROTH, Commissioner of Baseball. Other well-wishers in the entourage include; the Mayor of Philadelphia and he is accompanied by DORAN H. LOUSE, principal developer of the Benjamin Franklin Complex.
Jeffery Timber smuglike stands next to his father Horace.
An unusually large press corps are on hand; both local and some international guys from the wire services. (CONTINUED)
An assortment of cameras stand ready, all zeroed in on the spot where the honoraries will disembark.
The Greyhound bye-passes the riffraff that clogs up the parking lot entrance and it streams through the VIP gates heading towards the flags that decorate the VIP entrance. The bus passes under a sign is clearly visible; “KEEP OUT: VIP & VALET PARKING ONLY.”
INT. THE BUS — CONTINUOUS
The sign prompts hoots and catcalls from the arriving contingent of new VIP’s enthusiastic about becoming Phillie Phanatics.
Ed picks up Craig from his seat and lifts him over a safety rail placing him on the bottom step at the bus’s exit. He places both of his huge hands on the small boy’s shoulders.
All set big boy?
Craig turns his trusty Phillies cap sideways over his little boy looks. He’s ready for action. Ed gives him the thumbs-up sign!
Craig, with a nod of his head, signals back to Ed. Ed, re-assuring gives his hat a customary tug. Greaves stands behind Ed, nervously glaring out the front window of the carriage, rattling off sets of instructions towards the driver.
What ever you do; don’t pull up to the VIP canopy where those TV cameras and reporters are!
The driver acknowledges his instructions with a nod of his head. Greaves vice grips the bus’s handrail so to balance himself. From the palm of his hand, while holding on to the rail, drip streams of perspiration.
The gang in the coach assume an eerie silence, gazzing out the windows like a pack of obedient Cub Scouts.
EXT. JUST OUTSIDE THE STADIUM — EARLY EVENING
Out of no-where a motorcycle police escort encircles the rolling bus… other leather jacketed patrolmen wave the bus into an empty VIP stall adjacent to the curb in front of the welcoming committee, leaving no route to.
INT-THE BUS-EARLY EVENING
“Swoosh”… That unmistakable sound of an opening bus door tells everyone that the ‘Schmidt’s of Philadelphia Phillie Phanatic,’ has arrived.
Craig hits the pavement… like a para-military commando, Phillies cap on head… glove in hand.
His action draws a few chuckles and laughs as cameras snap photos of the little guest including light applause from the group of waiting dignitaries. Behind Craig stands Ed whose mammoth frame takes up the bus’s entire doorway blocking any view behind him. George Greaves and the rest slowly unload themselves off the bus. In the immediate area most eyes focus on Craig and Ed not yet noticing the onslaught behind them.
It’s the onlookers on the fringes of the delegation who first bring attention to the fact that this isn’t your ordinary ball park crowd. Valet-parking attendants start laughing, while pointing, bringing the un-savory looking group to light.
VALET PARKING LOT ATTENDANTS & CAB DRIVERS
(to each other)
Hey! Check out these dudes!
How do you like the get-up on that guy?
The cabbies dropping off fares aren’t so tactful; whistles and catcalls put an abrupt stop to the joviality of the bums. Sarcasm and irreverence becomes the order of the day.
Hey, Giles, (referring to the Phillies owner) got some family in from out of town or what?
The mayor doesn’t escape their wrath either. (CONTINUED)
It’s nice to see you treating your new economic council to a ball game your honor.
The ragged group remain quiet. They look, in their torn and dirty-layered clothing, laceless shoes and crushed hats, like “fish out of water.” They sort mill around, near the curb, hanging back near the end of the bus.
Eyes are downcast; probably figuring, all good things must come to an end and that they had reached the proverbial end of the line, soon to be heading back to skid row without even a ride.
Jeffery Timber and his father scan the guests with a panic look.
Mr. Greaves sides himself with the awaiting dignitaries and is frantically whispering in the ears of executives.
He’s giving his explanation of just where and how all this came to be. His arms are extended down and out away from his body, his palms are exposed as he takes the, “what could I do?” defense.
An uneasy silence still encompasses the frozen-faced welcoming committee in front of the VIP entrance; seconds passed like hours in an excruciating uncomfortable atmosphere.
Ed breaks the silence. He extends his hand towards Christian Schmidt and looks him directly in the eyes.
Good evening Mr. Schmidt, it’s nice to see you again, my guests and I are pleased to be here, we’re ready to be shown to our seats… We aren’t too late I hope? We didn’t want to miss too much of batting practice?
Mr. Schmidt glares back at Ed Wisnewski, his eyes shift to Craig.
Craig, not showing any fear and he is slowly and deliberately pounding the leather pocket of his Wilson baseball mitt.
His baby blues are giving Mr. Schmidt a look; an icy stare that might say, ”We’re a defiant duo mister, you’d better watch out!”
The brewery executive raises his chin and he ganders behind and around Ed as if taking inventory of Ed’s mangy bunch. (CONT’D)
Mr. Schmidt, still holding on to Ed’s hand finds his voice.
Is this your party Ed?
Ed nods. Schmidt continues to hold onto Ed’s hand smiling stiffly.
Welcome Ed. It will be my pleasure to escort you and your guests to your deluxe box seats.
Ed, Craig, and their cavalcade of misfits break into broad smiles and an eruption of ‘hurrahs.’ The delegation, as if in response does the same but in a more reserved manner. Cameras flash, as if still on cue.
Mr. Schmidt hushes the crowd with a wave of his hand.
With another wave he signals pretty usherettes to distribute new, red, Phillies baseball caps to the guests and replace the old ones.
The women in charge pulls one of her girls to the side.
You can shelve the planned aloha kisses for now.
The caps replace what had to be the wildest assortment of head garb ever to pass the VIP gates at Veterans Stadium.
We see Mr. Schmidt going on to introduce Ed and Craig.
Shall we be off to our seats.
INT – VETERAN’S STADIUM – EARLY EVENING
The homeless, gain confidence with every step. Coming out of their shell the hoboes shine in the role, them being the center of attention and interact with their new found audience. They grin as if they were passing through Heaven’s gates; their backs straighten up and chins extend out. They’ve had a few beers on the trip down and now take swigs from cans of Schmidt’s they’d hidden beneath their shabby clothing.
They pass two vendors selling programs one says to another.
Check it out. The stadium is one few places in Philadelphia where drinking in public is legal. These guys are still hiding their beers.
As they all near the entrance to the deluxe box area the press converges upon Ed and those at the head of the group.
Carlson! Press, Philadelphia Inquirer… Mr. Wisnewski are these people with you; friends, relatives or neighbors?
Ed does not reply and seems annoyed by the intrusion and the question. The newspaperman is undaunted.
I have what I believe as valid information stating that you’ve picked these people up off the Race Street on skid row.”
The rest of the media people lunge forward with micro-phones anticipating a response from Ed.
Mr. Wisnewski! Please! My paper would like to know, who these people are. Who are your guests? Are they friends?… Relatives?… Neighbors?
Ed stops!…The flow of people behind him stops too.
So, you want to know the scoop, eh little man?… Well, I’ll give you the scoop Mr. Smart Ass! I’m a pig-headed pollack from Richmond & Venango and where I come from, people don’t put labels on folks for the sake of a headline. Now, I’ll tell you something else pal, tell this to your paper ‘Johnny,’or what ever your name is… These guys here with me, all these men are related to me… They’re my brothers!… Are you happy, you got that clear?
An air of defiance could now be sensed from the column and rumblings could be overheard from the rear.
FROM THE REAR
You tell ‘em, Ed! We’re with you all the way!
A pop-corn vendor who had been listening got caught up in and joined in on the act.
Hit the road toad!
Ed’s throng becomes more militant. Jibes and jeers shoot towards the press. A deep raspy voice comes from within the crowd.
You don’t have to take any any shit from the guy Ed!… Oops!
Uh…excuse me. I’m Sorry folks.
That brought on a round of laughs and more hearty cheers.
Ed, caught up in the moment, and high on righteous indignation, reaches out and with the meaty paws of a six-foot six inch construction worker snatches the Inquirer reporter by the collar.
Look chum! My brothers and I are about to go in and enjoy a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. My brothers and I would appreciate it if you and your newsy buddies would not get so close… you’re kinna offensive we wouldn’t want ya to stink up the place…. Besides we’re kinna particular who we keep company with. We got a reputation to protect.!
Ed fishes into his pocket still holding the paralyzed man with one huge hand and pulls out a five dollar bill and stuffs it into the lapel pocket of the the reporter’s sports coat.
Now do us a favor. Go buy a hotdog or something. I might break a nail here… and that might get my Polish up!
Only then does he release the once cocky intruder.
Sure! Sure! Mr. Wisnewski.
He backs off along with the rest of the deflated press corps absorbing a barrage of hoots and war cries.
The red capped procession proceeds without any more interference. As a group passes the reporters and onlookers, Mr. Uberoth the Baseball Commissioner is overheard saying, “Our umpires could use that kind of back-up in some of the stadiums around the country!”
INT. INSIDE A SUPER DELUXE BOX — CONTINUOUS
The men in Ed’s group, including Ed, look as if they are totally unprepared for the elegance that greets them as they make their way into the super deluxe box.
A feast lays before them, which represents a lifestyle that most of them couldn’t even fathom. On silver trays served on white-linen table cloths are basted turkeys, tender roasts, and whole fishes, surrounded by a wide assortment of beautifully presented gourmet side dishes. (CONTINUED)
Another table holds rich deserts and exotic fruits for dipping into a warm chocolate fondue. Fresh cut multi-colored flowers in crystal vases decorate each table.
Trophy-size ballplayers carved out of ice grace the center table. Frosty bottles of Schmidt’s beer are arranged neatly on ice in a huge cooper tub.
Ed’s guests look ill at ease, perhaps overwhelmed in the midst of all the splendor. An army of red vested waiters, wade into the crowd holding trays of glasses of champagne above their heads.
Don’t mind if I do.
A little old bearded man lifts a dainty glass stem off one of the trays with his filthy hand… he’s draped with a cape, hand-made from an old chenille bedspread.
Finally, hesitation gives way to elation and with a whoop, the men hit the tables like a pack of wolves. A few still hold back afraid they might be asked to leave at any given moment. The contrast between the elegance of the room and of the buffet compared to the rag-tailed mob is significant.
The welcome committee filters into the room. Mayor Goode makes his way towards Ed. The pair of Timbers are absent.
Mr. Wisnewski, you are some piece of work I must say. I’d like to know just where you come from. I think a man of your calibre should think about and maybe consider taking on a municipal attitude.
Ed pretending to act a little tipsy from his champagne.
Like I said, Mayor, I’m a pig-headed pollack from Port Richmond and in case you haven’t noticed, I already got an attitude.
The mayor, instead of further belly wagging, catches Ed’s drift; coughs once, then latches on to a passing bureaucrat and splits.
The room is quite boisterous. Craig is holding court in one corner; amusing some of the executives wives.
He talks between bites of a soft pretzel and swigs from a Coke can.
Mr. Wisnewski and I had this all planned… well kinna.
Christian P. Schmidt the IV casually strolls the room with the ease of a sea captain walking his deck. He beams with a (this is really something) look, proud of the benevolent goings on. He remains absolutely charming even when accosted by one of Ed’s more challenging guests, a man aptly named SCRAPPY.
Scrappy zeroes in on Christian P. He places a torn and tattered arm around Mr. Schmidt’s shoulder. He is drunk as hell and from his free hand swings a freshly opened bottle of beer. He gives Mr. Schmidt a hearty squeeze and addresses him loud enough as to be overheard.
Mr. Schmidt! Mr. Schmidt!… I just want you to know…
Scrappy staggers and both he and Christian Schmidt sway from side to side.
Mr. Schmidt… I just want you to know that me and my friends here have been supporting your brewing company for quite a few years now… And you know what Mr. Schmidt? I hope you’ll be happy to hear that we’re planning on drinking plenty of Schmidt’s beer in the future.”
Scrappy then lets loose; a long, loud, sour smelling, belch.
Undaunted he goes on with an oratory that could try the patience of a saint, all while attracting more attention from around the room. Despite the situation Christian Schmidt remains attentive and unflappable.
Still holding onto Mr. Schmidt.
You know it’s been rumored that you’ve been having a little financial difficulty down at the brewery… with all that competition from them fancy named foreign beers and all. Well, you can take it from me, Scrappy, I sympathize with you about financial difficulty!
I tell you Mr. Schmidt, I know much about financial difficulties. I’ve been there! … as a matter of fact pal, I am there!
Scrappy pulls one of his pants pockets inside out.Scrappy gives Mr. Schmidt a wink.
Shamelessly, he continues.
So, Mr. Schmidt I want you to know… that from now on, I’m strictly a Schmidt’s man… No matter what them so-called beer experts say about Schmidt’s… You know about it making you feel bad and all, if you drink too much. Well they’re wrong… it don’t give you no headache… and you can take my word for it. After all, (now gesturing to his cohorts), me and my friends, we’re all experts!
Scrappy lifts his beer toasting Mr. Schmidt and mercifully ends his long-winded toast. Relieved, onlookers applaud. Much of the applause is directed towards Mr. Schmidt for maintaining his composure.
Incredibly, Scrappy still has more to say.
Excuse me everybody… Excuse me!… Now, on the other hand, if you drink, and you really wanna get messed up and catch a wicked headache(MORE) CONT’D)
You can try some of this stuff!
He reaches down into his baggy suspender pants and produces a half-filled labelless quart bottle. It’s anybodies guess what’s in the container. It can be anything from red Tokay to turpentine! Scrappy’s toothless grin is an indicator that he has swan songed his own encore and is really through.
Surprisingly enough Schmidt doesn’t cast Scrappy away. Instead in true David Runyon fashion with moxie he maintains the connection.
Thank you Mr. Scrappy…It gives me great pleasure to hear such a stirring testimonial. The good people associated with the Schmidt’s Brewing Company appreciate and value your patronage, along with your discriminating taste.Thank you for letting me have the opportunity to reciprocate in a small way. I’m thrilled to be with you during this auspicious occasion… and furthermore, thanks to Mr. Ed Wisnewski for bringing us all together for an eye-opening experience.
MR. SCHMIDT GENTLY SEND SCRAPPY ADRIFT.
MR. SCHMIDT (CONT’D)
Which reminds me… My father Christian P. Schmidt, III… an old Quaker, etched into his children’s upbringing, an old Schmidt’s family adage… The adage implied, that the highest achievement attainable by a Schmidt, or any man for that matter, is not another fortune, or winning high office… or even bought and paid-for-prestige in one’s community … (MORE) (CONT’D)
MR. SCHMIDT (CONT’D)
Our father insisted that we Schmidt boys should strive for what he called ‘higher aspirations’… he said, ‘that’s if we had the grit’… His idea of a higher aspiration was to be recognized in the eyes of other men, as being no more or no less than a true brother. This evening Ed, by your actions you’ve rekindled my father’s spirit… A toast to you Ed Wisnewski, a man’s man… a true brother.
Red faced and embarrassed, Ed beams none the less, more applause rings out throughout the room.
Some of the Phillies baseball players stroll in and mingle with the crowd while batting practice is taking place down on the field. Craig scarfs up some autographs for himself and his brother Jason, and chalks up a couple of spares.
Mike Schmidt, the famous Phillies third-base man and slugger, who surely is destined for the Hall of Fame is among the minglers.
A VOICE (O.S.)
Mike Schmidt! Yo, Mike Schmidt!… You know what?… You’re a bum!
The mystery voice is heard once again, this time calling out across the room to a crony somewhere within the crowd.
VOICE (O.S.) (CONT’D)
How ‘bout that Firpo. Did you hear? Imagine me calling Mike Schmidt a bum” (he-he-he).
Mike Schmidt, appreciates the joke and retorts in the direction of the the voice’s origin without looking up.
Takes one to know one!
Never it would seen had a deluxe box witnessed so much laughter, beginning with the great slugger himself. Everyone cracks-up, from the owner of the team, to the guests.
Some of the waiters and waitresses serving, far from what was an everyday affair, are so disabled by their hysterics, they have to leave the serving floor to straighten out their faces.
Mike Schmidt’s retort gave way to a barrage of wise cracks. Back at Schmitty came a bevy of street talk barbs:
ASSORTED BUMS (O.S.)
I’d rather not have a home, than have to steal one…
I’d rather be a dirt bagger than a third bagger…
Hey tight pants, there’s no switch hitters in this gang.
The party is on. The room is rocking. The establishment has gotten over their initial shock. The men for the most part are respectful, yet haven’t lost their color. Still, as a contingent, it is clear that this was just a passing fancy and they are going to make the most of it.
Just below the buffet are four rows of stadium seats where they will watch the game.
Ed and Craig take a break from the festivities and walk down to check it out.
The seats upholstered in bright red nylon fabric look cushiony and comfortable. The ceiling is rigged with at least a dozen or so colored monitors set up to give the deluxe seat viewers instant replays.
The super air conditioned deluxe-box area is enclosed with glass, and snappy pre-game stereo music comes from speakers which are suspended from the ceiling.
Wow! This is really neat! I could live right here Mr. Wisnewski… and never want to go anywhere else for the rest of my life.
Ed smiles. He looks at his watch. (CONTINUED)
Five minutes til game time.
Within moments the music stops. The stadium announcer calls for all to stand and invites the audience to sing along with the National Anthem. As the organ begins to pipe out the familiar melody; the din behind them fall to singing. The people in the Schmidt’s deluxe box cease their conversations and join the rest of their brethren in song.
Everyone in the room stands erect, as they begin to sing Ed looks from face to face. The contrasts are obvious.
Ed studies the faces and listens. He closes his eyes. His ears zero in on various targets, trying to differentiate the singing voice of a high-society soprano than that coming from a bust-out baritone. Ed’s still milling over the inequity of it all when the song ends.
Mr. Schmidt wonders into the seating area and situates himself with Ed and Craig.
This is turning into some evening Ed.
Yeah… It sure is.
This morning these men had no idea that they’d have such an evening.
But what happens to these guys when it turns midnight. They’ll be lucky if they wind up with a pumpkin?
It takes a man such as you to ask such a question.
I’ve asked myself a few, watching these folks sing the National Anthem… I can’t get over that right here we have big shots and have nots’ standing shoulder to shoulder, (MORE) CONT’D)
singing like god-damned choir boys.
Perhaps I understand what you’re getting at Ed. I’ve had similar sentiments… These are unusual circumstances to say the least. One must consider, almost daily the same crowd crosses paths. In most cases they’re ignorant about one another. The prosperous move up.. unfortunates are going down…
Imagine what some of them pugs looked like thirty years ago? Erase the wrinkles and put teeth back inside their mouths. Think of it, they were all like Craig here, well-scrubbed, a shining face, a picture of promise… What happened?… What went wrong?
Ed, in the direction of executives engaged in lively conversation.
And what did you see in those faces Ed?
I see smug mugs… Confident faces that sing proudly. The American dream has become a reality for them. .. And after the game they’ll return to their swank downtown co-ops or comfy suburban homes. The ball players will do the same, as will most of the fans right here in this stadium… Where will the bums go?
Yes it’s unbelievable when you come to think of it. Take the Phillies for example. They were once perennial cellar dwellers considered as bums by the baseball world. These days things are different. They’re on top of the world… Why?… They have an entire region of the country behind them… The mayor and his city council see to it that the Phillies play in a marvelous stadium. Sponsors, such as myself spend millions of dollars advertising… willing to support the home town’s team… Seeing the contrast here one can’t help but wonder.
I’ve asked myself the same questions… How would these fellows have turned out under different circumstance, if they had the support of the entire community? Why would a city spend millions of dollars backing a dumb baseball team when just blocks away they permit hundreds to aimlessly wonder the streets, eat from garbage cans, and let them sleep in the gutter? And then there’s people like yourself and Doran Louse, with mammoth sums of money who create projects… projects that up-root the poor, move helpless people out, without the benefit of a second thought. . . Why these deluxe boxes must be used every night by high to do’s. You realize this sort of entertainment goes on while many suffer just a few miles away. It’s mind boggling!
Perhaps all this has struck a nerve. Maybe there’s another agenda… maybe a calling for you Ed. You might want to take the time to consider those alternatives. Men such as you are uncommon.
Ed is tapped on the shoulder by an usher.
Mr. Wisnewski? Telephone. It’s Mrs. Wisnewski.
Uh-oh! Time to face the music.
INT. INSIDE DELUXE BOX — CONTINUOUS
INTERCUT PHONE CONVERSATION:
(over the phone)
Ed!… Are you OK?
Well, to tell you the truth, June, it’s been a hell of a day, but I’m holding my own. Guess I’m in a lot of hot water huh?
Hot water!… Well right now you’re just about the hottest thing since cable TV. I want you to know Ed the kids and I have never been more proud of you. I just can’t believe you!… You’re a big celebrity Ed. You’re on every channel across the Delaware Valley. They’re talking about you on the TV and radio, and to top it off, there’s a giant block party starting right now, right here on Williamson Court!
You mean everyone isn’t real sore with me?
Well I’ll have to admit. At first people started to become a little upset, especially when you and Craig, and the bus didn’t show up. The Weirnik’s and I became concerned. Lots of people were showing up to go to the game. There was plenty of grumbling at first but once the news broke, about what you did, the whole place went wild. Outside they’ve toasted your name at least a dozen times. The game’s on and the neighbors have put their TVs on the lawns and people are showing up from all over the place, just to see where you live. It’s incredible Ed. You’re famous. Did you really say that brother stuff?… You should hear, they’re playing it up big.
Yeah… I guess so… To tell you the truth June, I don’t know what the hell I said.
They’re both silent for a second then June babbles on. Ed stays silent. He just clutches the phone, listening to June now and then mumbling, “no kidding.”
Mr. Schmidt even sent a limousine so we could come down to the stadium but with all these people… and all the goings on… it’s better that we stay put but Mercedes is on her way. Have you seen her yet? She should be there any moment.
Tell Mr. Schmidt we said ‘thanks anyway’ OK.
EXT.ED’S HOUSE — NIGHT
Lights have been strung up. Hundreds of people are celebrating.
EXT. WISNEWSKI LAWN — CONTINUOUS
We see hundreds of people all over the lawns, kids run free, people watch the game together. Cody, Buddy and some of the other guys man a makeshift bar.
INTERCUT TELEPHONE CONVERSATION
Cody, Buddy and some of your crew are acting as bartenders. Get this! A beer truck dropped off fifty cases of Schmidt’s about a half hour ago!
Get this Butch Krupnik got pinched by the township police. He was stopped for speeding on his way here. He was drinking and gave the cop a hard time… one thing led to another. Next thing you know he’s locked up for DUI…. They found a bag of dope in the car, but here’s the best part. He was stopped in a school zone, so that makes it a more serious offense.
INT. DELUXE BOX — CONTINUOUS
Ed hears all the commotion in the background. June puts on Robby, on the line to congratulate him.
Tears well in his eyes. (CONTINUED)
(he chokes out)
Put your mother back on… June I promise to come home right after the game.
No one will be wanting to leave until the guest of honor makes an appearance. The house is so crowded that I have to use the Weirniks phone…. How’s Craig doing? He looked so cute on TV.
He’s fine. He’s some kid.
Ed, I want you to go back to the game and enjoy yourself, you deserve it. We’ll be here waiting for you when you get back, darling. I love you Ed!
Thanks June, I love you, too.
We hear the receiver click dead. Ed stands there feeling really high as if this is the happiest moment of his life.
He turns. Mercedes stands there like the prodigal daughter. She springs to her father’s arms.
Daddy! I’ve been a fool. you’re the most sensitive man alive. More so than I ever could imagine. I’m not cut out for that cotillion crowd anyway. I just want to stay your girl. And if I ever have another boyfriend…the first thing he has to be is a Phillies fan
(holding back his own tears)
Now you’re talking sweetheart.
EXT. THE PLAYING FIELD — CONTINUOUS
By the ninth inning the deluxe box section has turned into a gigantic love in. The Phillies put a whooping on the Mets.
Upon leaving Ed, Mercedes and Craig are hugged from one end of the room to the other.
Both Ed and Craig have lipstick smeared on their cheeks.
Ed I’m going to see the men are taken to a shelter for the night. They’ll be safe an can sleep it off. Tomorrow we’ll start working on what we can do for them I promise. Theye’ll be free to make their own choices. I’m providing a city squad car to transport you folks home. I understand there’s a gang waiting up there for you. We might join you later if you don’t mind.
EXT. VETERANS STADIUM — CONTINUOUS
Ed, Mercedes and Craig surround themselves with well wishers.
Ed and Criag affectionately say goodbye to the men on the bus, the driver, and to George Greaves, who by then had his Phillies cap on backwards.
Smiling faces looked out from the bus windows and hands waved until they were gone from sight.
Ed’s ‘off the wall’ action doesn’t go not noticed.
INT. CITY HALL — DAYS LATER
The mayor addresses city council.
There’s public outcry brought on by Ed Wisnewski’s gesture. I’m instigating a new official city policy. We’re joining the Wisnewski band wagon and rejuvenating shelters and centers for the needy….
INT. SCHMIDT’S BREWING COMPANY HQ- DAYS LATER
The private sector led by Schmidt’s Brewery and the Louse Company, began training programs so that unskilled street people could learn trades.
INT. PHILLIES HEADQUARTERS
We see a new office being opened and gold leaf letters being painted on the door. OFFICE OF EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY — ALL BROTHERS WELCOMED.
Their example was soon to be copied by the rest of Major League Baseball teams and a nationwide program snowballed into more help for the needy. The Phillies presented Ed with a perpetual pair of season box seats. He’d make-up to all those who hadn’t accompanied him on the deluxe box excursion. I’d get my share.
I’ve got his pair in my pocket, right now. Robby and I promised Ed while at his bedside that we’d go. We said that we’d cheer loud in his absence. We’ll be there.
EXT. OCTOBER 1993 A CHURCH STEEPLE — MID MORNING
Atop a church’s steeple a crucifix shines… reflecting the mid-morning sun…. bells toll a slow cadence over a beat-up inner-city neighborhood.
A well-dressed crowd, mostly in black exits the parish church. Such a contrast is rare for the section of the city primarily inhabited by working class.
Outside the church uniformed cops and secret servicemen hold back the common folk.
At the same time gawkers elbow each other for position for that once in a life time chance to get a glimpse of the President of the United States.
Much of the attention is focused on a flag-draped casket while it’s gently fitted into the hearse by an honor guard. (CONTINUED)
From somewhere in the crowd a transistor radio blares.
The President’s in Philadelphia; to throw out the first pitch of tonight’s opening game of the 1993 World Series; between our hometown Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Important looking people surround a small family offering their condolences.
Ordinary people in the crowd rubber neck as other luminaries pay their respects.
The governor, the mayor and pinnacles from all walks of life have turned the drab neighborhood into a cornucopia of who’s who.
The slow moving funeral procession begins to pull away from the church’s curb heading towards the cemetery.
EXT. ED’S OLD NEIGHBORHOOD — MID MORNING
All kinds of folks start to line the streets for a glimpse of the passing hearse. School kids, in their parochial school uniforms with nuns seeing over them sport Phillies baseball caps. Hand made placards appear, poignant messages to the Wisnewski’s and scrolled affectionate goodbyes to Ed.
Ed would have gotten a real kick out of this tribute. He would have never dreamt of such a send off… but yet it’s happening. We hate losing him, but at the same time we’re lucky to have had him in the first place.
EXT. STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA — CONTINUOUS
As the motorcade heads to the cemetery along the route the crowd grows larger. The scene is repeated at each intersection.
EXT. STREETS AWAY –CONTINUOUS
A ground swell of reaction is taking place. Over the radio they’re reporting the goings on and like wildfire the news spreads faster than the motorcade, There’s an outpouring of emotion taking place all along the route. They are coming out of their homes and businesses looking for the motorcade.
It’s not just World Series fever but a chance to give Ed a resounding send off. Not just at intersections anymore but people are lining up on both sides of the route.
Truckers stop unloading… construction ceases… moms with baby coaches.
EXT. FURTHER ALONG THE ROUTE — CONTINUOUS
Kids in Phillies caps, some wearing full baseball uniforms… others clutch anything baseball related, they’re waving bats, holding up balls and gloves, some even wear catchers masks.
What could have been a mournful funeral procession turns out more like a Thanksgiving Day parade. At first there was a revered silence, but Philadelphians are too vocal, too emotional and a polite ripple of applause gives way to a thundering wave of emotion. Yells, cheers and whistles ring out for a passing Ed.
EXT. ENTRANCE TO CEMETARY — CONTINUOUS
At the entrance to Holy Seplicure Cemetery… a larger crowd waits.
Police hold back the crowd… The motorcade passes the gates.
EXT.INSIDE CEMETERY — MID MORNING
Wheeled on a caisson and escorted by various VIP’s along with a huge horde of common people, Ed’s casket moves to the grave site. His family and close friends surround the casket. June’s a litle older, Robby and Mercedes are there with there mates and children. A more grown up, handsome, Craig stands with the family. Everybody’s wearing Phillies baseball caps. It was one of Ed’s last requests.
A priest in a Phillies cap too ends his blessing and mourners drop flowers onto the casket and make their way out of the cemetery.
Take Me Out To The Ball Game rings out sang by thousands (O.S.)
PRINTED DIALOGUE (MOS)
After the immediate media blitz, Ed Wisnewski’s life took another turn. He quit construction… He was appointed to municipal commissions to assist the homeless. He trail blazed and initiated sweeping programs…. He stumped for the rights of the needy. He became both a confident of the powerful… yet he always made time to be with unfortunates… Still, he rarely missed a Phillies game til the end… The libel lawsuit brought on by the Keanen’s was thrown out of court, after Ed’s attorney provided a infinite line of both prominent and odd-looking character witnesses, who across the board said, they would have been more than honored being called an ‘ole drunk;’ them testifying they would have considered it a compliment, something affectionately constructive and certainly not insulting, especially from someone the likes of Ed Wisnewski… At the end of that year Ed received the coveted ‘William Penn Award.’ A laureate presented to a citizen by the city Philadelphia to one who exemplifies the true spirit of William Penn, to one who fully understands the true meaning of ‘Brotherly Love.’
The singing stops. There’s tumultuous cheer