The Hill (2023) Movie Script

[peaceful music playing]
[ball players clamoring]
[bat clatters]
[engine starts]
["China Grove" by
the Doobie Brothers
playing on radio]
When the sun comes up
On a sleepy little town
Down around San Antone
And the folks are risin'
For another day
'Round about their homes
The people of the town
Are strange
And they're proud
Of where they came
Well, you're talkin' 'bout
The China Grove
Whoa-oh-oh, whoa-oh
China Grove
Well, the preacher
And the teacher
Lord, they're a caution
They are the talk
Of the town
When the gossip
gets to flyin'
And they ain't lyin'
When the sun
Goes fallin' down
They say that
The father's insane
And dear Mrs. Perkin's
A game
-[music stops]
-[engine stops]
[birds cawing]
[bell tolling]
[soft, poignant music playing]
You're cheatin'.
Girls don't know spit
about baseball.
Crippled as you are, you can't
make no full body rotation.
[scoffs] If you ain't cheatin',
then how did you--
I just can.
-That's a homer.
Boy, I know what
a homer looks like.
It don't count unless
you're battin' in the majors.
Majors? Boy, you're never gonna
play one inning in the majors.
Never say never.
You really believe?
-Cross your heart
and hope to die?
-That's a heathen vow.
Still think I'm cheatin'?
I think you're crazy.
But you are my boyfriend.
See you later, alligator.
[Connie] Don't even think
of gettin' sweet on her!
She's Earl Shantz's.
Man drinks like a steer
on a tank at noon,
and is mean enough to steal the
pennies off a dead man's eyes.
[James] Connie?
Come here.
We don't speak ill
of our neighbors.
I'm just looking out for Rickey.
Well, Rickey's got to learn
to look out for himself.
He's playing the game of love.
And that's run by women
and lost by men. [chuckles]
So I want you both to interpret
Ephesians 4:25 tonight.
You know that?
"Speak truth, each one of you,
with his neighbor,
for we are members
of one another."
That's real good.
You go on and get in the car.
Come on. Connie,
you can help me lock up, okay?
[Connie] How does he do that?
Honey, Rickey's got a gift.
[organ music playing]
So I'll cherish
The old rugged cross
Till my trophies
At last, I lay down
I will cling to
The old rugged cross
And exchange it one day
For a crown
[music stops]
"Give me a man that
we may fight together."
-[all] Amen.
-Those are the words of
the giant Philistine, Goliath,
taunting the armies of Israel,
and no one would come out
and fight him, no one but David.
And how did David smite Goliath?
-A stone!
-Amen, brother Hill.
A stone!
A stone, it says right here
in verse 41st Samuel.
And so David stopped by a brook
and chose him
five smooth stones.
Well, why didn't David
gather the largest stone,
or the most jagged stone?
David knew jagged rocks
got a will of their own!
Things can veer off and
shimmy all over creation.
-He made a savvy bet!
-Savvy indeed.
But maybe we ought to
let some other members
of the congregation
voice their response.
So, I say this:
what shapes a stone?
God's water shapes a stone.
And we, as Christians,
as children of God,
we are being constantly shaped.
And after we're baptized,
we are sent out into the world
as His messengers,
and we fly straight and true
-to the very snout of Satan,
so that we...
-[can rattles]
...can fight our own Goliath,
You know, I myself
have been afraid to say this,
but I'm just gonna say it.
Sister Babbit.
Brother Shantz...
You uplift me with your presence
here today. You do.
May I kindly ask you
to refrain from smoking
and from chewing and dipping
during Sunday services?
I work six days on a live well,
ready to burst into
fire and brimstone any time.
Now, if you knew a thing
about wildcattin',
you'd appreciate that I get
exactly zero smoke breaks.
But can't you see
how you and Sister Babbit
are defiling
His glorious sanctuary
with your spit
and with your ashes
all over His floor?
It's a weakness born of man.
[Earl] Oh, I see the weakness.
High and mighty man
collects $50 a month
to preach to some decent,
hardscrabble folk
he's never even stepped off
the pulpit to get to know.
We hardly got
a pleasure in life.
I expect the Almighty can see
His way around our frailties.
I am your pastor.
So it is my place--
in fact, it's my duty--
to preserve the sanctity
of God's house.
[Earl] Ain't about to allow
some holier-than-thou preacher
to toss me a few crumbs
over a damn smoke!
And I am not gonna
let the Lord's house
look and smell
like Satan's saloon!
Mrs. Babbit.
Wouldn't they ask you to
pour oil on troubled waters?
-Do you wanna clean tobacco
juice off the church floor?
-I'm gonna... close up.
-We missin' it?
-Not if we get there
in three minutes.
Let's go! [grunts]
You're his wife. You should
talk some sense to him.
I'm tryin', Mama.
Where are them three off to?
[James] Oh...
they're just being children.
[indistinct chatter]
Seems unfair. We paid admission
for peace and quiet.
They're the preacher's kids.
Ain't got a nickel
to rub together.
[TV announcer] Meanwhile,
Richardson scores.
One strike on Mantle.
And there it goes,
-over the right field fence.
-[thudding on glass]
Gonna feel so charitable
when they bust your window?
-That's gonna be you one day.
-[chuckles] Thanks.
[Robert] Come on!
Doc says you get
those braces off next year.
They were supposed to
take them off last year.
Bring it on. I'll knock it out
just like Mantle.
Greetings out there in TV land!
We're back at the 50-yard line.
-The what?
-Well, I hate baseball.
Nobody takes it easy on you
in the majors.
Put some fire on it.
Koufax warms his arm here
at the Yankee Stadium.
Tie game, bottom of the ninth.
At bat, Rickey Hill.
Koufax hurls a surprise slider.
Hill swings,
swats a long fly ball!
Might be... could be... it is!
Hill's third moon shot tonight.
[faint crowd cheering]
The faster it comes in,
the faster it goes out.
[dramatic music rising]
[crowd cheering]
-[glass shatters]
-[cheering stops]
Oh, my gosh! What did you do?
Let's go!
Let's get out of here!
-What are you doing?
-What Daddy taught.
Whatever you done,
take responsibility for it.
[Ray] You hit this rock?
Sorry, Mister.
I'll get a job to pay for it.
Now, hold up. You tellin' me...
that you hit this rock
over them trees
and into my windshield
with that lousy stick?
That's a couple hundred feet,
And you done it
wearing them things?
Imagine that.
You know what a prodigy is?
-No, sir.
-Well, look it up.
When you get
them legs healed up,
I'm gonna be the first guy
at the gate to buy a ticket.
-But I owe you.
-Forget the windshield.
I got two yards across the state
full of more old windshields
than I can ever pawn off
in a lifetime.
But miracles...
them I'm a little shy on.
I want you to do it again.
Show me.
Now, go on.
[lighthearted music playing]
Well, I'll be.
[James] We receive your bounty,
to better fortify our bodies and
minds so that we may serve you.
We pray in the name
of your son, Jesus.
-[all] Amen.
It's a mite hard to muster
when He provideth so little.
Y'all see Daddy peg down
that old crow Spit-And-Chew
this morning?
[Gram] Along with some
ticked-off church folk,
grousin' how your daddy has
a bent for bitin' the hand
that barely feeds his family.
Fifty dollars a month.
Your children are starving.
You know, sometimes,
Lilian, doing God's work
takes the sacrifice
of the Apostles.
None of the Apostles
had bad bones.
That's enough.
Do you hear me? Enough.
You can shut me down.
How you gonna quiet the voice
in your head,
saying that you starved
that boy down to nothing
and put him in a wheelchair?
Most devout man I know.
Your eyes are so busy
studying heaven,
you don't see the misery you're
putting your family through!
I am not going to apologize
for my devotion to God.
Mama, stop.
[James] You see that woman?
That's your daughter.
She's got faith. You never
hear one complaint out of her.
She's got faith. You...
It's all I got.
And it sustains me.
But I live here on Earth.
And your son needs doctorin',
and that takes money.
You can see he's already
outgrown them braces.
He ain't gonna get no better
without new ones.
New ones?
the doctor believes that...
Can I be excused?
Yes, son.
You satisfied, Lilian?
Here, son. Have my cornbread.
"...very great."
You know what?
I got a little
something for you.
-[Rickey] How'd you get these?
-[Robert] Saved up.
Three months.
-Mickey Mantle!
-[door opens]
What's going on in here?
You're supposed to be
reading your Bible verses.
What you hidin'?
Hand me your Bible.
Hand me your Bible, Robert.
Baseball cards.
I don't approve of this.
This sells the worship
of false idols.
No. They-- they sell gum.
You think I'm kidding?
-Hmm? Is that what you think?
-N-No, sir.
Robert, are these yours?
Yes-- yes, sir.
Robert, you are
your younger brother's keeper.
And you are responsible
for what you put in his mind.
You hear me?
I know. It's just that...
-Rickey loves baseball, and I--
-[James] He's not
gonna play baseball.
Rickey, now, I've seen you
out there behind the church,
swinging that stick.
And you'd be out there
all day long if you could,
even when you're suffering pain.
But you can't play baseball.
You can't even run.
And if you try,
you're gonna get ridiculed,
you're gonna get made fun of,
and you're gonna wind up
with an injury that
you'll never get over.
-My legs?
-No, son.
I'm talking about your spirit.
Now, listen. You're special.
You got the heart of a lion.
But you got the soul
of a tender lamb.
And I wanna protect that.
If you're not playing baseball,
you got your time all freed up
to pursue a higher calling,
preaching God's word.
Where your earthly legs
have failed you,
God's gonna give you
wings to fly.
You understand me,
don't you, son?
That's my boy.
Love you.
Read your verses. I'm listening.
[melancholy music playing]
"Those that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength."
"They shall run
and not be weary."
-[dramatic music rising]
-[crowd cheering]
What's going on here, Earl?
Seems like the flock
and the shepherd have...
hit an impasse.
Is that right?
Some of us are
sure gonna miss you.
-But we just got here.
-And we just kicked you out!
Now, be quick.
We need that house back.
[James sighs]
Well, don't you worry.
We don't stay
where we're not wanted.
We'll be gone by morning.
[door slams]
-You ought to be ashamed.
Oh, shi-- Shoot.
-My husband is a fine man.
He's good, righteous,
and given his life and
happiness to serve the Lord.
He placed you all
above his own children.
How do you repay
such selfless devotion?
You run him out
of his own church
and put his kids on the street.
'Cause your pastor
asked you to behave
like the God-fearing people
he believed you were?
"Decent, hardscrabble folk."
You do not deserve James Hill.
[Mrs. Babbit spits]
-Helen, I--
-We're gonna be fine.
I wish you were staying.
I wish we weren't going.
Am I ever gonna see
my only-ever boyfriend again?
I don't know.
I'll miss you.
Later, gator.
[introspective music playing]
[James] Is that Earl?
[Robert] He's drunk, Daddy.
[James] He's gonna
kill somebody.
-[engine stops]
You're drunk.
You shouldn't be driving.
And you shouldn't be
acting like you still
got weight in this town.
Don't let
the screen door hit ya!
I can't let you drive.
[Helen] Rickey!
Fine. Have it your way.
He's just trying
to save your neck!
My neck? My neck?
[James] Hey!
Don't you touch my boy.
You stay away from my kid.
Daddy's a badass.
Get in the car.
[Helen] What were you doing?
[James] Come on, Earl. Stand up.
-You think you're
better than me?
I'm sure you'd kick my butt if
you weren't so drunk. Watch it.
You think you're better than me
'cause you can read that book.
[grunts] Just get in the house.
Earl, get in the house.
[dog barking]
My fault.
What were y'all
quarreling about?
He's dangerous when
he gets like this.
And he's like this
more and more.
Thank you, Pastor.
Just save it for Sheriff Dalton.
I imagine he's gonna be
making a visit here shortly.
Hey, Pastor.
You gave it your best,
the only way you know.
Won't a soul appreciate that
till you're gone.
[James] Thank you.
God bless you.
[emotional music playing]
[engine starts]
["In the Sweet By and By" by
Jayne Carter playing on radio]
To prepare us
A dwelling place there
In the sweet by and by
We shall meet on
That beautiful shore
In the sweet...
["How Great Thou Art" by
Luther Lewis playing on radio]
Then sings my soul
[engine sputtering]
My savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art
[engine clanks]
How great Thou art
-[engine rattles, stops]
-[music stops]
[cattle lowing]
[cowbells jangling]
Jesus. Jesus, help me, Jesus.
I'm at the end of my rope.
Please help me.
[exhales shakily]
With you,
all things are possible, Lord.
give me a sign.
Please give me a sign.
-[air hisses]
-God dang! God-- God!
-[metal thudding]
God! God!
[James panting]
You okay, Daddy?
I'm just tired, son.
-[James sighs]
We're out of gas.
All right, well,
someone's gonna come along.
Let's just--
Meanwhile, let's, you know,
get the spare put on.
We ain't got no spare.
I patched it up yesterday.
I traded it for gas last night.
And you done right.
That's how hardscrabble folk
get by, minute to minute.
Makin' tough calls
in a mean world.
Doin' their damnedest.
Times come,
it don't matter how well
you mean or how hard you try.
It don't work.
And that's no man's fault.
Well, it can't get
much worse than this, huh?
[thunder rumbles]
[Robert sighs]
[chuckling] We gotta be
the unluckiest family
in all of Texas.
Probably Oklahoma, too.
[thunder rumbling]
Well, look at this.
Only the Master Painter could
paint a picture such as this.
Let's get in the car.
[thunder booms]
-[Robert] Come on, Rickey!
-[James chuckling]
[rain pattering]
Y'all need a ride?
Well, come on!
[pleasant music playing]
I never seen one in color.
Back up. You'll go blind.
Fine ice cream, Miss Flora.
-Pleased you're
enjoying it, sir.
If she knew you--
If you knew Rickey,
you wouldn't call him "sir."
Oh, I expect I know him.
If you say so.
[Helen] Mrs. Linda,
you sure have a beautiful home.
It's brought us a lot of joy.
I need to get you more to eat.
Oh. No, no.
If I had another bite,
I think I'd bust a gut.
-[Linda chuckles]
-Thank you.
I don't know how we'll ever
thank you for your help.
We sure needed it.
[Josh] Well, now,
there-- there might be a way.
But this j-- I don't know.
This job, it's just
probably beneath
a man of your education
and experience.
Oh, no. No.
No, you'd be surprised.
My brother Dennis
over Bowie City way
tells me First Baptist
been looking for a new pastor
goin' on a year now.
But, uh, no takers.
-Well, that's a crying shame.
-Well, you ain't
seen Bowie City.
[chuckles] "One-horse town"
is overselling it.
It ain't got a window
to throw it out of.
But they're good people.
There's a rectory.
A mite modest. I suppose
it ain't for you, but--
-We'll take it.
-Yes, we will.
-[James] Brother Josh...
it was not by accident
that you found us on the road.
When the good Lord shuts
a door, he opens a window.
-But don't y'all wanna
hear more about this--
-Only amen. Can I get an amen?
-[all] Amen!
-[rocket engines roaring]
-[TV announcer]
Roger, and lift-off.
And the clock is operating.
Sigma Seven...
[Robert] Lift-off!
Th-- those kids.
They get really excited.
[peaceful music playing]
-[Robert] Where?
-[Rickey] There!
[Robert] Mission Control
reports that the craft
has left Earth's atmosphere,
as we get closer and closer.
As man again sails the heavens.
I see it!
Big as day!
Let's head inside.
You comin', Daddy?
Oh, you go ahead, son.
I'm gonna visit a spell
with the heaven I know.
[Dennis] Howdy, Pastor.
How you doin'?
Welcome to home, sweet home.
Try "dump, sweet dump."
-James Hill.
Nice to meet you.
Brother's told me all about you.
Yeah, your brother
was real nice to us.
-Dennis, right?
-That's right.
Appealing to the eye she ain't,
but come monsoons,
tornadoes, and flash floods,
she'll leave you high and dry.
I'm already feelin' just that.
-What's that?
-Used to be a mortuary.
Wait till you see the church.
You're gonna love the church.
Where's the church?
The church is just
on down the road here.
Y'all wanna go see the church
first or go inside?
I guess we're gonna
see the church first.
-They're gonna love the church.
Here she is!
Now y'all see what I was sayin'?
Plenty of room.
It's got... possibilities.
[Rickey] I love it in here!
I can run in here!
Boy's got a heck
of a lot of energy.
and a mind to confound Solomon.
When do I start?
["Little Bitty Pretty Things"
by Jimmy Cove & The Rovers
Tell you a story
It happened long time ago
About the little bitty
Pretty things
We found along that road
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh
Little bitty pretty things
That we get to see
I wonder what
The day'll bring
Come walk along with me
[kids exclaiming]
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
-[Jason cries out]
-Man up, J-bird.
We're just gettin' started.
You need two more?
-[Jason] Him and who else?
-I'll hit off him.
With all that crap on your legs?
My dad is a pastor, and he calls
them "corrective restraints."
Don't get all Bible camp on me.
I ain't playin' with
no-- no robot boy.
-Put the non-gimp in left.
-He don't play, I don't play.
Oh, yeah. Like you're
first-round draft material.
-Who do I brush back next?
-[boys laughing]
[Robert] Come on.
Hey, flamethrower.
I hit off you, we both play.
[Jason] And it's gotta
clear the infield.
Nobody's ever pitched to you
with the heat he brings.
Whiff in front of
these townies, and...
they'll never let you
forget it, much less play.
I ain't gonna whiff.
Hey, robo boy.
Where do we bury you?
The cemetery or the junkyard?
[boys laughing]
Three swings.
Hey, whatever. You ain't
even gonna see the ball.
Y'all best stay in the outfield.
Boy, you got no idea.
It's Rickey Hill.
Rickey Hill.
You got a lot of guts,
but not so many smarts.
Guys with legs that work
can't hit him.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
You ready, robot boy?
Little late on that one.
Robot boy! Gonna keep whiffin',
or are you quittin'?
-Start hittin'.
-[boys laughing]
Oh-ho-ho! Oh, robot boy's
gonna start hittin'.
All right, jelly legs, come on.
[boys laughing]
Hey, RB!
Quit while you're behind.
-All right, enough!
-Come on,
before you get really hurt.
-Three strikes.
-So he can kill you?
I stay down here, I'm dead.
[stirring music playing]
Better bring a quicker bat.
What are you doing?
Look at robot boy.
Full... body... rotation!
[Quinn snickers]
Folks gotta do
what they gotta do.
[Robert] How do you know
you can do it, Rickey?
[Rickey breathing heavily]
I just know it.
All right, fun's over.
Time to say night-night
and bye-bye to robot boy.
[braces creaking]
[music swells]
-[Robert] You done it!
-[boy] Wow!
[boys gasping, muttering]
-You hit!
-That don't count!
Screw you guys. I ain't playin'
with no-- no cripple kid.
-We made a deal.
-[Quinn] I made no such thing.
[Rickey] Liar!
I seen you nod your head!
Nobody calls me a liar,
robot boy.
Aw, you think you can stomp me?
-He already did.
-[Jason] Hey, stop it!
Coach says one more fight
and you're done!
Damn you!
You white trash no-'counts.
Not worth it anyway.
Come on.
There ain't no game for us here.
But I hit off of him.
That's what counts.
Goodbye, Rickey Hill.
[clears throat] Okay.
Anybody else wanna say grace?
Is there some kind of revelation
that I'm not aware of?
Oh, my God.
[soft, stirring music playing]
-Is there pain?
-Not a lick.
Well, sir,
it seems one of my braces--
the left one, I think--
well, it broke first, so--
So you had to take the other one
off to walk, right?
-Right? [chuckling]
Thank you, Lord.
Well, show me. Just...
Okay, everybody up.
We're going for ice cream.
-And we're gonna walk.
-James, we can't afford it.
You just keep that
ice cream man busy,
and I'm gonna steal us a gallon.
-Oh, no, you won't.
-Oh, yes, I will!
I'm feelin' adventurous.
[Helen laughing]
He's not gonna steal a thing.
[Coach Don]
It ain't curin' polio, boys.
All it takes to be on my team
is, A, attend practice
every day, 4:00 to 6:00.
B, be prepared to
work your hind ends off.
And C, cut the crap
and swing the bat,
'cause I ain't your mama.
Now, if I catch any one of
y'all half-assing out there,
I'll boot your whole ass
off my field.
Now, if you ain't turned
one of these in yet,
I need your folks' John Hancock
on one of these
permission slips.
Come on. Bring it back to me
3:00 p.m. Tuesday, signed.
All right?
Oh, now, son.
It mayn't be your doin',
but you're already half-assin'.
Or making sacrifices.
Well spoke.
I'll give you through tryouts.
Hey! But you better
bring me some magic.
Think Mom will sign this
without telling Daddy?
Even if she did, he'd find out.
How's my little lion?
What's on your mind? You got
something behind your back.
Why don't you calm your mind?
Let's hear Psalm 23.
-"The Lord is my shepherd--"
-More conviction.
"I shall not want."
I know what you're gonna say.
But I'm better.
you might be better,
but you are not healed.
Your bones...
they're green.
They're like twigs.
Daddy, all I wanna do is play.
You will not play.
Now, you might think that
your affliction is an injustice,
but God has a plan for you.
It's a sign.
It's a sign of something greater
that you are supposed to become.
[footsteps receding]
What is important?
Many things are important.
But what is vital?
One practice: doing God's work.
I want you to seek out
every opportunity that you have
to serve Him.
And the next time that
you even consider sinning,
I want you to ask yourself
this question:
how will God judge me?
The Holy Spirit sees all,
knows all,
punishes every misdeed.
So let us ask God
for a sin-free week.
This place is worse
than the last.
See that man smoking?
Why didn't Daddy
put a stop to that?
To grow his flock, your father
must endure a few black sheep.
-Have a great day.
-You too.
This came for you.
-Must be from Gracie!
-No way.
Yeah, he pocketed it so quick,
I thought his hand was on fire.
Nah. Just his heart.
I'm gonna go... stretch my legs.
Daddy finds out you've been
swatting that baseball
on the Sabbath...
I'm just gonna watch.
Come on.
["You Belong To Me" by Sidro
and the Sneakers playing]
You belong to me
Why can't you see
One Blast-Off Burger,
one order of fries,
and one Coke.
Cost: 75 cents,
and that's what I got.
[waitress chuckles]
One Blast-Off Burger,
one order of fries,
and one Coke?
That ain't nearly enough
to feed all three of you kids.
[Rickey] We just
need the one order.
I tried to tell him,
but he just came in here
like a crazy man.
Well... he counted too quick.
We're just a quarter short,
Well, I ain't so hot at numbers.
I'll come back
when I get the rest.
Wait. It just so happens...
I have a quarter.
-[James] Okay,
I've got 'em closed.
-[Robert] Keep 'em closed.
I will, I will. I've never
been more in the dark.
[softly] Here,
bring him this way.
Well, I guess I'm going to
sit down, is that right?
We all know turkey's
your favorite, but...
but we wanted to get
something special instead.
Can I open my eyes?
Why, it's my second favorite.
And a more thoughtful gift, I--
I can't remember.
You take care of us
all year, so, uh...
today we wanna take care of you.
The most beautiful gift
I have ever been blessed with
is not this delicious burger.
It's the joy of sharing it
with all of you.
You're my beautiful family.
We ain't hungry.
All us girls are.
Well, I'm starvin'.
[crickets chirping]
[Gracie] "Me and my mama are
heading to Oklahoma City
to live with my grandfolks.
Hey, has anyone in
your new town figured out
how you're cheatin'
at batting yet?
Heh. Truly,
I hope you're still swingin'
no matter how your legs are.
Knowing you, I bet you
a Buffalo nickel
you're still dreamin'
of the majors.
I've run clean out of dreams.
I guess it's up to you to make
one come true for both of us.
If anyone can, it's you.
PS: you're still my boyfriend!"
Since when ain't you tryin' out?
Since my daddy refused to sign.
Check out Coach Don.
He look like he's up all night
verifying signatures?
Hold up. You're sayin'...
Fake Daddy's signature?
Yep. Seems like the real sin
is stopping you from playin'.
Jason's right.
I don't know a soul who's
owed this shot more than you.
Give it to me.
Hope the good Lord
sees it that way.
[knocking on door]
Oh. Evening, ma'am.
Uh, Don Fisher,
youth baseball coach.
Oh. I'm sorry, our boys
aren't allowed to play.
Uh, better iron that out
with your husband, ma'am.
He-- he signed
Rickey's permission slip.
-Oh, um, come in.
-[Coach Don] Oh, uh... ah!
-[crinkling papers]
-Who, by the way,
is knocking the tar out
of anything we throw at him.
What is this?
I didn't sign nothin'.
That's not my handwriting.
That's forgery.
[Coach Don] Well...
you know boys.
Anyhoo, he-- he is
one heck of a hitter.
The only way I can figure
how your boy can
possibly hit the ball
as far and as hard as he can...
the Lord give him a gift.
Well, he's not gonna be playing.
-You ain't gonna let him play?
Look, I've pastored 13 years
up in the Panhandle,
and I know good and well
what a miracle looks like.
And Rickey is one.
So my counsel to you, Pastor,
is figure out why
you're so hellbent on
crushing the boy's soul
and squandering his blessing.
God bless you. Amen, good night.
I done it.
[Robert] He's covering for me.
I-- I said for him to play,
and doctored the slip.
He was just trying to help me
do the one thing I love.
The one thing you love?
That's the truth.
It ain't about me
swinging a stick to hit a stone.
When I swing that bat,
I ain't crippled no more.
I am David taking down Goliath.
Everybody can see how much
this means to me but you, Daddy.
-Don't you backtalk me, boy.
-Don't you dare
run that child down!
Give him his say.
He's earned it.
You stay out of this.
This ain't none of
your business.
My business is the family
that you've turned into sheep.
Helen and the kids,
they love you so much,
they let you just suck
all the joy out of their lives.
I'm too old and mean
to stand by another minute
while you make
your misery theirs.
"To seek out the one true
calling God has placed us
on Earth to answer
is no less than our duty to
fulfill it with pure devotion,
no less than
our divine destiny."
Yeah, see right there?
Even a blind man could tell
you're born to be a preacher.
You said those words.
That's your sermon.
Are those words the truth?
You think baseball is your duty?
Ever since I can remember.
So much you'd lie about it?
See that? That's a lie.
I'm gonna give you a choice.
God's will...
or your will.
-[Robert sobs]
[James] lied.
You deceived.
You misguided your brother.
Now, we got rules in this house.
And you know there's
consequences to those rules.
[sobs] Yes, sir.
Get out back.
And I mean now.
Daddy, it should be me!
You deceived me.
I can't tell you how that hurts.
And you know I love you.
This is about saving your soul.
You ain't gonna save me.
You can beat me all night.
It ain't gonna change Rickey.
Rickey's confused.
He's lost.
He ain't the one who's lost.
What's he doin'?
Growing up.
You turn around.
[morose music playing]
Go inside.
-I said go inside.
Just leave me be. Go inside.
[train whistle blows]
It ain't fair.
I can't go this entire summer
without playing baseball.
Well, till you can find
a way to preach and play
at the same time...
you're benched.
[James] Son.
You know you're not
supposed to interrupt me
when I'm writing my sermon.
Yes, sir.
I came here to ask you
what to do when I need to
tell you something.
All right.
Say your piece.
Last night,
you gave me a choice.
And I've been thinking
real hard on it.
You're right. God is number one.
He has, is, and always will be.
And like you've preached
so many times,
God don't make mistakes.
I feel His perfection guiding me
when I swing that bat.
I bear witness to His power
when the ball sails over
the backfield fence.
I'm not following your logic.
'Cause I ain't done.
I choose both.
You choose God and baseball?
Only answer.
In His perfection,
He handed me two gifts:
preaching with fire, and playing
by the power of His hand.
"Each blessing to His glory.
I can do all things through
Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13.
What is that?
Thank you for
all you taught me, Daddy.
[dramatic music playing]
[crowd cheering]
Now batting for the Buffaloes,
center fielder,
number 17, Rickey Hill!
-[crowd cheering]
-And gone!
-Ladies and gentlemen,
the 1973 season opener ends
with another
game-winning home run
from Buffaloes senior
Rickey Hill!
-That's our brother!
-Oh, man, you're flyin'!
-There you go, Rickey!
-[Connie cheers]
-[Robert] Come on!
[Ray] You set him up so good.
Laid off the slider
the whole game...
I almost got caught
with my foot in the bucket.
[Ray laughs] Oh, man.
All right, I'm gonna git.
Um, see you Monday
after practice.
-All right. We got some
work to do on that old car.
-I'll be there.
-Well, have fun tonight.
-All right. Night.
-Good to see you, buddy.
Four for four. Again.
Officially battin' above 400.
[Gracie] Sure he ain't cheatin'?
Girls don't know spit
about baseball.
No, I see it.
Finally got full body rotation.
Found your power.
Did you miss me?
Now, I only want the truth.
[tender music playing]
-Last I heard, you--
-Well, I came back.
To see an old friend.
Still know how to charm a girl.
I been tracking your career.
We've gotta go... fix something.
Fix somethin'!
Oh! Yeah, we-- Okay. We can go.
You sure showed me.
-I talk big.
-[Gracie] You believe big.
Me? I couldn't see past
getting out of that house.
How long you gonna be in town?
I don't know.
A few days.
Baby, is it always this hot?
-I need a drink.
Ned, this is my friend, Rickey.
The Rickey? The Rickey Hill,
the batting phenom? [chuckles]
You know what?
I actually owe you a thank-you.
For what, exactly?
I backed him.
Fifty bucks, running 5:1.
You paid out like a Vegas slot,
my friend. [chuckles]
[Gracie] Well,
when he's not being crude,
Ned's a sports writer.
Eastern Chronicle. I edit him.
Thought you two should meet.
Your mom invited us to supper.
Well, he'd just hit four homers
in this one game.
You a good, clean sports writer,
are ya?
Oh. Uh, well,
I'd like to think so.
Punchy. Not windy,
in the way that
McCormack blowhard goes on.
You know him?
I am that McCormack... blowhard.
-[Gram] Well, then,
you have something more to chew
on than gamblin' and drinkin'.
[forced chuckle]
Is that that little seedlin'
that got planted so long ago?
Gracie, you done bloomed
into a beautiful rose, girl.
Come here and hug my neck.
Oh, oh!
Are you gonna come
celebrate Sunday services
with us tomorrow?
-I'd love to.
-It would make me so happy.
Well, hon, I mean,
slugger's got his game tomorrow.
Ned McCormack, by the way.
So nice to meet you.
Thanks for having us over.
I love everything you've done
with the... everything.
Don't tell me you people
don't play on Sundays.
Well, his father failed
to lead him to a higher path.
[laughing] Higher path.
I'm sorry,
I don't mean any disrespect,
but, I mean,
certainly you can see,
whenever he plays,
he's a-- he's a phenom.
I've never seen him play.
You never seen him play?
Well... uh,
I'm gonna get washed up.
Be right back.
Good to see you, Gracie.
I'll be there.
[peaceful music playing]
[Gracie] Great game today.
Did your... guy leave?
Ned is not my guy.
I realized that at dinner
last night and broke it off.
He took it like a gentleman,
then fired me.
[surprised laugh] Oh! Well...
you're smart.
I bet something finds you.
If that optimism
comes in bottles,
I'll take a whole case.
You wanna know what a dork I am?
It's not apparent.
-[Rickey chuckles]
-Fill me in.
Every stinkin' letter you wrote
since you were nine,
-I kept.
-[laughs] Lord!
Did they fill a whole tub?
We're both dorks, then.
You kept mine?
Both of 'em.
I'm not much of a writer.
Was that why you stopped?
Your career was taking off and
I figured you forgot about me.
Not for one day.
[Rickey grunts]
Rickey, that's twice now!
What is going on?
[Rickey] I just...
I get sore from hittin'.
That ain't sore. That's agony.
How long?
My whole life.
-What do your doctors say?
I see a doctor, they're just
gonna tell me to stop.
[Ray] I'm sick of it.
I'm sick and tired
of all these other
high school players
who got scouts out
watchin' 'em, and...
and here you are, the hardest
damn hitter I ever seen,
and nothin'.
And the clock is tickin'.
In four months,
you're graduatin' high school,
and right now is when all
the scouts are snatching up
all the good ones,
and, son,
you're better than good.
Do you wanna play in the majors?
That's all I want.
-But Ray...
-But jack squat.
After all the hell
you been through,
I'm not about to
let you lose hope now.
We're going straight to the top.
I'm not talkin' about
just anybody.
-I'm callin' Mike Toliver.
-Who's Mike Toliver?
Mike Toliver's one of the
best scouts in the business.
And I'm gonna get him to come to
one of your high school games.
[crowd cheering]
-Hey. Good to see you.
-Good to see you.
-Who's he talking to?
-It's one of them scouts.
-That wasn't bad at all.
-[Ray] Good.
-Gonna be worth it. I'm looking
forward to seeing Rickey.
He's something else.
Thank you, Mr. Toliver.
Robot boy.
Looks like we're gonna
finally finish what we started.
Don't worry. I'll make it quick.
Wouldn't wanna see you suffer
in front of all of these folks.
[announcer] Well,
there they are, folks,
the Bowie City Buffaloes.
This should be some
regional matchup tonight,
as Bowie faces county rivals,
the Wildcats.
[crowd applauds, cheers]
I got it!
[inspirational music playing]
Scouting report said that kid's
bat speed's off the chart.
Didn't say nothin'
about that arm.
Strike three! Batter's out!
[announcer] Now batting
cleanup for the Buffaloes...
You reckon they'll pitch to him? hitting machine...
-Well, it's on the line,
tying run on second. Would you?
...Rickey Hill!
Nowhere to hide now, robot boy.
[tense music playing]
I'm not walkin' him again.
Ends right here, tonight.
[umpire] Strike!
[fan] Come on, Rickey!
-Come on! Whoo!
[fan] That looked so good!
[team cheering]
The faster it comes in,
the faster it goes out.
[Rickey] I got it!
[groans] Ow!
-[crowd murmuring]
-[Rickey groans]
-Don't move.
[grunts] I-- I can finish.
I stepped on somethin'.
Sprinkler head.
Fracture's bad...
but the least of my worries.
These ligament bands,
they hold the joint together,
but, Rickey...
they're torn to bits.
They can't connect your ankle
to your calf bone.
And these two peroneal tendons?
They're not torn.
They're completely severed.
All right, well,
how long before I can play?
[doctor scoffs] Son...
it'll be a miracle if
you ever walk again.
I'd like to attempt
to save the ankle.
the only guarantee I can offer,
multiple surgeries
broken up with long,
excruciating recoveries.
Well, how much?
$7,000, probably more.
And then there's
the other condition.
Other condition?
Advanced degenerative
spinal disease.
Rickey, your bones are
rapidly depleting protein,
causing your spine
to age prematurely.
How prematurely?
Your son has the spine
of a 60-year-old man,
and there's nothing
I can do to reverse that.
[Rickey sighs]
[somber music playing]
[crutch clatters]
Let me get that for you.
My heart breaks for you, Rickey.
Even as my faith sustains me.
Next you're gonna tell me
it was God's will.
Shred my ankle,
twist up my spine.
Why, Dad? What, he wants me
to suffer my whole life,
same as it started,
a pitiful cripple?
Don't you talk
about yourself that way.
I won't hear it, you hear me?
You're being tested, son.
You're being tested,
sorely tested,
and you got to
hang on to your faith,
because that's all
we got in this world.
Now, baseball,
it had to end eventually.
And if I'm gonna get bad news,
I'd rather get it
sooner than later,
so having it taken away from you
while you're still young...
now, maybe that's a good thing.
It-- it gives you time
to figure out what you're gonna
do with the rest of your life.
First time you ever talk to me
like a real old man...
is to say "forget the only thing
you ever cared for"?
[James] No.
-[Rickey scoffs]
-[James stammers]
No, that's not
what I'm sayin', Rickey.
When you were ten, you said
you were going to majors
and you had no idea how.
You did everything you could,
and the rest you took on faith.
Yeah, and look where it got me.
Same crap, different day.
we're gonna raise that money.
All $7,000 of it.
It might as well be ten million.
Maybe Ned will kick in,
write a story.
Yeah, "How I helped the gimp
and won the girl."
Gotta admit, it makes sense.
Boys don't know spit about love.
Why'd you come back here?
Something got torn out of me
when I was just a little girl.
It left a hole in my soul.
No matter what I tried
or-- or who I met,
it never healed.
A few months back,
I was on my last nerve.
I truly was lost.
What saved ya?
I remembered my first boyfriend.
Wouldn't it be something
if he ended up being your last?
Now, if that's a proposal,
you're gonna have to do a whole
lot better than that. [laughs]
-What, that wasn't good?
-[laughs] No.
But I'll take it. Go on.
[gentle music playing]
[man] Hey, how's
Operation Rickey Hill going?
Nine weeks,
we're up about $2,000.
Well, I'll tell you what.
I got a brand-new 50 here
that says that you'll
hit the entire jackpot
right on up to tryouts.
So you just keep swingin',
We're all countin' on ya.
Thank you, sir.
[softly] We're never
gonna make it in time.
[country music playing on radio]
Ladies. Miss Helen.
Rickey. You seen this?
Top of the sports page.
"A co-op of four baseball teams
will be holding
major league tryouts
at Rockwood Park Field
in Brenham.
The scouting staffs will
evaluate qualified players
over a two-day period."
That's two months away.
It'll be tough,
but you can recover.
-Recover from what?
-The sooner we get you in there,
we can get--
-Ray, Ray, we-- we tried.
It's over,
and we didn't raise the money.
Money, money, money.
The root of all evil.
Well, not always.
-What are you doin'?
-[Ray] Seems obvious enough.
-[Rickey] Ray, I can't take it.
-Who's giving it?
This is a loan
against future earnings.
-At the scrapyard?
-[Ray] The scrapyard?
On what I pay you?
Son, you'd die broke
at that scrapyard.
how much are y'all short?
better I don't know the amount.
[James] Ray.
-My son is not gonna be
trying out for
professional baseball.
No, he is gonna try out.
The boy's been trying out
for professional baseball
since he was nine years old
and busted a hole in
my windshield over there.
I don't need you comin'
around here, filling him
full of false hope...
and puttin' him into debt.
Pastor... I'm beggin' you.
Give that boy
one solitary chance
to show the right people
what he was born to do.
You're gonna paralyze him.
That's what you're gonna do.
Now, he's my son, not yours.
I know him better than you do.
And you heard him.
We don't need your money.
Now, I think it's about time
you stopped meddling
in this family's affairs
and get in your truck
and get on down the road.
-That tears it!
Bring that check yonder.
[poignant music playing]
"Pay the sum of..." Gracie?
You're a good man, Raymond.
Even if you're
a bit of a heathen.
[mouthing] Thank you.
I believe you are an angel.
That's sweet,
but that's the morphine talkin'.
The truth's the truth.
What about me?
You're still my angel, Mama.
Mmm? Just as good-lookin'
as this sweet girl?
-You could be twins.
-[Helen chuckles] Oh.
How come you look worried?
I mean,
even more worried than usual.
The damage was worse
than we expected.
We're still hopeful
for a full recovery,
but it's gonna take some time.
Tryouts are in seven weeks.
Not for you.
I'm sorry.
[door closes]
[solemn music playing]
[gentle music playing]
[bucket clatters]
Hey, mister?
For a guy who can hardly walk,
you sure can hit.
-You like baseball?
-[boy] Love it.
Keep at it.
You might have a chance.
Hey, what is your rush?
I wanna take you someplace nice.
Talk about the future.
if we're gonna talk about us,
we should probably be us.
Come on.
[mellow pop ballad
playing over speakers]
It's so cold tonight.
We'll be eating better
when I start earning
some serious money.
Not on a rookie's salary.
it's all stacked against me.
Too risky.
You're quittin'?
Stuck in a chair,
a bed for life?
-I wouldn't be any good to you.
-Don't you make this about me.
I'm scared.
I grew up in shackles.
I don't chance going back.
I was raised by a man
who gave up.
He lost hope.
And I saw what that did to him.
Now, if you don't try,
you're gonna die inside.
And that's the one thing
I won't stick around to watch.
Now, I want my dreamer back.
I need him.
I'm gonna take my chances.
I can't.
[melancholy music playing]
[Robert] Come on.
Come on, get in!
What's got you so spooked?
Come on. [sniffling]
[weakly] That my slugger?
-You're gon-- You're gonna
come through this, Gram. You--
-[Gram] Hush.
You know doctors and
their doom and their gloom.
Shush, shush, shush, shush.
I'm going on to His glory.
[softly] Lookin' for these?
When I was a girl...
all I wanted
was to breed horses.
And one summer--
I expect I was no more than 17--
I got a job at a ranch.
Oh, glory, if I didn't love
every blessed minute there.
And late that spring,
it was about a month
before I was set to return,
I met this handsome...
young dude.
[family chuckles tearfully]
And, uh... out of the deal, I--
I got y'all.
it's an ache in your bones
that don't ever stop.
You're a good man.
But tonight I'm gonna
ask you to be a great one.
Give your son his dream.
[Gram breathing heavily]
I never doubted ya.
All right, then. Next week...
when you step up
at them tryouts,
sling that stone.
Bring down Goliath.
Just know... I'll be watching.
And these three things remain.
Faith, hope, love.
And the greatest
of these is love.
And she gave of herself
and her love in such abundance
and reserved for us a blessing,
to speak the unvarnished truth,
whether we wanted
to hear it or not.
I will miss her.
May her fierce spirit
guard the foals of spring.
What's that quote from?
A man's heart.
[emotional music playing]
[inspiring music playing]
What do you want first?
Bad news, or the worst?
Will you stop
sugarcoating things?
Tryout next week will be
teeming with pro scouts.
Exactly how is that a bad thing?
'cause one of 'em's Red Murff.
The Nolan Ryan Red?
That Red.
The toughest scout in the game.
Now, I told you
you're gonna get your chance
to show 'em your stuff.
You ready?
-As I can be.
-Well, hell, I'd have
taken a little more, like,
-emphatic "Hell yeah," but...
[Ray] Now, you just remember
one thing, though.
All old Red's gotta do
is see you hit.
[tranquil music playing]
Nice. That was bad on my part.
You all right?
[Rickey] Tomorrow, I--
I face one of
my greatest trials.
I will prevail not for myself,
nor to defy my earthly father,
who, through your grace,
I've come to love
and understand more.
I know I've been selfish...
that his beliefs and works at
your service come before mine.
I will try to find some
other way to deserve his love
and make him proud.
But tomorrow, Lord,
be at my side.
I cannot do this alone.
[stirring music playing]
-[whistle blows]
-[Red] 200 top baseball talents.
That's how many of you qualified
to stand here this morning.
By the end of the longest,
toughest day of baseball
any of you have endured,
only a handful of you
will remain.
You'll be divided
into two teams.
Tomorrow night,
you'll go head-to-head
in the big boy park.
And make no mistake.
You're not just playing to win.
You're playing
to join the elite.
I ain't here wasting my time
with guys who play baseball.
We're lookin' for
baseball players.
Hopes, dreams,
determination don't matter.
This comes down to one thing:
who's best.
We'll be sending you off
in groups to various fields
where these men will be making
the calls as to who moves up
and who goes home.
Your only goal:
convince them
to send you to the stadium.
That stadium
is the winner's circle,
where you will face the last man
to decide your fate...
Last up...
one rule:
no talking to the scouts
unless they talk to you.
Let your play
show 'em what you got.
And if they say you're done...
you're done.
All right, ladies.
Get your assignments.
Let's head to the field.
[Rickey] Jason!
They tried to tell me
Rickey Hill was finished.
I said, "Nah. Hill's got himself
another mountain to climb.
He's too hard-headed to quit
and too dumb to listen."
[scout] Pitchers and catchers!
To the stadium with Red now.
Let's go!
That's me. Good luck.
-[whistle blows]
You didn't bring Quinn with you?
After you went yard on him,
all the air got leaked
out of that balloon.
[whistle blows]
[scout] Run! Run hard!
Run hard! Harder!
[whistle blows]
-How's he doing?
-He's hurtin'.
But he is-- he's hittin'
the best I've ever seen.
Hey, Hill.
Don't seem to be making
much of a difference.
No, Coach, you ain't cuttin' me.
I'm still doing
my second round of hitting.
I'm not wasting our time.
You can-- you can swing,
you just can't run.
I don't think they're
giving him a contract to sign.
They can't cut him yet.
Red hasn't seen him hit.
All right,
if you give me my last at-bat
and I don't
moon-shot every pitch,
-I'll cut myself.
-I'm not negotiating with you!
But I'll tell you what,
if that's what it takes
for you to leave,
then grab your bat.
Yes, sir.
[scattered applause]
[intense music playing]
Hey. Watch where
you're throwin', son.
All right. Then four catchers...
-[scout] Incomin'!
-Watch out.
What's he doin'?
Breakin' windshields.
Can someone tell me
what the hell's going on?
Question is, is that boy hittin'
from home plate or second base?
No, that's over 400 foot.
Every bit of it.
How about we stop
whoever's bombing us
and check the boy's bat?
Want me to shut him down, Red?
Do it now
before he kills someone.
-Yes, sir.
[whistle blows]
[contemplative music playing]
[bat clatters]
[car door slams]
-[engine revs]
How many homers was that?
I don't know.
I lost count after 16.
[birds chirping]
[sentimental music playing]
-That's a homer.
I know what a homer looks like.
It don't count unless
you're batting in the majors.
Red. It's him.
-Mr. Murff? I'm--
-Rickey Hill.
Never forget a name.
Sir, I'm one of the best hitters
you're ever gonna see.
If I hadn't seem them bombs you
been droppin' with my own eyes,
I'd be calling all hat
and no cattle on that claim.
[Rickey] Well,
it ain't no claim.
you should've seen me hit.
Because I got a bum ankle
that's gonna heal...
they wouldn't bring me up.
For good reason.
You don't belong here.
A bad leg could cost
a team wins and money.
-Pro ball ain't just a game.
It's a damn business.
Come back next year
when you heal up.
I can't wait until next year.
Boy's got him some cojones.
-Know what, that's enough--
-[Red] No, no. No, let him be.
I gotta admit, I'm curious.
Tell you what. We're gonna
settle this fair and square.
-Put you up against the best
pitching talent in the game.
Tomorrow night?
That game's gonna be as close to
a pro game as you'll ever get.
I'm gonna let you
DH for both teams.
Then we can get
a nice, long look at you.
I won't embarrass you.
You got my word.
I'm gonna give you
this shot here.
But you don't perform,
it's the end of the road.
Get you a new dream.
-[telephone rings]
Does that sound
a little old-fashioned to you?
-[Robert] Hello?
It's another reporter!
Not a mistake.
Rickey's gonna be designated
hitter for both teams.
Sure. Yeah, the whole
family's gonna be there.
[Connie groans] It's so frizzy!
-It's the best I ever seen it.
-[Connie] Oh--
-[boys laughing]
-[telephone rings]
[Robert] Hello? Oh, well...
[Rickey] Sorry, Mama.
-[James sighs]
-[utensil clangs]
Half your congregation
isn't gonna be there.
[sighs] Wherever two or more
are gathered.
Now, may I have my eggs?
Down here in front of me.
May I have my eggs?
[plate shattering]
[door opens, slams]
What on Earth
has gotten into you?
[tearful] I need-- I need Mama.
She understood.
[sobs] She said you didn't
do a thing wrong.
Your boy, he's not a freak.
He's special.
He's... perfect.
When he was born,
I saw him first.
His legs so thin and frail,
they said, "He will never walk,"
and he ran.
They said, "He will never live
through the operations,"
and he survived!
They said he would
never be good enough,
and he is the best.
How many miracles do you need?
-[James stammers]
-Stop it.
[James sighs]
[indistinct announcement
over loudspeaker]
[hopeful music playing]
However you're cheatin',
you've gotten so good,
I can't even catch it.
-Wanna know my secret?
I ain't doin' it.
Well, then who is?
I guess you'd have to be
living in the cave of Lazarus
not to know why there's
so few of us here tonight.
My son Rickey,
he's got a baseball game.
Very important.
And if he does well...
he will have the opportunity
to become a Major League player.
To play professionally
is his heart's desire.
I've always known that he's had
an exceptional ability
to hit a baseball.
So you might find it curious
to know that I have
never seen Rickey play.
That is a fact
that I have, uh...
been proud of
the whole time that he's played.
Right up until this very night.
[player chatter]
[crowd cheering]
[music swells]
Ladies and gentlemen,
welcome to an exhibition game
showcasing the best-ever
in the great state of Texas.
Go get 'em!
Lord knows you've earned it.
Proud of you, Rickey.
[ball smacks glove]
Let me get this straight.
-I hear they got you hitting
for both sides tonight?
That's some heavy liftin'.
You know,
the boys and I were talkin'.
And if you was to manage
one more home run
for the blue team...
-[Rickey chuckles] a ice-cold six-pack
of RC Cola
waitin' for you
in the clubhouse.
I'll see what I can do for ya.
All right.
The starting pitcher
for the red team,
four-time college
All-American Jake Wilford.
[crowd cheering]
It's your time, Rickey!
[announcer] Tonight, we are in
for a special treat, folks.
A local high school baseball
star by the name of Rickey Hill.
Now, this kid has
quite a story.
He's battled degenerative
spinal disease
since he was a little boy,
and recently suffered
a real bad setback
where he fractured his ankle,
resulting in surgery.
You know, he's overcome a lot,
and he's on a mission.
Red Murff is gonna give him
a shot of a lifetime
by being the DH on both teams
to prove to him if he can hit
and really get
to the big leagues.
Don't take it easy on him, Jake.
He calls himself a hitter.
[suspenseful music playing]
-[umpire] Play ball!
-Can you imagine what's
going through Hill's mind,
all that he had to do,
just to get to this point
to prove he belongs as a
Digs into the batter's box.
We're about to see if
Hill is ready for the task.
Wilford on the mound, getting
ready to throw the first pitch.
Rocks back
and delivers a fastball.
-[umpire] Strike one!
-Right by Hill.
Looked like he was on his
front foot. Probably anxious,
just seeing that velocity
for the first time.
-[umpire] Strike two!
-Curveball, and a beauty.
Drops off the table.
That had a lot of break on it.
And really quickly,
Hill is 0-2 in the count.
Two strikes on Hill.
Wilford delivers.
-[crowd cheering]
-That's a line drive base hit.
That's gotta feel good for
Good hit, Rickey!
That'll shake the cobwebs off.
-What, his or yours?
[announcer] That's gotta
take a lot of pressure off
of him to start the day.
And a pinch runner
steps in for Hill.
I have been selfish.
I have been arrogant.
I, uh--
Even cruel.
I thought that
I knew God's plan for my son.
And I raised him in obedience
to that plan.
But it wasn't God's plan.
It was my plan.
Rickey had to w--
wear braces on his legs
just to walk.
And no matter how he does
in that game tonight,
he has overcome that
terrible burden that he has
had to carry his whole life.
I've been the one
that's been the cripple.
I just couldn't see past
what I thought my son should be
and just see who he really is
in the eyes of God.
[sniffles, sighs]
I'm supposed to be your pastor,
your spiritual leader.
right now I just feel...
so ignorant.
And shamed.
I can't even ask
your forgiveness.
I guess I gotta
go to God for that.
[announcer] Now batting,
this time for the red team,
designated hitter Rickey Hill.
-[fan cheers] Rickey!
-As he gets in the box,
Red goes out to the mound
to talk to his pitcher.
Take him down. Let's end this.
[tense music playing]
The pitcher gets back
on the rubber, looks back,
and says to himself, I'm sure,
"I never pitched a ball with
a guy standing right behind
Red Murff, a legend in this
game, is planted right
by the pitcher.
Wind-up... and the pitch.
Blazed straight up the middle!
Red had to get out of the way.
Another base hit
in his second at-bat.
I haven't seen Red
move like that in 20 years.
Kind of gives a head of
acknowledgment to,
"Okay, that's two."
[crowd applauding]
[dramatic music swells]
Hill has been ten for ten.
He gets another hit.
Who would've thought that Hill
could've done this after
all that he's been through?
The surgeries, the comeback.
Pretty amazing story,
as he steps in now
for his 11th at-bat.
Red goes to the mound.
Looks like he's gonna
make a change, and he is.
Making a change to the bullpen.
What am I missing?
Playin' his last stink card.
-Oh, ladies and gentlemen, this
is gonna be a treat right here.
This is big-league pitcher
Jimmy Hammer.
Hammer. The all-star.
Makes major leaguers
look like Cinderella.
He's just here for rehab.
Now Red's bringing him in
to ruin Rickey's night.
Well, Rickey can hit anyone.
Go ahead and warm up.
Don't need it.
I'm gonna sit him down.
[announcer] This is a guy
who's used to putting out
the game with heat,
comes in and silences
all the at-bats.
Hill digs in.
You would think 11 for 11
is a very daunting task
against the big right-hander.
As he toes the mound and
gets ready for his first pitch,
here it comes.
-[umpire] Strike one!
-Fastball, right by him.
Little bit of a flinch.
[tense music playing]
-[umpire] Strike two!
-[announcer] Swing and a miss.
Hill looks around in amazement,
as Red knew probably this is
what he needed to see
to make his challenge against
Hill about as big as it gets.
-[crowd gasps]
-[umpire] Foul ball!
[announcer] Foul ball
down the right field line.
He got a piece of that.
Hill processing everything
right now, and Hammer knows
he's got one task,
and that's to strike out Hill
and show him what he's made of.
Hammer delivering
a two-strike pitch.
Here it comes.
-[Rickey grunts]
-Oh, no, high and tight.
Dusted him.
It hit Hill right in
the rib area, and he is down.
In obvious pain.
Here comes Red to the
batter's box to check on him.
Come on, Rickey.
Get up!
What next?
He-- he takes a base, right?
-He goes to first.
-With everything that
Hill has been through,
you just wonder if
this is one of those things
that might not
allow him to continue.
It looks like
he's in a lot of pain.
[Red] You done, kid?
Walk it off. Take your base.
[grunts] No.
[scoffs] What do you mean, no?
Take your damn base.
I don't have to take my base.
It's not a real game.
It's a tryout.
You're ten for ten.
You got nothing left to prove.
He's gonna stay in and hit.
We're watching
an incredible moment, folks.
This is something
that normally doesn't happen.
Hey, what's he doing?
Well, take a base, Rickey!
[determined music playing]
[announcer] Again, ten for ten
and then getting hit.
He wants to stay in the box
and try to go 11 for 11.
-[crowd applauding]
-Imagine everything
going through his mind
as he processes
this whole day of events.
You do that again, you're done.
[crowd cheering]
[umpire] Play ball!
[crowd cheering]
This battle's gonna continue.
Hill could've taken his base,
but he's standing at home
staring the bully in the face.
Hammer on the mound with
an 0-2 pitch ready to be
delivered. Here it comes.
Swung on. Hill smokes
this ball to left center.
This ball is far,
and it is gone over the wall!
Can you believe it?
In the 11th at-bat,
after getting hit,
Hill has hit a home run.
What a moment
this must be for him!
[crowd cheering]
[inspirational music playing]
[music swells]
[music fades]
[soft, heartfelt music playing]
I guess I'll have to
get used to this.
[chuckles softly]
God's not through
working on both of us.
["Rub A Little Dirt On It
(The Hill)"
by Randy Houser playing]
I heard it the first time
I skinned my knee
Daddy said
"Don't be scared to bleed"
Years later
From a baseball coach
Sliding into home
"That's the way it goes"
We didn't win that game
But the lesson learned
You gotta shake off them
Scrapes and burns
When the world
Don't turn your way
Sometimes all you can say
Is rub a little dirt on it
Shake the dust
Right out of your mind
Let a cool breeze work on it

You'll feel the healin'
Comin' on right on time
Crack a six-pack open
Somewhere under an open sky
When life gets
A little hurt on it
Get in the middle of nowhere
And rub a little dirt on it
Nothin' knocks the cobwebs
Off your soul
Like some SpiderWire
On a fishin' hole
It'll take your breath
Takin' in a sunset
From a flat bottom boat
That heavy load
Layin' on your chest
Got your mind
All twisted up in a mess
Well, life scatters
All your stuff sometimes
To clean it up, you gotta
Rub a little dirt on it
Shake the dust
Right out of your mind
Let a cool breeze work on it

You'll feel the healin'
Comin' on right on time
Crack a six-pack open
Somewhere under an open sky
When life gets
A little hurt on it
Get in the middle of nowhere
And rub a little dirt on it
A little dirt on it
Crack a six-pack open
Somewhere under an open sky
When life gets
A little hurt on it
Get in the middle of nowhere
And rub a little dirt on it
Rub a little dirt on it, mmm
I heard it the first time
I skinned my knee
Daddy said
"Don't be scared to bleed"
[peaceful music playing]