By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Then there's Davey Battle (Darius Warren), Darren's longtime friend and MLB rival. They have a locker room blowout over the gay thing that's actually played out in a flashback--more film techniques again.
One of the nicest moments in Take Me Out is a monologue by the team's lone Japanese player, a pitcher named Takeshi Kawabata (Lanny Joon, another of the fine NYC imports), explaining why he fired his translator. Unable to speak or understand English, he can block out extraneous chatter and concentrate solely on his task on the mound. This tiny plot thread about a player choosing to isolate himself from the team (hello, Barry Bonds) holds more dramatic intrigue than the Darren Lemming story.
By act three, the Big Questions have all been asked and asked again. We've heard speech after speech about the beauty and timelessness of Abner Doubleday's great invention. But Greenberg, it turns out, doesn't have anything fresh or definitive to say about any of it, not the intolerance or the homophobia or what it's like to be a star athlete who's out and still lonely because his ego doesn't let him mix with mere mortals like the fey finance guy. It's even hinted at more than once that Darren's not the only gay player on the team, but nothing's made of that. We hardly get to know most of the other players, except to find out that the married ones have three kids because "baseball's a game of threes."
Baseball, wrote former announcer Ernie Harwell, is ballet without music, drama without words. Take Me Out, with its multiple story arcs and endless stream of monologues, has plenty of words, just not enough game.