Perhaps you’re familiar with the Air Bud series of movies. I was reminded of them today by Bill Hanstock, who is an incredible reviewer of sports movies with comedic flaws, but today professed that he did not intend to cover the Air Bud franchise.
So I wanted to bring something to your attention. The first movie, Air Bud, is an adorable work of cinema wherein a golden retriever, Buddy, participates in his new owners’ middle school basketball game, displays an unforeseen talent and helps win the game. It’s extremely implausible, but if I really, really, really stretch my imagination, I could imagine a strong, athletic dog being able to beat some 12-year-olds in basketball.
The problem is that Air Bud, the movie, was really successful, so they made a follow-up — Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver, which, to be honest, is a great pun — and that spawned a line of straight-to-DVD movies. The fourth of these, “Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch,” Air Bud plays baseball. But he doesn’t just, like, beat some kids in baseball. He goes on to play in the major leagues. And in the World Series. AND HE WINS THE WORLD SERIES. AND HE WINS WORLD SERIES MVP. In four movies, he went from middle school hoops sensation to LITERALLY THE BEST BASEBALL PLAYER IN THE WORLD.
I was dismayed, yet kinda thrilled, to find out somebody had already deconstructed the entire movie: this is a very very very funny post over at Walkoff Walk. But I just want to talk about the immense amount of logical flaws we can find in the last 80-odd seconds of the movie, found handily on YouTube:
So, first off, there’s no explanation of the time between Buddy’s call-up to the majors and the decisive game of the World Series. But, whatever. It’s the decisive game of the World Series! We’re at Edison Field!
Of course, as soon as they cut to the field, it’s very clearly not Edison Field:
In fact, it may very well may just be, like, a little league park in your hometown:
Anyway, we’re at the decisive game of the World Series, which of course is a day game, like all World Series games. “Welcome back to Edison Field here in Anaheim, California, where the Anaheim Angels are just two outs away from winning their first ever World Series!”
Wait, why are we being welcomed back with one out already gone in the last inning? Normally, they don’t just come back from commercials in the middle of an inning. Did we just miss a pitching change? How come the announcer is talking about Air Bud and not the pitching change with two damn outs left in the World Series?
However, we quickly learn that this is not just a regular play-by-play announcer: by his booming echo throughout the stadium, he’s also the PA guy. Don’t you hate how every time you go to a sporting event, you have to listen to play-by-play over the loudspeakers? Oh, wait, that doesn’t happen, because the only people who think that happens are low-budget sports movie makers.
Anyways, we’re told this is one of the best World Series ever because the Angels have been electrified by the play of their first baseman Air Bud. That’s why they’re two outs away from the end of the World Serie–
Wait, the Padres are winning 5-1, and there’s no outs in the inning? Okay.
Anyway, the batter grounds to second — nice pitching change to bring in the sinkerballer, I wish we’d gotten more analysis of that from the PA Guy — and now we get to see what makes Air Bud such a great first baseman Air Bud is and OH NO
OKAY OKAY OKAY OKAY OKAY. Let’s pretend dogs have achieved sentience and learned how to play baseball, which, of course, they haven’t. Even so, in this three-second GIF, we learn that dogs would be absolutely HORRIBLE first basemen. The area in which they can catch a ball is confined to their mouth, which can only range between like, the ground and three feet off the ground. Even short humans are five feet tall and have arms they can stretch out to catch a ball. Air Bud playing first base forces his fielders to be INCREDIBLY accurate with their throws, lest they get saddled with errors. Also, he’d probably die every time somebody threw a damn baseball and he tried to catch it in his mouth, because it would shatter his skull. That’s why people wear batting helmets when people throw baseballs at them. (Refer to that Walkoff Walk link for analysis of Buddy hitting, which, mercifully, we don’t see here.)
Let’s not even discuss the umpire’s form on the “out” call.
This gets the home crowd really riled up, because they just won the World Series! Everybody’s on their feet! Except the extras in the first row:
Also thrilled about it: the Angels’ right fielder, who celebrates the biggest athletic achievement of his life by continuing to stand in right field after the last out:
And to signify the last out of the World Series, the umpire… makes the signal for a home run?
The team celebrates the historic World Series victory with, um, scoreboard fireworks, because you want to save real fireworks for something truly important like, I dunno, beating the Dodgers in May or something.
And Buddy wins World Series MVP!
This concludes Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, a spectacular work of straight-to-DVD film.
It boggles the mind to imagine a dog playing baseball. But one day in the late 90s, a film producer not only imagined a dog transitioning from being above average at middle school basketball to baseball, but imagined that dog being the best player on the best team in baseball. And for that, I’m truly thankful.