NOTE: This is the 35th Spoiler sent in by Brentage5000.
The movie opens with a couple of kids playing catch with a baseball when their mom calls them in. They go inside for lunch and while they're eating, an exterminator, former Seattle Mariners player Morris Buttermaker (Billy Bob Thornton), comes out of the basement. He says that they've got a great extermination and that he has to go, since it's three. He leaves, heads over to a little league ball park, cracks a beer, and watches them play. He is soon approached by Liz Whitewood (Marcia Gay Harden) and her son Toby (Ridge Canipe). Liz thanks him for agreeing to coach the kids baseball team. He agrees, and she notices the beer in his hand, but he reassures that it's non-alcoholic. She smiles and tells Toby to never drink beer, and Buttermaker tells him not to do crack either, or else one day he could wake uup in jail to find some big black man branding his name onto your ass. One awkward silence later, Liz is leaving and Toby and Buttermaker are headed onto the field. When they get there, a guy named Roy Bullock (Greg Kinnear) introduces himself to Buttermaker, saying that he's the coach for the current champion team, the Yankees (shut up, you Boston fans), and it's pretty clear that this guy is a big smarmy asshole.
A little while later, we see Buttermaker on the field at last and meeting his team. In addition to Toby, there's short and fierce Tanner Boyle (Timmy Deters), fat kid Mike Engelberg (Brandon Craggs), Mexican twins Miguel and Jose Agilar (Carlos and Emmanuel Estrada), Armenian immigrant Garo Daragebrigadian (Jeffrey Tedmori), wheelchair-bound Matt Hooper (Troy Gentile), nerdish Prem Lahiri (Aman Johal), Mark McGuire fan and token black kid Ahmad Abdul Rahim (K.C. Harris), and off-in-his-own-world-a-lot kid Timothy Lupus (Tyler Patrick Jones). We quickly see that these guys have hair-trigger tempers, but Buttermaker gets them calmed down quickly enough. That night, he's at a bar when someone mentions to him that he needs to get uniforms for the kids. He finds Liz and complains about this being too much, but she just blows him off and tells him to get a sponsor for the team. He therefore spends the whole of the next day traveling to all his favorite gun-stores, bars, liquor stores, and strip joints looking for sponsorship.
The next day, we see Buttermaker driving his ten misfits around town. He tells them about being in the big leagues and how great it was, even though he was only up for two-thirds of an inning. Later, we see Prem underneath a house that Buttermaker has all the kids exterminating with him. Once they're done, he gives them a surprise -- uniforms which all have the name "Bears" on them, and on the back is their sponsor -- one of the aforementioned strip joints, a fact which is not exactly pleasing to Liz when she finds out. Eventually, opening day comes, but the festivities are interrupted by a leather clad, motorcycle driving bad boy that Roy (who's MCing everything) drives off the field. Nevertheless, the team goes up against the Yankees in the opening game and gets duly slaughtered, with Buttermaker finally calling it once the score is something like 24-0 in the first inning. The team's depressed and angry, and they go home calling Buttermaker names. In fact, we see that Garo is so depressed he's thinking of quitting the team, since he only wanted to play to be like American kids and his dad won't like that he lost. Buttermaker, however, says to just tell his dad that they did win.
Some time later, we see Buttermaker wandering through a store not unlike Hot Topic (think grungy teenager stuff). He sees this one blonde girl working there and starts talking to her, and we find out that it's his daughter from his ex-wife, Amanda (Sammi Kraft). He tells her about the team and asks her to be on it, but she basically tells him to fuck off. He keeps trying, though, and eventually manages to get her to come (he has to help her buy a new car once she turns sixteen...in four years). Buttermaker introduces her to the team. Although her arrival is initially met with skepticism from the boys, she soon shows them up (at one point, while watching her pitch, Garo utters "I think I just hit puberty."). Buttermaker also gets the team to start practicing a little harder, and it pays off -- the next game, they...well, they still don't score, but the other team only gets one point, which makes Tanner remark, "Great! We've gone from suck to stink!"...although Buttermaker merely says that he's right.
Around this time, the team is having a practice with Buttermaker hitting balls to the outfield. He hits one past Lupus (not hard, since he's missed pretty much every ball that comes his way) and over the fence. The kid on the motorcycle, who happened to be hanging out there, picks it up and gets it. He throws it back to Buttermaker, and it's pretty much a dream pitch. The kids tell him that that's Kelly Leak, and they start expounding a bunch of legends about him, most of which make Roy even more eager to have him on the team.
That night, Buttermaker and Amanda go to some skateboard arena to try to persuade Kelly (Jeff Davies) to join. She bets him that if she can pull off some really complicated trick, he has to join the team, but if not, she goes on a date with him (his idea). She doesn't pull it off, but she appears strangely pleased anyway when she goes back out to Buttermaker.
A few days later, the kids have their third game, and they manage to tie it, something Buttermaker compares to kissing a really hot stepsister. Meanwhile, we see Roy and Kelly arguing over Kelly's presence there. After, we see Lupus walking along when two of Roy's players grab him and stuff him in a Port-A-Poddy and start rocking it back and forth. Tanner sees this and starts pounding on the much bigger players, but since he's a shrimp they just pick him up and throw him into a mud puddle on the other side of the fence. They leave and Lupus comes out and thanks Tanner for sticking up for him, though Tanner just blows him off.
The next day, Buttermaker is handing out cups to the kids at practice. Amanda says she doesn't need one when we hear Kelly say, "I'll take it." Next thing you know, we're watching the kids have their virst victory dinner at Hooters. While there, we see Prem asking Tanner to teach him to talk trash, and Tanner surprisingly agreeing. This launches us into a montage of the kids slowly getting better and better, Amanda and Kelly going out on dates, and Buttermaker slowly gaining credibility, especially with Liz, who one night goes out to dinner with him. She gives him a basket of salad dressing, which he pretends to appreciate, and starts coming onto him. Later, we see him sneaking out of her bedroom when suddenly Toby sees him. He asks what Buttermaker is doing there, and Buttermaker makes up some line about making sure his mitt was oiled to provide better grip when he catches the ball.
The next day, we see Amanda trying on a pretty nice dress at that store she works at when Tanner suddenly starts yelling at her from behind. He's soon joined by the other boys, including Kelly, who definitely has no complaints about how Amanda looks. They tell her to come have lunch with them before practice and leave...except for kelly, who keeps staring at her. The next day, we see the Bears winning the semifinal thanks in part to Kelly catching any ball that even came close to him...and thus depriving Lupus of any nearby balls. Regardless, they win, which means that they'll be going up against the Yankees again in the next game. After the game, we see Buttermaker and Amanda in the dugout with Amanda's arm in an ice-filled cooler. She tries to get Buttermaker to open up and be more Dad-like, even bringing up an old memory of him, her, and her mom at Crystal Cove beach, but he just says that he doesn't remember that and she shouldn't be trying to make him into a good father. Confused and hurt, she leaves him alone with his beer.
Finally, the last game of the season rolls around. While the Yankees are on base, they trash talk the basemen, especially Ahmad. For revenge, Ahmad, who is first up, hits a ball right at one of the yankees and starts beating him up, which makes a fight erupt between both teams...and eventually their coaches, once Roy starts trash-talking Buttermaker. The game goes on, and Amanda's arm starts bothering her, but Buttermaker just tells her to shake it off. As if that pain weren't enough, Buttermaker also tells Garo that when he's up at bat, get hit by the ball and take a walk -- something made more painful by the fact that Garo's dad has finally come to see his son play. The Yankees are winning again, even though the Bears have scored some runs, and eventually Buttermaker comes to his senses and calls everyone in. He apologizes for being a dick, changes the batting order, pulls Amanda from the mound and replaces her with Toby, and sends a shocked Hooper into right field by Lupus. He tells the umpire, who shrugs and accepts the change in batting order, and heads back to the dugout where he is greeted by liz, who asks him what the hell he's doing and how he expects to win, since after all, that's what Toby wants. He tells her that she has no idea what Toby wants, since she's too busy to pay attention to him, and while he's not telling her how to raise her son, somebody sure should.
With the new lineup, play resumes at the top of the sixth. As the players move to their positions, Buttermaker laughs and points out Hooper rolling to his position to Amanda, and they laugh together at it. Toby strikes out one player, but the second guy gets a hit, although he's tagged out too. Finally, the last Yankee player up hits a fly ball to right field that heads right for Lupus. It looks like it'll be another miss, but the ball gets caught...by Hooper! As the Yankees go off the field, Hooper's teammates surround him and cheer him, escorting him off the field. The Bears get up, and they manage to get one run behind the Yankees, but at the last minute, right before they can score a winning run, they get the last out and end up losing to the Yankees. At the presentation ceremony of the trophies, Roy trots out some bull about respecting the Bears now and how there are no winners or losers (I don't believe him for a second), but the Bears -- holders of one eighteen-inch tall second-place trophy instead of multiple two feet-tall first place trophies for the players and a three-point-five foot tall one for the coach -- get the last laugh when Prem says, "Hey Yankees -- you can take those first-place trophies and shove them right up your asses!" Tanner grins in approval and the Bears start celebrating, with Amanda finally kissing Kelly (which surprises him a little, but he still likes it); Liz telling Toby that this is what's called a 'moral victory'; and Buttermaker telling Amanda that it was Redondo Beach, not Crystal Cove. She's thrilled that he did remember (even if she remembered wrongly) and he promises to take her to Crystal Cove real soon....as soon as the party is over, which from the look of things, won't be for a good, looong while.
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