Angels in the Outfield
(1994)

POOPER:
The California Angels beat the Chicago White Sox to become the Western Division Champions without the help of the angels (because – as Al explained to Roger – championships must be won without their help). The team’s owner, Hank Murphy, fires Ranch Wilder soon after due to having heard him make some snide remarks about the team during the closing moments of the game. George adopts both Roger and J.P.

LONG VERSION:
Roger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is called in for a family court hearing on the same day that the California Angels are playing an important game for a shot at the Western Division pennant, and he ends up missing the game. The angels don’t show up to help the team, and they lose, and Roger sadly learns that his father has (with much shame) permanently relinquished custody of him to the state.

After the game, Ranch Wilder (Jay O. Sanders) overhears a sobbing J.P. (Milton Davis, Jr.) talking to George (Danny Glover) about the absence of the angels. When George goes into his office, Wilder talks to J.P. privately, and J.P. spills the beans about the angels to him, as well as how Roger can see them and how George has been winning through his advice. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to ruin George’s career, Wilder goes to the press with this story. The team’s owner, Hank Murphy (Ben Johnson), sees the story in the newspaper and summons George to his home. He tells George that he considers him to be crazy, and issues him an ultimatum: Either publicly renounce his belief that there are angels in the ballpark at a press conference tomorrow, or be relieved as manager. Roger and J.P. also see the story, and Roger decides to finally tell Maggie (Barbara Fricker) about how he can see angels.

At the press conference, George starts to read a statement that Murphy had prepared for him, but when Roger, J.P., and Maggie show up, he forgoes reading it and tells the press that whatever is happening out there on the ball field, be it because of angels or whatever else, he knows that it has changed him and his team for the better. Maggie then stands up to defend George, pointing out to Murphy how some athletes pray to God as they play, and that she finds it ridiculous how he is seemingly saying that it is okay to believe in God, but not angels, since they were both on the same team. She lastly tells him that everyone needs someone to watch out for them, and that he must have faith. The team then stands up in support of George, saying that they won’t play for anyone else but him. Swayed by everything, Murphy declares that George will remain on as manager, and expresses his hope that there are indeed angels out there and that they are on their side. 

In the championship game against the Chicago White Sox, the Angels perform well throughout it despite not one angel making an appearance. During the seventh inning, Al (Christopher Lloyd) shows up before Roger, and he lets Roger know that the angels will not be helping out the team tonight because championships must be won without their help. The reason he was here was to check on Mel (Tony Danza); he will be dying in six months from smoking-induced lung cancer and would become an angel after death. Before he disappears, Al tells Roger to concentrate on his own life now and that he and the other angels are expecting great things from him.

In the ninth inning, the Angels are ahead by one, but the White Sox have the bases loaded with two outs, and with two strikes on their current batter, Kit Kesey (Carney Lansford). Mel is clearly drained from having pitched all through the game, and George, thinking that Mel is all used up and will not be able to strike out Kesey, tells Roger that he has to take him out of the game. Roger implores him to let Mel stay in, saying that all Mel has to do is believe. Inspired by Roger’s words, George whispers something in his ear and then goes out to talk to Mel.

After Mel tells him that he has nothing left, George lies to him by saying that an angel is with him right now. Roger then comes out of the dugout and starts flapping his arms like an angel’s wings (which George tells Mel is the signal of an angel present), and soon after, J.P., the team, and the entire crowd starts flapping along with him. Now with an extra boost of confidence, Mel stays in and throws one more pitch. Kesey hits the ball, but Mel catches it, winning the pennant for the Angels. As the team celebrates, George happily confesses to Mel that he did what he did all by himself, and also, Murphy goes over to the commentator booth and fires Wilder, since he heard him make some snide remarks about the team during the closing moments of the game.

George, Roger, and J.P. head back to Maggie’s house, and Maggie tells Roger that his social worker called to let him know that she has found him a permanent home. George then reveals that he is now his new foster dad, and that he has adopted J.P. as well. As the three of them hug, J.P. sees Al outside, who salutes him and then flies off into the sky.

Thanks Tornado Dragon!