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Baseball Player
Season 8 E 25 • 04/12/2008
Stephen lives for the stage. There isn't a show or a song this suburban-vegetarian-Broadway-bound boy doesn't know and love; and while he's stereotyped to the max at school, as being the loud and proud drama queen, Stephen really wants to prove that he's more than just a bitchy attitude who loves the limelight. Stephen wants to be made into a Varsity Baseball Player. But can 5 weeks and a National League MADE coach really be enough to transform this sports-insecure theatre-thespian into a plate-stealing player? No one's on Stephen's side: the base-ballers at school think he should stick to what he knows, his drama teacher's scared for her one-time Snoopy, and his family doesn't even think he'll make it past a practice. Stephen's all secure in his element, the spotlight, when his MADE coach jumps into the scene. For the next five weeks, Jonathan Pollard is Stephen's director. The New England Sox base-baller has led his team to 4 National Championships and a ton of history coaching other players onto the US National team. Stephen's definitely in good hands, but will he be able to mold his hands into a throwing and catching machine? While in front of Jonathan, Stephen makes nice, but off the field, Stephen's true thoughts toward his coach come forward. Calling your coach a "douche bag" may not be the best first steps to forging a great coach-player relationship, Stephen. It can only lead to running laps. Jonathan gets along fantastically with Stephen's sports-obsessed family, but the guy's own protege is still unwelcoming to his coaching. Jonathan hopes that with running some drills, Stephen's drama-streak can be broken -- but day one isn't off to a great start. After a few attempts at fainting and some bumps and bruises, Stephen is in one word: aggravated. Jonathan definitely does not put the "break" in Spring Break. Once back at school, Stephen's hoping to get back on his drama-diet, but his MADE coach has other plans: it's time they hit up the batting cage. Luckily, for Stephen, he's got Nan (the destroyer, err, drama teacher) on his side. She wins the round this time, but Jonathan isn't giving up that easily. Round two: Jonathan versus Stephen's immune system. It's the battle of the century and Stephen's fighting to get home and get out of practice. A note from the school nurse may work wonders at school, but Stephen's on Jonathan's turf and Jonathan's not giving up that easily. Too bad for Jonathan, the four-time National league champion, he's no match for Stephen's fierce dramatic skills. In between bat swings, Stephen throws a fit and flees. The deadline is approaching, but the only person that seems to care whether or not Stephen makes varsity, isn't Stephen at all, but Jonathan. What's going on with this wannabe player? Eventually, Stephen's guilt catches up with him and he phones his coach to apologize. Can they come to terms and move on, or are they destined to continue to fight it out? Jonathan sneaks in on an open-gym practice at Stephen's school; there's a whole lot improvement and natural talent that Jonathan spots, but there are still some things keeping Stephen from succeeding with the team. It's up to Stephen to get the guys on his side and win them over -- there's only one way to do this: paintball. There's nothing like shooting one another with little orbs of condensed paint to bring guys with different priorities together. Despite making progress with the baseball players at school, Stephen still hasn't been able to bond with Dad over his baseball practice. It's a good thing Jonathan has an idea on how to go about doing this; he sets up Stephen with a trip down to sunny Florida to train at the Play Ball Baseball Academy and his coach for the weekend? Good ol' Dad. Down in Florida, Jonathan also manages to set Stephen up with an afternoon of practice on the field with Billy Bean, a one-time major leaguer who has a fantastic resume of pro baseball teams, and who also happens to be openly gay. This is someone Stephen can definitely look up to and talk things over with. After their afternoon, Stephen finally realizes that while there's a lot stacked against him, he deserves success in the game just as much as anyone else. Back home in Boston, Stephen and Jonathan meet for their final practice. Stephen's not only improved how he plays the game, but how he thinks about the game: he's a changed man and more importantly, a changed player. But there are still the tryouts to get through. The ultimate question remains: can Stephen, the drama-star turned athlete, work it all out and knock it out of the park?