Predictably, Elliot bends to become part of the team, and the manager—played magnificently by Ken Takakura—learns to have fun. Yet their transformations ring true, and so does much of the movie. Thanks to technical advisers Leon Lee and Doug DeCinces, both of whom played in the U.S. and in Japan, the baseball is extremely realistic. Umpires do widen the strike zone on foreign batters, and opposing foreign players really do let one another know that a pickoff is coming.
Over the years the engaging Selleck appeared in so many major league batting cages that he became known as Magnum, B.P. But practice made perfect because in Mr. Baseball he not only swings like the real deal but also carries himself like a big leaguer. He deserves some sort of baseball Oscar—call it the Oscar Gamble.