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The only thing Barto lacks as an actress is ego. She wore no makeup. She was unconcerned about her hair. All the makeup artist did was occasionally smear sun-block over Barto's freckles. The hairdresser, who danced attention on the other stars—patting, combing, brushing, spraying men and women alike—rarely bothered with her. Robyn would run her fingers through her brown bangs and slam on her cap, and she was ready. "She didn't know anything about the movie business at the start," says Michaels, "but she was willing to ask questions and to risk looking foolish."
She does, however, know something about ballplaying. "Some people help you in a positive way, like Jeff does," says Barto. "Others 'help' you in a negative way by challenging you, by saying you can't play ball. I can play ball."
Cilk Cozart played basketball at the University of Tennessee for a year before transferring to King College in Bristol, Tenn., where he majored in English and drama. In the film he plays Wall Street Chandler, the Devils' star pitcher.
"In the movie," says Cozart, "Paula walks into a restaurant where I hang out, and I tell her that some of these other guys may want to treat her like she's one of the boys, but to me she's a freak, and that I've got better things to do than hang out with freaks, and I leave. Wall Street Chandler would do that, but Cilk Cozart wouldn't. If a girl would try out for my team I'd say, 'Hey, let's go, what do you need to work on? Let's see you.' "
Negron, who is stretching things a little when he says he is 6 feet and 165 pounds, says, "I think a girl could make it. You always have one girl or another who's six feet, six feet one. Physical strength is the only consideration. Take me. I'm not as big as the average big league ballplayer, so I know. I could start a season great, but then come July and August, I'm just worn out. I'd start losing weight in August and it would be tough for me to finish out the season."
"I imagine someday it'll happen," says Frank Umont, 62, a retired American League umpire who played the ump in the movie. He has two lines in it, "Safe!" and "Time!", which he delivers in a voice that has the resonance of a foghorn. "I don't see why a girl couldn't play major league baseball," he says. "I think someday, I don't know how soon, you may even see a girl umpire."
"This movie is not all escapist fantasy," says Michaels. "To me it's a representation of everybody's personal desire to have a shot at something, no matter what it is, that one-in-a-million shot at the whole ball game."
Meanwhile, Robyn Barto, outfielder, has already lived one of two 20th-century American fantasies. The first: One day you're walking down the street, minding your own business, and a movie producer comes along and says, "Kid, I'll make you a star. Sign here." Barto can live without the other: A major league scout sees you walking down the street minding your own business and says, "Kid, you got talent. I can tell by the way you walk. Sign here."
"Most likely I'll just go back to school when this is over and play softball," Barto said on the last day of shooting at the stadium. "Our team should be pretty good next year, and what I've learned about baseball will probably make me a better softball player."