This is an article from the July 19, 1971 issue
BOOG POWELL, Baltimore Oriole star, the most feared slugger in baseball
The Baltimore Oriole Chorus
BOOG POWELL, the robot
BEANO BRAMPSON, manager of the Orioles
Howard Cosell of ABC sports
THE SCIENTIST, who is mad
The Bat Boy
MRS. BOOG POWELL, who doesn't understand
1. WHY, BOOG, THAT'S WHO!.....THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE CHORUS
2. WE CAN LOSE THE PENNANT...BEANO BRAMPSON
1. HAS OUR LOVE STRUCK OUT?......MRS. BOOG POWELL
2. THE WHO AM I SONG.............THE SCIENTIST
1. NOBODY LOVES A ROBOT...............THE BOOG POWELL ROBOT
2. DEAR DOCTOR MONSTER-MAKER.........THE SCIENTIST
3. WE'RE ALL ROBOTS....................BEANO BRAMPSON
4. WHY, BOOG, THAT'S WHO! (Reprise)........BOOG POWELL AND CHORUS
(Orchestra swings into the overture and the curtain goes up on a locker-room set. At right, players are showering—actually naked, of course—and at left, seated in front of their lockers, other players are toweling themselves dry, kicking into their slacks, combing their hair, tying ties. Seated on the long bench alone at center is a huge, blond, handsome man. He is still in his Baltimore Oriole uniform, still wearing his first-baseman's glove. His feet are splayed out and he is staring, bemused, into the audience. He nods and smiles absently as teammates stroll by and pat him on the back. He is obviously pleased with the day; he makes no move to get out of his uniform. Hanging against the wall in the background is a "Boog Powell for President" banner.
Two teammates step out of the shower, glistening wet, towels wrapped around their waists. They move to center and stand slightly behind the big man, one to each side. Player on right reaches over and slaps the big man on the back)
FIRST PLAYER—Atta boy, Boog!
SECOND PLAYER—Ycu done it again, Boog! (He turns to the men in the showers) Didn't he do it again, you guys?
SHOWER CHORUS—Great, Boog! Yeah! Way to go!
(Music up. Both players step around front and sing)
FIRST PLAYER—WHEN YOU'VE LOST IT IN THE SUN...
SECOND PLAYER—AND THEY SCORE ANOTHER RUN...
FIRST PLAYER—THAT PUTS THEM IN THE LEAD LIKE THREE TO TWO...
SECOND PLAYER—WHO IS THERE AT THAT PLATE...
FIRST PLAYER—HITTING ABSOLUTELY GREAT? WHY...
CHORUS—BOOG! BOOG POWELL, THAT'S WHO!/WHEN YOU NEED A QUICK SCORE...
FIRST PLAYER—OR MAYBE THREE!
SECOND PLAYER—OR MAYBE FOUR!
CHORUS—WHO BELTS 'EM IN? I ASK YOU: WHO?
BOOG—BOOG DO! (He flushes a bit at this touch of conceit, then shrugs) YES, BOOG! THAT'S WHO!
(Chorus comes out of the showers and swings into the "Beautiful Baltimore Ballet" twirling Oriole towels, pirouetting, filling the stage with wet entrechats. They are all waving the towels, all naked, when Manager Beano Brampson strides in. He is a very small man smoking a big cigar)
(Music stops, suddenly)
BRAMPSON—All right, all right! Knock it off. We ain't won the pennant yet. Stop that dancing. Turn in them towels. Everybody get dressed. Come on! FIRST PLAYER—(Takes of his towel and hands it over, but remains discreetly hidden behind the seated man) But we're flying high, chief. The best early-season record ever and...
SECOND PLAYER—We're practically in, chief. As good as in already!
(Brampson looks sourly at each player in turn as they stand around him. He starts to pace, puffing heavily on his cigar. Finally he turns, facing the audience, hands on hips, and sings)
BRAMPSON—LISSEN! I LOVE THIS HERE GAME,/BUT IT'S SURE A DAMN SHAME/THAT I'M STUCK WITH THIS CONFIDENT LOT.
BRAMPSON—LOT. AND, LISSEN, YOU GUYS,/YOU HAD BETTER GET WISE/FOR A PENNANT CAN JUST SLIP AWAY...
BRAMPSON—NOW, TAKE THE TIGERS OR THE SOX...
CHORUS—AW, WE'LL GIVE THEM SOME KNOCKS!
BRAMPSON—...OR THE YANKS COULD WIN IT;/AND CLEVELAND'S STILL IN IT./WHY, EVEN THOSE TEDDY BOYS/COULD TURN ROUGH AND READY BOYS./SO SHAPE UP. WE CAN STILL LOSE THE GONFALON,/AND THE SERIES WOULD GO ON/WITHOUT US!/WHY, IF WE BLOW JUST A FEW...
CHORUS—WHICH WE NEVER WILL DO
BRAMPSON—WE'D BE OUT OF THAT BIG TV SHOW...
BRAMPSON—SO STOP THIS HERE DANCING; GET DRESSED UP/AND REST UP, FOR/WE GO ON THE ROAD TONIGHT...
BRAMPSON—AND IF YOU CLOWNS SHOULD FAIL ME,/THE OWNERS WILL NAIL ME,/AND (He gestures toward the chorus) ALL YOU SMILING FEY SHINERS/WILL BE BACK IN THE MINORS./NOW NO MORE CLAIR DE LUNE/OR I'LL CALL BOWIE KUHN./GET ON THE BUS THAT'S OUT THERE./BE READY, BUT BEWARE!/AND....
(His voice trails off as he shoos the players to their lockers. They all dress quickly and leave the room. Brampson now turns to Boog, who is still seated on the bench, smiling dreamily. The manager stands beside him, one hand on Powell's shoulder)
BRAMPSON—Good game, champ.
BOOG—Aw, I was just lucky, chief.
BRAMPSON—No. You saved us again, Booger, my boy.
BOOG—(Slamming his fist into his glove) What am I hitting now, chief?
BRAMPSON—(Pulls a slip of paper from his rear pocket and studies it) Well, I reckon after today's homers it's about four-fifty-six.
BOOG—(Impressed) Four-fifty-six! Imagine! (He shakes his head) Anybody ever bat five hundred, chief? Really?
BRAMPSON—(Pats him fondly on the shoulder) Only God can bat five hundred, son. Only God.
BOOG—(Nods and sighs) Well, I guess it's about time to get going.
BRAMPSON—Right, son. Would you like the team to wait while you shower?
BOOG—(Drops his first-baseman's glove and stands up, towering hugely over the manager) No, chief. I think I'll just wear my uniform right on the bus. I really love this uniform.
(Lights fade as they walk off. The manager, in a somewhat self-conscious attempt at a fatherly gesture, reaches up to put one arm around Boog. He finds that he is far too short; he has to settle for one enormous thigh. So they stroll offstage that way)
(Stage is dark for a moment. Then, faintly at the rear, the audience can see shadowy figures emerging through a back door. A spotlight picks them out. A ferret-faced man comes to stage center, looks about nervously, then gestures. Two more men join him. They are laboring under the weight of a gigantic package. All three pause, listening)
FIRST MAN—They've gone. Put it down.
(The men gently lower the package to the floor, standing it upright)
FIRST MAN—All right. Hurry!
(The men tug away the wrappings. And there—standing alone, fully dressed in a Baltimore Oriole uniform—is Boog Powell. The figure does not move; it stares, bemused, at the audience. Gradually the audience becomes aware that this is not Boog Powell at all. It is an effigy, a statue. The first man inspects it carefully, then steps back from the massive figure, nodding approval)
FIRST MAN—Perfect. Just perfect.
SECOND MAN—(Shrugs) Well, it's O.K., if you like that sort of thing. It's sure the biggest damn doll I ever saw.
FIRST MAN—(Shocked) Doll? A doll? You dummy! How many times do I have to tell you? This is no doll. This is a robot! The Boog Powell robot!
SECOND MAN—(Abashed) I'm sorry. I keep forgetting.
FIRST MAN—Well, watch it. Now, go and check on the bus. And hurry.
(Second man tiptoes to the door, looks out. He turns and waves at the other two)
SECOND MAN—Pssst! He's coming back; you guys all set?
(The first man reaches inside the robot's uniform shirt and punches the activator-switch, roughly in the area of the belly button. The robot comes to life and shakes itself, flexing its arms and legs)
FIRST MAN—(To the robot) You all right, Boog?
FIRST MAN—(Stamps his foot in anger) Boog, Boog! Remember, you are Boog Powell, the Baltimore Oriole first baseman. The most feared slugger in baseball! Now, all your information has been carefully programmed into you. Pay attention to me.
ROBOT—(Nodding thoughtfully) Right. Right, master. I am Boog Powell, the most feared slugger in baseball. And I'm all set, master.
SECOND MAN—Pssst! Here he comes.
(The three men jump out of sight behind the lockers as the door opens and Boog Powell walks in. He is looking at the floor, muttering to himself)
BOOG—Hmmm. That's funny. I thought I dropped it....
(The robot stoops and picks up the baseball glove and hands it to Powell. Boog nods his thanks and turns to go. Then he pauses for a long moment, staring out at the audience. Slowly, he pivots on his big feet and looks back at the robot)
BOOG—Wh...uhhh. Who are you?
ROBOT—Hi there, sports fan. I'm Boog Powell of the Orioles. (Holds out one hand) I don't believe I caught your name?
BOOG—Hi there, yourself. My name is...uhhh. Well, my name is...wait a minute! I'm Boog Powell!
ROBOT—Not anymore, sir.
(As he speaks, the men leap out silently behind Powell, one of them swinging a sequined blackjack. He raps Powell on the head and the big man sinks to the floor, still looking puzzled)
FIRST MAN—(To the robot) Go on! Hurry up! Get out there and board the bus. Now, you know what you are programmed to do, right?
ROBOT—(Striding for the door) Right, I know.
(Robot pauses at the door)
ROBOT—Uhh, just one more thing....
FIRST MAN—(Struggling with the unconscious figure; he looks up in irritation) Now what?
ROBOT—What am I hitting?
ROBOT—Hitting. You know: What's my batting average?
FIRST MAN—(Shaking his head) I don't know. Mmmm. Four-fifty-something. Who cares? Now get!
ROBOT—(Shakes his head) Huh. Four-fifty-something. Imagine! Boy, it's a real shame to have to ruin a batting average like that. I'd like to try for five hundred. But I understand only....
(He steps out the door and it hisses shut behind him. As the lights dim, we hear the sound of a bus starting up)
(Spotlight picks up a man seated at a desk in front of the curtain. It is Television Sports Commentator Howard Cosell and he is talking into a microphone)
COSELL—...and that, in brief is the situation. Now for a look at the world of baseball. And, naturally, the world of baseball—especially Baltimore's world of baseball—is talking about the terrible transformation in slugging star Boog Powell. Boog isn't slugging anymore: his average has dropped from four-fifty-six to two-thirteen. Manager Beano Brampson says, and I quote: He don't seem like the same guy, unquote. A state of gloom has fallen on the Oriole squad, that happy crew that once looked certain to seize the coveted gonfalon. Club insiders told this reporter exclusively that Boog has grown sullen and uncommunicative and that....
(Curtain up on a split-stage setting. At left is a laboratory setup: stainless steel counters, bottles, vials, bubbling things. There is a cage in the center of the floor. Boog Powell is inside the cage, his hands gripping the bars. At right is a living room scene: a couch, coffee table, big oil painting of an Oriole on one wall, a Barcalounger. The robot Boog Powell is sprawled on the Barcalounger, tilted back, staring at the ceiling, totally relaxed. The action will now move from one stage setting to the other; lights direct the audience's attention)
(Stage left: the lab door opens and the ferret-faced man enters. Now he is dressed in a scientist's white smock. He routinely checks some of the bubbling containers, nods in satisfaction, then steps over toward the cage. He is careful not to get too close. As he approaches, Boog reaches through the bars in a vain attempt to grab him, but the Scientist dances nimbly out of reach)
BOOG—If I could just lay my hands on you!
SCIENTIST—(Admonishingly) Ahahahah! None of that, my pretty specimen.
BOOG—(Appealing now, hands out) Why are you keeping me here? Why am I a prisoner? What's going on here, anyway? I want out! I must get back to the team. The team needs me!
(Lights out on stage left, up on stage right. The robot Boog Powell continues to lie motionless in the lounger, whistling softly. A pretty woman enters the living room. She is quite obviously nervous, running the palms of her hands along the front of her dress. She pauses uncertainly, watching Boog warily. Then she squares her shoulders and speaks)
WOMAN—Uh, Boog, dear....
BOOG—(Not moving) Hmmm?
WOMAN—Well, I thought...mmm, well, I wondered if...well, it's just that I would like to speak to you about something.
WOMAN—(Blurts it all out bravely) Boog, it's about us.
WOMAN—(Takes a few tentative steps toward him) Well, Boog. Well, it's like this: you've...you've changed. You're not my Boogie of old. (She inches a bit closer: Boog does not move)
WOMAN—(She reaches out one trembling hand and touches his hair. No reaction from the reclining figure, so she moves half a step closer) Well, look. I know you're upset about your slump and all. But golly, Boogie, I....
BOOG—(Turns his head slightly and looks at her) I am not upset about my hitting. In fact, I am hitting what I expected to hit.
WOMAN—(Fondly, not really listening to him) You know, Boog, you used to like it when I ran my fingers through your hair....
(Music up, softly)
BOOG—(Unmoved) I can't feel a thing.
(Music up full and the little woman comes to stage center and in a pink spotlight sings)
WOMAN—IS IT ME; OH, CAN IT TRULY BE/THAT OUR LOVE HAS STRUCK OUT?/FOR MY HEART IS A DWELLER/IN LIFE'S BIG LEAGUE CELLAR./OH, BOOGIE: WHEN YOU WERE BACK IN THE MINORS,/AND WE ATE A LOT AT DINERS, WELL.../WE WERE CLOSER, GAYER, FESTIVE,/BUT NOW YOU'VE GROWN RESTIVE./OH, I KNOW YOU'RE NOT HITTING,/AND I DON'T MIND ADMITTING/THAT I WORRY. I DO, BOOG. BUT STILL,/WHERE OH WHERE IS THAT OLD THRILL?/REMEMBER, TRUE LOVE NEVER WEARIES,/EVEN WHEN WE MISS THE SERIES! OH, BOOG,/LOOK AT ME: I'M YOUR WIFE. I'M ALIVE!/NOW WHY ARE MY KISSES OH FOR FIVE?
(Music down. Lights out on stage right and up again on stage left. The Scientist is pouring a smoking mixture from one tumbler to another. Nearby, Boog Powell is pacing inside his cage. Finally, he comes over to the bars)
BOOG—Who are you, anyway?
SCIENTIST—(Puts down a vial and looks at Boog Powell. Then he moves to center) Who am I? Who am I?
(Music up, softly)
BOOG—Yes, who are you?
SCIENTIST—(Sadly, head down) They say I am mad; a scientist gone wild. But they're all wrong, of course. I just want recognition, that's all. I want the adoration that Jonas Salk got. Or De Bakey; he just transplants hearts, for heaven's sake. I have a much greater invention and nobody will listen. Why, I create machines that look and act like people, but....
(Music up, full. The Scientist now strides to the front of the stage and sings)
SCIENTIST—THEY LAUGHED AT MY HUMAN MACHINES/MADE OUT OF PLASTICIZED GENES./AND WORSE, THEY SAID I COULDN'T BUILD A ROBOT/THAT COULD DO ALMOST AS MUCH AS GOD WROUGHT./WHY IBM LAUGHED AT ME,/AT ME, THE GENTLE INVENTOR,/AND I WAS BANNED FROM THE UNIVAC CENTER./IMAGINE! I HAD ONLY THE FINEST INTENTIONS/WITH MY WALKING AND TALKING INVENTIONS!/BUT, NO. I WAS THRUST FROM THE SCIENCE COMMUNITY...
BOOG—(Joining the song) WITH IMPUNITY!
SCIENTIST—(Wheels and points at him) AH HAH! EVEN YOU SCORN ME,/AS MY FELLOW LAUREATES HAVE SHORN ME/OF HONORS! BUT NOW I'LL FIX ALL YOU CRITICS,/ALL YOU DOUBTING, MENTAL ARTHRITICS,/(He points dramatically at Boog) FOR I'VE BUILT A ROBOT LIKE YOU/WHO CAN HIT—AND PLAY FIRST BASE, TOO!
SCIENTIST—YOU'LL SEE! HE'S PROGRAMMED TO BAT WHAT I DICTATE,/EVEN BUNT OR SLIDE...
BOOG—INTO HOME PLATE?
SCIENTIST—EXACTLY! I'LL CREATE A NEW RACE OF MY OWN/AND RULE THE WIDE WORLD ALONE./I CAN COPY THE MUSCLES/AND BUILD SIXTY BILL RUSSELLS/OR A NAMATH OR, IF YOU'RE NOT CHOOSY,/A BIGGER BOB COUSY!
SCIENTIST—WELL, HELL! THE WAY TO CAPTURE THE WORLD, IN SHORT,/IS TO TAKE OVER ITS NATIONAL SPORT./THEN THEY'LL HEED ME. THEN THEY'LL NEED ME. IMAGINE!/I'D SEND A TALL ROBOT IN FOR...
BOOG—THE REAL LEW ALCINDOR!
SCIENTIST—OR SHOOT POOL AT THE AMBASSADOR...
BOOG—WITH A PLASTIC WIMPY LASSITER!
SCIENTIST—WHY NOT? I CAN SUB FOR CORNELL GREEN/WITH A VERY MEAN MACHINE./BUT FOR NOW MY BOOG POWELL COPY/MUST TAKE TO PLAYING SLOPPY./HE'LL RUIN BALTIMORE'S BIG GAME...
SCIENTIST—HE'LL DRAG THE TEAM IN THE DIRT.
SCIENTIST—AND THEN IT WILL BE MY CHOICE, MY DEARIES,/AS TO WHO PLAYS IN THE SERIES./I CAN MANIPULATE ALL THE TEAMS/AND SHATTER THE NATION'S DREAMS.
BOOG—IT ALL SOUNDS PRETTY DRASTIC...
SCIENTIST—WITH MY PLAYERS MADE OF PLASTIC!/AND IF YOU'VE EVER WONDERED/IF YOU'LL EVER BAT FIVE HUNDRED,/I FEEL I MUST SAY:/NO WAY! NO, NOT WHILE YOU'RE IN MY CAGE,/FOR I'M FILLED WITH MY OWN RAGE,/AND LET...YES, LET THE WORLD OUT THERE HOWL.
BOOG and SCIENTIST—(In harmony) WHERE, OH, WHERE, IS OUR BOOG POWELL?
(Music down. The two men face each other. Then Boog, who has been clutching the bars of the cage, slumps and turns away. The Scientist goes back to his test tubes, leering nastily)
(Lights out on stage left and the spotlight comes up on stage right. The robot is still slouched in the Barcalounger. The little woman is standing, hesitantly, a few paces away. She finally summons up the courage to speak)
WOMAN—Boog, do you still love me?
BOOG—I told you, I told you, I don't feel a thing.
(Curtains closed; two pencil spotlights beam against the corners of the darkened stage, encircling two faces. At stage left is the Scientist. At stage right is Boog Powell. Each is holding a telephone)
SCIENTIST—I told you never to call me here.
BOOG—Well, I've got to talk to somebody.
SCIENTIST—Robots don't have to talk to anybody! Robots just have to do what they're programmed to do.
BOOG—But nobody on the team will speak to me.
BOOG—And I've torn Boog's batting average down to point one fifty-three. The Orioles are going to lose the pennant if we keep this up, you know.
SCIENTIST—I know, I know. It's my plan. I've got to ruin the Orioles if I'm going to save the world.
BOOG—Well, anyway, how's Boog?
BOOG—Boog Boog. Who do you think? I mean, how is he taking all of this? Golly, it must be tough, seeing his dreams shattered and....
SCIENTIST—Tough on him? Dreams shattered? Listen to me, you dummy. What kind of talk is this? Robots can't feel anything, do you understand? Robots are made of little wires and tubes and batteries—transistorized bits and pieces. Plastic, for God's sake. Robots are....
BOOG—Oh, I know, I know. Robots are just machines to you. You Frankenbaum. Why....
SCIENTIST—Stein. Stein, for chrissakes.
SCIENTIST—Frankenstein. Get it right, dummy.
BOOG—Well, never mind. Anyway, I could save the team if you'd let me. I could bat five hundred; boy, I could hit a million just like that. I've got steely sinews in my forearms and....
SCIENTIST—(Dryly again) I know what you've got in your forearms.
BOOG—Well, what I called about is, couldn't you maybe let the Orioles win the pennant and you still rule the world?
SCIENTIST—I told you, no.
BOOG—(Mimicking him) I told you, no. (Changes voice) Tell me that part again, George. Duhhh, tell me the part about the rabbits and how you save the world, George.
SCIENTIST—(Shouting into phone) Now stop that! Don't get smart with me! Don't show off your taped literary knowledge with me. I was the one who programmed you, remember? I mean, don't give me any of the Steinbaum garbage.
SCIENTIST—I said never mind! Now, I'll tell you just one more time. If I destroy the Baltimore Orioles, then the world will believe me. He who controls the Destiny of Baseball controls the world. Got that?
BOOG—(Sighs resignedly) Yes, but....
SCIENTIST—No buts. Now get back to work and strike out. And keep right on striking out until I turn you off.
(Music up and curtains open. It is the locker-room set. At right, players are showering—actually naked, of course—and at left, seated in front of their lockers, other players are toweling themselves dry, kicking into their slacks, combing their hair, tying ties. But all is silence, gloom. In the background, the "Boog Powell for President" banner has been ripped apart; both halves are hanging down limply in disgrace. The door now opens and Boog Powell enters. Music up. Powell looks around, smiling tentatively. A few teammates brush rudely past him, not looking at him. He moves to speak to one, and the man turns his back and walks away. Boog circles the room, alone; everybody studiously avoids his glance. Boog comes forward to stage center. He sings, forlornly)
BOOG—WHEN YOU'VE LOST IT IN THE SUN...
(Nobody joins in)
BOOG—AND THEY SCORE ANOTHER RUN...
(Silence from the showers)
BOOG—THAT PUTS THEM IN THE LEAD LIKE THREE TO TWO./WHO IS THERE AT THAT PLATE...
BOOG—HITTING, UHH, ABSOLUTELY GREAT? WHY....
(The door opens and Beano Brampson comes in. He takes the cigar out of his mouth and stares hard at Boog)
BRAMPSON—Aw, knock it off, Mister Powell.
(Pencil spotlight beams down on the center of the closed curtains. Boog Powell comes out, still in his Oriole uniform. He is carrying a huge bat and a bucket of Styrofoam baseballs. He puts the bucket down, picks out a ball. He looks at it for a long moment, then tosses it up and hits it into the balcony. He hits another ball, and then another. Boog now sings, punctuating his song by batting the foam baseballs into the audience)
BOOG—I COULD BAT FIVE HUNDRED IF HE'D LET ME...
BUT WHAT WOULD IT EVER GET ME? WHY, WITH MY ARMS CHOCK-FULL OF STEEL...
I FEEL ALMOST REAL...
BUT...BUT, YOU KNOW WHAT?/NO ONE LOVES A POOR ROBOT!
STILL...IMAGINE! WHAT IF SOMEWHERE IN MY MAKEUP,/MY ELECTRONIC, TRANSISTORIZED, MOTORIZED TAKEUP,/WHAT IF, LIKE A LUMP OF PLASTICIZED COAL...
I HAD A SOUL!/THEN THERE'D BE, WELL, YOU KNOW, CHEERS,/AND THE BOYS AND I COULD GO OUT FOR BEERS!/GEE, I WONDER WHAT BEER TASTES LIKE. OR A HOT DOG. OR PEANUTS. OR KISSES...
FROM BOOG POWELL'S MISSUS!
OH I KNOW IT'S MY FATE/TO DISINTEGRATE...
(Boog puts down the bat and leans against it in a typical batting posture as he looks out at the audience. Music down, violins up, as he talks out the rest of the song)
BOOG—But, wait! I wonder if...well, I wonder if I couldn't rebel. What the hell! I know it's fantastic for a man made of plastic. But a robot can take only so much. What made America great? Science? None such. What made America fine and clean and pure and strong? Electronics? Wrong! What made America great, all you people out there? It was...
(Drums. Switch to "Battle Hymn of the Republic")
BOOG—...baseball! That sharp, clean crack of the bat against horsehide! The throaty roar of that crowd. Out loud! The sandlot! The homer! Striking them out! Belting them in! Sliding home! Running for first! The double, the triple—Tinkers to Evers to Frankens...uh, Chance! Baseball! Your game, out there! You hear? Why, it's Dad and Son and it's the Seventh Inning Stretch; it's beer in a waxed-paper cup. The slanting sunshine across the bleachers, etching stark patterns in the infield. The pitcher tugging at the bill of his cap, waiting for the signal. The crowd tensing as he winds up! He delivers! It's a morality play! Why, it's life! It's love! It's America...
(Roll of drums)
AND THERE AT THAT PLATE,/AND HITTING JUST GREAT,/IS...IS, BOOG POWELL. IT'S ME!/IT'S ME. BUT, GEE./YOU SEE THERE'S NO ROOM IN THAT SCENE FOR ME, A MACHINE./STILL....
(He comes to a decision and snaps his fingers)
I will.... By God, I will!
(Curtains open on a split-stage set. At left is the laboratory. At right is the dugout of the Baltimore Orioles. The players are sitting inside glumly, watching the action on the field, offstage. Manager Beano Brampson is pacing morosely in front of the bench, an unlit cigar in his mouth, his hands jammed into the pockets of his warmup jacket. There is a sudden sharp, clean crack of bat against ball and a throaty roar from the crowd. Brampson and the players arch their necks and their eyes follow the imaginary flight of a baseball hit into the outfield. Some of the players come off the bench. Then they settle back)
BRAMPSON—Well, fine. Just fine. We finally got a man on base. Imagine that. First time in a week.
(Lights out on right and up on left, the laboratory. Boog Powell is pacing inside his cage, pounding his fist into one hand. He looks up as the door opens. It is Boog Powell, in the Oriole uniform. He glances around the room quickly, then hurries up to the cage)
BOOG—What do you mean: Shhh? Just who are you?
BOOG—Never mind who I am. Are you all right?
BOOG—I guess so; I'm pretty weak. I'd feel a lot better if I was out of here.
BOOG—Shhh! You're weak, you say? Are you strong enough to go to bat?
BOOG—(Flexing his arms) I don't think so. I've been cooped up too long.
BOOG—But the Orioles need you!
BOOG—Well, I can hardly pick up a bat. But if the team needs me....
BOOG—Wait a minute. I've got an idea. Now then. Here's my plan....
(Lights out on left, up on right, the dugout. There is another sharp, clean crack and Manager Brampson, who has been pawing one toe in the dirt, looks up in surprise. The players come to the edge of the dugout and gaze offstage at the field)
BRAMPSON—Well, look at that! Now we've got a man on first and a man on second! And nobody out. If I only had someone who could drive them in.
(He turns and looks at the line of Baltimore players in the dugout. They all avert their eyes)
(Lights out on right, up on left. The Scientist walks into the laboratory, whistling merrily. He checks his bubbling vials, nodding in satisfaction. Then he glances over at the cage. A look of anguish comes over his face as he notices the cage is empty, its door swinging open. Then he sees there is a note taped to the door. He snatches it from the bars and moves to stage center, reading. Music up. The Scientist now paces, singing aloud from the note)
SCIENTIST—DEAR MAD DOCTOR MONSTER-MAKER:/YOU POOR, MISGUIDED MOVER AND SHAKER,/YOU CREATED A ROBOT TO DO YOUR BIDDING,/TO RUIN THE ORIOLES, WHY, ARE YOU KIDDING?/BENEATH THIS RUBBERIZED PLASTIC COVERING,/A MAGNAVOX SOUL IS ALIVE AND HOVERING./POOR MAN, POWER IS YOUR ONLY AIM,/WHILE AS FOR ME, IT'S THE OLD BALL GAME!/I'M STRONG, I'M LOOSE, I'M FREE TO GROWL!/AND NOW I'VE KIDNAPPED THE REAL BOOG POWELL!/SO RAISE YOUR GLASS IN A TOAST TO ME,/YOU DRINK WINE, I'LL HAVE STP!
(Music down. The Scientist crumples the note and throws it aside, angrily)
SCIENTIST—Hmmmph. It looks like I've done my job too well! My very own monster has turned on me. But I'll fix his clock! He's smart, sure, because I've made him that way. He doesn't know that I have the final control over him....
(He stalks to the counter and spins some dials on a radio apparatus. He checks the gauges as they swing up to power)
SCIENTIST—The bomb will do it! Heh heh! I was afraid something like this might happen. I've planted a bomb inside his belly. That rascal! I can control it, too! I can detonate it any time I want. I can blow him apart—blow up the entire Oriole club. They won't cross me. I'll still rule the world!
(Lights out on left, up on right, as Manager Beano Brampson stands in an attitude of total surprise, looking up in the air. In the dugout the Orioles are all half-standing in amazement, watching a ball bouncing high off home plate offstage)
BRAMPSON—Another hit! A Baltimore chop! A single! How about that! Now the bases are loaded. We actually have the bases loaded! I can't believe it. Just one hit now and maybe, oh maybe, we'll break this slump. We'll be the Orioles of old—champions, that's what. But who is...(He turns to the Bat Boy)...who is up next?
BAT BOY—(Nervously) Mister Boog Powell, sir.
BRAMPSON—(In disgust) Mister Powell? Mister Powell? Are you trying to tell me that now—when I've got the bases loaded and two men out, when my keen manager's mind tells me that the entire season is hanging in the balance—are you trying to tell me that Boog Powell is up? Old No-Hit Powell? Old Marshmallow-Bat? Is that what you're trying to tell me?
BAT BOY—It's your batting order, sir.
BRAMPSON—Never mind that. Get me a pinch hitter.
(In the dugout the players all avert their eyes. A few look at the ceiling. All are embarrassed; nobody volunteers)
BRAMPSON—Well, come on. Come on! Who is going to get in there and hit for Powell?
BAT BOY—Uh, sir....
BRAMPSON—What is it?
BAT BOY—Well, couldn't you maybe give Mister Powell just one more chance? I know he hasn't been....
BRAMPSON—Hasn't been? Why, he has ruined this whole team, that's what he 'hasn't been.' I'm through with Mister Powell! I've given him his last chance. And that's final. Get me a pinch hitter. Somebody. Anybody. Get in there and hit yourself. Get the trainer. Get the janitor. Anybody.
(Soft roll of drums and a "ting" on the triangle. Out of the darkness of the dugout, Boog Powell steps forward. He stands stiffly, expressionless, towering hugely over Manager Brampson. His sleeves are pushed up on the massive, muscular arms and they glint like satiny steel. He is swinging a gigantic sequined bat, whose every move gives off little diamond-bursts of light)
BOOG—(Rumblingly) Well, here I am.
BOOG—I am ready to bat in my accustomed spot.
BRAMPSON—In a word: no.
BOOG—(Firmly, steely-voiced) I can do it, sir.
BAT BOY—The crowd is starting to holler, sir. And....
(A shower of beer cups, candy wrappers and programs flutters in from the wings. A few seat cushions follow, plus a pop bottle and Cracker Jack boxes. There is a hail of peanuts)
BRAMPSON—(Wavering) Well, I don't know....
BOOG—I can do it.
BRAMPSON—O.K., O.K. Get in there.
(He turns his back in disgust and kicks at a beer cup as Boog moves away)
(Pencil spotlight beams against the closed curtains and picks out the face of TV Announcer Cosell. The spotlight widens and we see that Cosell is seated in a glass-fronted press box, looking down at the field and speaking into a microphone)
COSELL—...and the count is now one ball and two strikes on Boog Powell. What a shame. What a tragedy for the Orioles: the bases are loaded, with Boog Powell, of all people, at the plate. It is this reporter's opinion, based on long experience, that Boog Powell is washed up. This reporter feels exclusively that never—in his long and colorful career as a sportscaster—has he seen such a terminal slump. This reporter feels....
(Cosell stops talking suddenly and half-rises from his seated position. He presses his nose against the glass, looking up)
COSELL—My God! I mean, goodness gracious! Wow! It is a towering, gignatic, monster hit! Good heavens! It is an enormous hit! A four-master! A grand-slammer! Ladies and gentlemen, this is the greatest hit that this reporter has ever seen! It is up, up and it is sailing toward the outfield stands. My God! It is going over the stands! Wow. Someone check that distance for this reporter. What is the distance? Now, hurry! You say it's five-hundred-eighty to the stands? My goodness! The ball is still going. This reporter has never seen anything like it...not in all his long, colorful years of...wow! The ball went over the stands, as this reporter said. It is going to clear the far parking lot easily. It is still climbing. Still climbing. (Whips out binoculars) It is...this reporter has now lost sight of the ball in the clouds! It is out of sight!
(Pencil spotlight out)
(Curtain rises on the locker-room scene. It is a howling madhouse, jammed with a surging throng of people. There are half-dressed ballplayers lurching about gleefully: some in towels, some in just their playing socks, others wearing just their caps. Sportswriters are scurrying through the crowd, press cards stuck in their hatbands; flashbulbs are flickering. Television cameras bouncily try to follow the action. Manager Beano Brampson, wearing just his Oriole uniform shirt, which hangs down below his knees, is staggering about happily, lighted cigar clenched in his mouth. Behind him, the "Boog Powell for President" banner has been restored. As the music fades, Brampson is trying to explain the past several weeks to some newsmen)
BRAMPSON—...and as I said, as I said, you guys, that first grand-slam home run was hit so far that the ball came down in a potato field outside Philadelphia. And....
SPORTSWRITER—And then what about that next one?
BRAMPSON—(Beaming) Why, his next home run smashed the window of a delicatessen in Chevy Chase. And you know how far that is? Why....
SPORTSWRITER—And then the other two homers right after that went even farther. One landed in the upstairs bathroom of a house in Pittsburgh! And another one went all the way to....
BRAMPSON—(Slyly nudging the sportswriter in the ribs) I'll say! And the lady of the house was taking a bath at the time! Sploosh! Boy, talk about outfield!
SPORTSWRITER—His last three home-run balls have never been found, right? They could be in orbit!
COSELL—(Sidling up with a microphone) And tell our ABC audience out there, Mister Brampson. It is the opinion of this reporter that....
BRAMPSON—(Jerking his thumb in a familiar gesture) Somebody throw this bum oudda here.
(Cosell is thrust back into the throng. Just then, all fall silent and all heads swing toward the door. There is the heavy clomp of giant footsteps offstage)
BRAMPSON—Wait a minute, everybody. Here he comes!
(The door opens and Boog Powell strides in. He is carrying three bats over his shoulder, all encrusted with diamonds and rubies, glinting in the light. He waves the bats over his head as the team surges forward to engulf him. In another moment he emerges on their shoulders, bouncing along awkwardly, ducking his head to avoid the ceiling)
CHORUS—For he's a jowly good fellow!
BRAMPSON—Most feared slugger....
SPORTSWRITER—And now hitting four-ninety-seven....
BRAMPSON—Well, we're on our way. Another pennant. Another World Series. And he'll hit....
SPORTSWRITER—Five hundred. Right, Boog?
BOOG—Maybe four-ninety-nine. Because only God....
(Suddenly all action freezes on stage. Menacing roll of drums as the distraught Scientist appears. His white coat is disheveled, his hair askew. He is clutching a black box with his arms wrapped protectively around it. The crowd draws back instinctively from him, creating a small open space)
SCIENTIST—Stop! Stop! Enough hilarity. There won't be any World Series this year. Everybody stand right where you are. Don't move. I'll blow you all to kingdom come before I'll let the Orioles win again.
BRAMPSON—(Stepping forward, shirt-tails flapping around his bare legs) Who the hell is this bum? Get this bum oudda here.
SCIENTIST—(Holds up the box. There is an OFF-ON switch on top of it) Don't touch me! One false move and I'll throw this switch. I'll blow up Boog Powell and the whole locker room, too.
BRAMPSON—(Wavering uncertainly) But...why?
BOOG—So he can rule the world, that's why.
BRAMPSON—So go rule the world, fella. But leave the Orioles alone.
(Slowly, the celebrants lower Boog to the floor. They all shuffle around uncertainly)
SCIENTIST—Ah hah. Go ahead, scorn me. But now I'm in control here. Me. Me, the one they all laughed at. But I'll show them. I'll show all of you.
(He cackles madly and reaches for the bomb switch. But Boog puts out one big, hamlike hand and closes it around the Scientist's arm, holding him firm)
BOOG—Wait just a minute, Frankenbaum.
BRAMPSON—Uh, yes. Wait a minute. (Turns to Boog) Uh, lissen: Is he serious? Can he really blow up the Orioles?
BOOG—Yes, he is, and yes, he can.
BRAMPSON—(To the Scientist) But why? Go blow up the Pirates, for heaven's sake. Why us?
SCIENTIST—Because the Boog Powell here is not real, that's why. Because I made him and I control him, that's why. I created him and 1 can create more robots. I can rule baseball; I can govern all mankind. That's why.
BRAMPSON—Not real? Boy, I'll say Boog Powell's not real. Wow! Did you see those homers he hit today, fella? Talk about unreal.
SCIENTIST—(Struggling to reach the switch) But you don't understand. None of you understand....
(Music up. Brampson starts to pace around the clearing, gesturing excitedly, shirttails swinging. He comes to stage center and sings)
BRAMPSON—so I DON'T UNDERSTAND?/UNDERSTAND?/DOES A CHILD UNDERSTAND ICE CREAM,/THE WAY I UNDERSTAND THIS BASEBALL TEAM?/LISSEN: SO YOU MADE A ROBOT;/WELL,/I'LL TELL YOU WHAT,/WE'RE ALL ROBOTS, WE'RE ALL SLAVES,/TO THOSE CHEERS, TO THOSE WAVES;/WHY, WE'RE ALL IN THE THRALL./OF BASEBALL/SURE,/WE'RE ALL CONTROLLED,/IF I MAY SAY SO,/BY THE THRILLS, BY THE GAME,/BY THE 'SAY, HEY,' SO,/BLOW UP BASEBALL AND YOU'VE BLOWN,/ANY HOPE OF A WORLD TO CALL YOUR OWN/HUH! WHO WANTS A WORLD/SO DAMNED TAME,/A WORLD WITHOUT/ITS FAVORITE GAME!
(Music down. Now the Scientist wavers. Boog Powell releases his grip and the crowd remains silent, watching the mad doctor. He looks into their faces)
SCIENTIST—You mean...you mean nobody would love me?
BOOG—He's right, Doc. Nobody would love you.
SCIENTIST—(Faltering) But I thought I was doing the right thing. You see, they all laughed at me and I....
(Music up for final production number. Crowd starts singing softly in the hack-ground as the Scientist looks questioningly from Boog Powell to Brampson)
CHORUS—WHEN YOU'VE LOST IT IN THE SUN....
BRAMPSON—AND THEY SCORE ANOTHER RUN....
BOOG—THAT PUTS THEM IN THE LEAD LIKE THREE TO TWO....
CHORUS—WHO IS THERE AT THAT PLATE....
BRAMPSON—HITTING ABSOLUTELY GREAT? WHY....
SCIENTIST—(Joining tentatively) BOOG! BOOG POWELL, THAT'S WHO!/WHEN YOU NEED A QUICK SCORE....
SCIENTIST—(Full voice now) WHO BELTS 'EM IN? I ASK YOU: WHO?
(Crash of cymbals and the music stops suddenly. The chorus freezes and the Scientist breaks away, clutching his box)
SCIENTIST—No. No! Stop it! I won't be dissuaded. You'll not get me with your sentimentality!
(He throws the switch. There is a stunned silence for a long moment: nothing happens. The crowd looks at Boog, to see if he's still there. Boog nods)
SCIENTIST—(Puzzled) But you didn't...you didn't blow....
BOOG—No. Not me. I didn't explode because....
BOOG—Because I'm the real Boog Powell. Me, the real one. And I'm free. It's the real me who has been hitting all those homers.
SCIENTIST—But my Boog robot....
BOOG—(Sadly) He saved my life. He sacrificed his life for the game.
(He takes off his baseball cap and holds it over his heart. Brampson takes the cigar from his mouth and holds it over his heart, respectfully. Music up. The chorus starts again, softly)
CHORUS—WHEN YOU'VE LOST IT IN THE SUN....
(As the chorus sings, little bits and pieces of charred Oriole uniform come floating down lazily from somewhere overhead. A bit of a cap. Then a baseball shirt wafts down, turning slowly so that the name PO WELL shows, printed across the shoulders. It is charred and burned. A fire-blackened bat falls)
BOOG—(Singing) AND THEY SCORE ANOTHER RUN....
CHORUS—THAT PUTS THEM IN THE LEAD LIKE THREE TO TWO....
BRAMPSON—WHO IS THERE AT THAT PLATE....
(Song goes on in the background as Boog Powell steps forward to the edge of the stage, looking up. He muses, aloud)
BOOG—Well, folks, I dunno where he is now, but I am sure it must be in that Great Ball Game Up There. That Great Series in the Sky. Why, I see him dug in there at that Pearly Home Plate and the stands are full of angels cheering him on. And....
BRAMPSON—(Puzzled) Angels? Why them bums are....
BOOG—Shhh. This is a different team. He has gone to that Great On-Deck Circle in the Clouds, and the Greatest Scorer of Them All is watching him at bat right now. And he'll ra'ar back, Boog will, and he'll belt out a mighty Celestial Circuit Clout. And he'll dance around them Pearly Bases....
CHORUS—(Full voice) WHO BELTS 'EM IN? I ASK YOU: WHO?
BOOG—(Waving at the ceiling) BOOG DO! YES, BOOG! THAT'S WHO!
CHORUS—Way to go, Boog!
BOOG—(Still looking up, tears on his cheeks) Yessir! Thanks a lot, Boog, wherever you are. Hang in there, Boogie. Don't let them send you down. We'll all be together one day in that big lineup....
(His voice breaks and he turns, sobbing, back to the others. As he joins the crowd, Brampson is talking earnestly to the Scientist)
BRAMPSON—(Consolingly) Sure, I understand just how you feel, fella. Sure. But, lissen: you're not all washed up. You can be famous yet. Now lissen: I got an idea....
SCIENTIST—(With renewed hope) Really? How?
BRAMPSON—I'll tell you how. Now, lissen to me, you go back to your laboratory and maybe create me a couple of pitchers, see, and....
(The final curtain drops as they walk off, arm in arm)