The Secret Weapon
It’s baseball season again, and Sam is less than enthusiastic about it. He doesn’t think he’s a very good player, and he doesn’t think the Coyotes are a very good team. And basically, he’s right. But Jack Allen has a feeling that this season may be a little different, the Coyotes have a new coach: Connie Kendall! Connie gives the team a brief pep talk, and they head out to the field. Jack questions Connie about her wanting to be a coach, does she really think she can handle it? Connie confidently tells Jack to just watch and see.
The Coyotes’s practices go well for everyone, except Sam. He just can’t seem to do anything right, especially hit. So he’s decided to leave the team. But Connie comes up with a plan to instill some confidence in him. She asks him to meet her at Whit’s End. When he does, she gives him a special bat, a slugger that once belonged to Lefty Grizzell, a Major League home run hitter. Connie convinces Sam that the bat is a secret weapon with great power and accuracy, and has what seems like a mind of its own. To prove it, she has Sam hit a few pitches outside. He ends up whacking them nearly out of the park!
Sam has a renewed interest in the game and is now ready to play. But Connie tells him that he must practice with the bat every day if he really wants to learn to control the bat. Sam agrees and runs off to the batting cage.
Jack admires Connie’s solution to the problem of Sam quitting but is concerned that she has given Sam a false security. Connie tells Jack that she knows what she’s doing, and it seems she’s proven right when the Coyotes win not only their first game, but also their entire season! They’ve made the playoffs, and it’s all because of Sam’s batting, using the secret weapon. But on the day of the big game, the secret weapon is stolen! Sam panics and rushes to Whit’s End, looking for Connie. Jack tells him that Connie is already at the game. Sam is frantic. Jack calms him down long enough for him to explain what’s wrong, then they both head to the game.
At the game, the coach for the opposing team stops Connie and hands her the secret weapon. One of the other players took it. Connie takes the bat to Sam, but tells him that he can’t use it. The bat is just a piece of wood. It doesn’t have any special powers or abilities. Sam was able to hit those home runs because he practiced. Connie affirms that the Coyotes need Sam, not the bat.
Sam regains his confidence and strides to the plate. Two strikes fly by...but then Sam hits a home run that wins the game! The Coyotes are Little League champions.
- Why was Sam unhappy about playing for the Coyotes?
- Was it a good idea for Connie to give Sam a “secret weapon”?
- Why or why not?
- Have you ever put too much faith in something?
- If so, what was it?
Heard in episode
|Arlo Snoden||Todd Busteed|
|Bruno Beltser||Chad Reisser|
|Connie Kendall||Katie Leigh|
|Glenn Adams||Ryan Devin|
|Jack Allen||Alan Young|
|Coach Mott||Phil Lollar|
|Sam Johnson||Kyle Ellison|
- This episode was based off a story of the same name that originally appeared in the April and May 1993 issues of Clubhouse Magazine.
- Jack recalls in this episode that the Coyotes “almost won the championship” — a long time ago, according to Sam. This happened for the girls' team in #124: “The Winning Edge” and to the boys' team in #240: “And the Glory”.
- According to Jack, Connie is coaching the Coyotes in this episode as part of an ongoing exploration of career opportunities. This continues a thread that began earlier in #351: “What Are You Gonna Do with Your Life?”.
- The voice of Sam Johnson's actor Kyle Ellison has begun to change by this episode. It would be completely changed by the time of the season finale, #369: “It's a Wrap!”.
- Coach Mott's name may be a reference to former baseball player Bitsy Mott; Bitsy played ball from 1945-1957. Following his baseball career he was a security guard for Elvis Presley. Former baseball player Jason Motte, while sharing a variation of the same last name, did not play major league ball until 2008 — 22 years after the airing of this episode.
- The name of the former Major League home run hitter "Lefty Grizzell" is probably an allusion to one of the following:
- Lefty Frizzell, a 1950s country/honky-tonk singer most well remembered for "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time
- Lefty Driesell, a Division 1 college basketball coach still active at the time of airing of this episode
- It is worth noting that while several notable baseball players through the years have been known by the nickname "Lefty", they were almost all pitchers (a position not known for its power hitters). Also of note is famous left-handed hockey player Wayne Gretzky, whose last name is similar enough to "Grizzell" to merit inclusion as a possibility.
Jack Allen: Are you sure you're up to it?
Connie Kendall: Oh, you just wait. You'll see. We're going to put together one of the best seasons the Coyotes have ever had. We'll be scoring touchdowns left and right!
Jack Allen: Connie, that's um...
Connie Kendall: Football. I know. I was just seeing if you were listening.
Arlo Snoden: Now, Connie, I can't let you go without asking you about being the only female coach in the league. Now, has it been difficult? I mean, I understand that Coach Mott has said you should stay in the kitchen and bake cookies.
Connie Kendall: I sent him a batch of my cookies actually and... now he knows why I don't.