“Do not just a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes,” we are told, and that is the message of this understated film about a gifted pitcher who is on the autism spectrum and the minor league team coach who learns as much from him as he teaches. Dean Cain plays Murph, badly in need of a new pitcher when he gets into an accident near a farm in a remote area with no cell coverage so has to ask for help to call for a tow. He sees the farmer’s son Mickey (Luke Schroder), a sheltered young man who likes to throw apples for his pig and can throw them very fast and very hard. Mickey is on the autism spectrum and his parents have kept him on the farm all his life.
Murph wants to take Mickey to the team. Mickey’s mother supports the idea but his father does not think Mickey can function away from home. Murph promises he will take care of Mickey, and his parents allow him to try to join the team. There are a number of adjustment problems but most of the teammates are supportive. The other pitcher, though, is jealous, and as Mickey continues to do well, he is determined to stop him.
Director William Dear likes to use baseball as a backdrop for family-friendly stories with a spiritual foundation (“Angels in the Outfield,” “The Perfect Game”). There are no surprises in this one but its humility, sincerity, and decency make it watchable.