Griffin and Emil strain to make out the broadcast of a baseball game on an aging CRT together. It’s been a staple of their summer in the mid-90s suburbs, watching games and getting to know one another. But years later, their beloved team’s stadium is in ruins and they’ve lost each other. What happened to a time that was so electric with promise, albeit confined to a lonely bedroom that could be anywhere?
Scene 1: It’s the early 90s somewhere in the U.S. suburbs. A baseball game is crackling through on an old CRT that’s seen better days, probably when it wasn’t running late into the night every night. Two boys, Griffin and Emil, sit on a couch and watch a game together, engrossed in the action. During a lull, they start talking about the team, the performance of their favorites, which brings them back to their initial meeting, a few months prior.
Scene 2: Walking through a crowded hallway, Griffin spots a baseball card on the ground, having just fallen out of an open locker. It’s his favorite player, and it belongs to Emil, who didn’t realize it was gone. They start to talk about the card, and baseball in general. How they’re both a fan of the hometown team, even though they’ve been terrible for years. And despite being so different — Griffin is a baseball player, athletic, and generally laid-back, while Emil is a wannabe statistician who takes baseball numbers very seriously — they begin to chum around more and more.
Scene 3: Standing behind the outfield fence of a run down baseball park, Emil watches Griffin play. He’s not a star, by any means, but Emil still watches and keeps his pencil moving to document all the movements of the team. Scoring the game, guessing hit distances and pitch speeds, and dodging home runs from the other team, Emil tries to make sense of the data, while also catching a radio broadcast of the major league team. Upon game’s end, Emil catches Griffin to show him the data so he can improve his performance. It leads to a long conversation that drifts from baseball to the future. Both of them are juniors and starting to think about their futures.
Scene 4: A quick shift back to the setting of the opening scene; as the comeback on screen gets capped off, Griffin mentions to Emil how they should try and catch a game sometime. Especially since the rumors of the team moving out of town in a couple of years are starting to flare up, Emil’s eager to try his hand at tracking an actual game. Plus spending an afternoon with his friend that he can’t stop staring at is also a bonus. It’s a short scene that quickly transitions into the next.
Scene 5: Later on in the season, the boys arrive at the gates. The stadium’s proudly standing watch over downtown, but it’s in serious need of an update. Rusty bolts stick out of concrete that needs a powerwash, but getting in is the hottest ticket in town. Being high schoolers with nothing to really lose, Griffin convinces Emil to sneak in, spotting throngs of people gathered on each side of a little barrier. They make it into the stadium and snag some seats, way up near the roof, virtually miles away from the field. After spending the afternoon together, letting themselves talk about way more than baseball — the play stinks; despite the team piecing together wins, they drop this one — in the midst of the action, and realize they’re both scared of the future. Their dreams hinge on improvement, a drive that doesn’t really exist in a town that’s had nothing to celebrate for nigh on decades. They leave the stadium and drive back to the sleepy suburbs with an appreciation for each other that’s greater than before.
Scene 6: Griffin and Emil are back in Emil’s attic bedroom. They’re glued to the same old TV, crackling through the most exciting game either of them have seen. Their team is on the ropes, trying to make a comeback against the reigning champions of the league to get out of their first playoff round. Shots of the boys are interspersed with the game, and as the stakes get higher and the game pushes on into the dead of night, nothing changes in that bedroom. Then, Emil’s favorite player, a nobody power hitter who’s taken a back seat to the team’s newfound all-star, wins the game with a walk-off hit that brings in three runs. Removed from the honking horns, screaming from the neighbors, and cool October air, Griffin tackles Emil in a hug that turns to a kiss. The night’s a magical one for everyone involved.
Scene 7: In the same bedroom a few months later, baseball season is long over. The team started pushing to renovate the stadium and committed to a few more years, but ultimately crashed out after that first playoff series win. Ever since that night, there’s been something more intimate about the two. They’re just as tight as ever before, but Emil’s become less scathing. He’s more eager to share his excitement about all the data he tracks, and Griffin’s put in extra time to brush up on his stats to understand just what all the fuss should be over. But they’ve yet to address that kiss. Neither one is the type to arouse suspicion in a high school that hasn’t been quick to accept queer kids. But despite that, when he learns about Griffin’s extra studying, just to understand his interests, Emil kisses him again. And they decide to hash it all out. Figure out what it means that they feel this way. And they ultimately emerge from the bedroom a couple.
Scene 8: A year passes, and Griffin earns a baseball scholarship. It’s not much — the school isn’t one of the premier programs, but it could have a good reputation with work. More importantly, it ensures Griffin gets a starting position — but Griffin’s excited. As they’ve gotten closer, Emil’s been worried about this. He doesn’t know anymore whether to pursue a future in mathematics or go with his now-boyfriend to watch him chase a dream he doesn’t have a hand in anymore. Unsure of what’s going to happen, Griffin asks Emil to come with him, which sends Emil into a total breakdown. He’s scared, watching his plans getting shredded by the charm of a boy who doesn’t seem to have understood how much numbers mean to him. They fight; Emil calls Griffin a lazy jock who’ll be homeless in 20 years, Griffin tells him that his friends had all laughed when he kept meeting Emil, but stuck it out. When Emil hears that, he’s overwhelmed with guilt that he’d put Griffin in that position, and he storms out. Stops answering his calls. Writes him a letter wishing him well. Puts the baseball card from his locker in it, and almost puts a page of the program from the game they went to together. But he pauses, and the scene immediately changes from the bedroom to a dark street corner, all while a now-older Emil still holds the page.
Scene 9: The older Emil folds the page back in half and walks into a dark hallway. The camera catches his back as he marches into the indistinguishable structure. A few close shots of him walking, then running, along a concrete floor, ultimately climax in him emerging into the partially gutted baseball stadium. If it was in bad shape then, it’s even worse now, missing seats and full of pits in the concrete. There’s no grass, no bases, no ads for insurance lining the walls, nothing that does that afternoon Griffin and Emil spent together justice. Emil turns and walks up to where he remembers they sat, the top of section 301, row 21, seats 7 and 8. Upon a long shot of Emil standing up and looking over the empty stadium, the scene shifts to Griffin, standing in the empty spot next to where the older Emil was, alone in his bedroom.
Scene 10: The shift back to Griffin’s bedroom is quickly followed up with a fade into Griffin standing in a crowded dugout. Years have passed, and he’s become a major league player, against all odds. Aside from the letter from Emil that’s stayed in his clubhouse locker since his college days and his choice of that lucky nobody’s number as his jersey number, Griffin has nothing to remind him of his past. It’s been lost to time, and Griffin is happy with that. His numbers are good, he plays for a great team, and there’s talks of him being able to win a championship. Griffin’s team wins that night’s nationally televised game, and upon taking the mic from a sideline reporter, the scene cuts to Emil, back in his hometown, watching the game on a small TV inside a corner store. It takes him out of the moment, forgetting that he needs to pay for the Baby Ruth bar he’s grabbed for a quick snack. Once the clerk scolds him, he swipes his card and moves along, and exits. In one continuous shot, he exits the store, turns the corner, walks in and out of light, thanks to broken streetlights, abandoned cars from the 80s, and passes through a shoddy barrier. He’s back at the old stadium, and he turns and faces the gate. The same one where they snuck in together years ago.
Scene 11: Cutting back to Emil a few minutes in the future, he puts the page on top of the seat where Griffin sat. His phone buzzes and he answers. He tells his boyfriend now that he’s just taking care of a quick errand. He’ll be home soon. Emil’s boyfriend mentions how Griffin played such an important part in the win for his team tonight, knowing that they went to school together. Emil pauses for a second, before agreeing that it’s cool, swallowing some hurt before peacefully asking if his boyfriend wants to watch tomorrow’s game together. They agree to, and Emil starts down the stairs. As he walks down, the lights shut off and humming starts up. After cutting to Emil walking away from the stadium, it becomes clear that the humming, which has gotten louder through a quick montage of some of the unseen moments of intimacy the teenagers had shared in what feels like another world, is the construction crew that’s responsible for tearing the stadium down. Leaving his most important keepsake behind to become part of the rubble, Emil feels the guilt for how he acted leave him, and the stadium is imploded.
Scene 12: Throwing down a newspaper with a front page story about redevelopment of the newly-vacant stadium property, Emil greets his boyfriend with a warm smile. Under historical photos of important moments in queer history, they sit together on a couch, talking about Emil’s brief relationship with Griffin. His boyfriend remarks that it’s remarkable how much more open Emil has gotten since that night, and Emil reiterates that it’s because he doesn’t feel connected to that painful moment in time anymore. Upon that, the TV, a sleek modern one, sounds the crack of a bat. Griffin’s hit in the winning run for his team in the World Series. Amongst the celebration in another interview, Griffin dedicates the win to everyone who’s gotten him to this moment, including his first love, the nerdy statistician from high school, Emil. Griffin takes the moment to come out on national television, the very first professional athlete to do so, attributing it to the courage he’s had to gather walking through his career alone. The film ends with both of them smiling apart, but together.