I’d say that Fuller House, the Netflix revival of the 1990s sitcom of a slightly shorter name, is a guilty pleasure of mine, but first you have to feel guilty about it. Yes, the scripts are still uproariously bad, but the cheese factor was what made the show good to begin with. In a world where everyone has to be too cool for everyone and everything, it’s nice to think that we can all solve our problems in the space of 30 minutes with a hug. Maybe it’s just nice to remember the 90s, when everyone wasn’t so uptight about everything.
At this point, there are two groups of people. There are those who have seen all of the episodes of Fuller House and those who will never see any of the episodes, but, let’s put the obligatory spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t gotten this far. In Episode 10, DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy get taken out to the ballgame, specifically to AT&T Park. (Or do they…)
Because, you see, Stephanie Tanner is dating Hunter Pence, and the show opens with Pence bringing over some tickets for a Giants-Dodgers game later that day. And that’s why we’re writing about it here at Baseball Prospectus.
On with the show!
The script writers appear to be a little reality-challenged, because Pence apparently drives around San Francisco wearing a Giants pullover so that he can be more easily recognized. Then again, the Full House… house is on Broderick Street in San Francisco, where it’s all street parking. Problem is that…
— Hunter Pence (@hunterpence) August 6, 2014
Oh yeah, and he’s already engaged. Hunter Pence is 1-for-1 in marriage proposals, but has not yet walked.
So, perhaps the show’s writers and editors didn’t exactly pay super close attention to all the little baseball details when making the show. Now, as a baseball fan, I suppose that I could let them off the hook with the understanding that it’s just a TV show and that the point was the cute story about someone embarrassing herself in front of a large audience in the name of love, and the baseball was just secondary. Or I could nitpick the show to death.
Warning! Gory Mathematical Details (And Spoilers) Ahead!
When Pence comes over to the Fuller House to meet the family and to drop off some tickets for the day’s game, Ramona, who is Kimmy Gibbler’s daughter, impresses Pence by quoting his lifetime batting average, .284.
A quick check of Pence’s stats through 2015 shows that Ramona at least knows how to look up a batting average correctly. This isn’t exactly problematic in the sense of getting the number wrong, but it does present some timeline issues that we’ll talk about in a minute. On the other hand, it’s telling that the Tanner-Fuller-Gibbler household aren’t fans of the other team in the San Francisco area. Ramona clearly has not read Moneyball or else she would have quoted Pence’s career OBP of .337 (again, through the end of 2015) back to him.
Is it really too much to ask that 13-year-old fictional characters might be a little more on-board with this Sabermetrics thing? Parks and Recreation did it.
As Pence prepares to leave the Fuller house, Stephanie worries that as “the mystery blonde” she is responsible for Pence’s recent slump. She cites the fact that Pence hasn’t gotten a hit since they started dating.
Pence’s career longest streak of games without a hit is eight. (Thanks Play Index, where you can use the coupon code “BP” at checkout and get a discount!) It happened over nine days in September, 2013. This brings up an interesting question. How long have Pence and Stephanie been dating? In the not-even-PG-rated world of Full(er) House, she does mention that they “just started” dating. Plus, he’s apparently never been over to the house before to meet the rest of the family, so it can’t have been very long. But it’s been long enough that the idea of Stephanie being a jinx is “all over the internet.”
The other issue is that professional baseball players have to travel a lot for work, so even if you meet one and hit it off, it’s likely he’ll be gone for a week soon enough. In 2015, the Giants had two homestands of 10 games and one of 9, so if Hunter and Stephanie met before the first game of one of those stretches, they’ve only been dating for a week and a half. Maybe they met, and then the Giants did a quick trip out for three games and then came back for a six-game stretch.
Maybe they’ve been together two weeks at the absolute most. There’s only so long that a player, even one of Pence’s quality, can go without a hit before he’s straight-out benched or put on the phantom DL. So Pence is in a hitless streak that is around his career worst and it just happened to coincide with one of the longest stretches of home cooking that the Giants will have all year. Thanks, Stephanie. How rude.
Fast-forward through some stuff about DJ trying to figure out if she wants to date the hot new guy or the guy who did the voice for Aladdin. The Fuller-Tanner-Gibbler sisters and their respective offspring are now at AT&T Park and the Giants are playing the Dodgers. It’s clearly daytime.
Pence had dropped off the tickets for “today’s game” at the Fuller House earlier in the day, although everyone – including the two teenagers – was awake and bright-eyed, apparently showered, and dressed in something other than pajamas. Anyone who has ever been a teenager or dealt with teenagers knows that this generally happens around 1:00 pm on a non-school day, not to mention the amount of time it takes to get six people and a baby showered and ready to go. Assuming that this was a standard 1:05 day game start, players will need to be at the park a few hours early, say 10:00 a.m. According to Google Maps, it’s a 20 minute drive from the Fuller House to AT&T Park, which puts Pence’s visit to the Fullers around 9:30 or so at the latest.
Is everyone in that house an insanely early riser?
Some of the ballpark scenes were filmed on location during the actual Dodgers-Giants game on October 1st, 2016 (we’ll see some proof later), including the seventh-inning stretch scene. The Dodgers won the real game, 3-2, behind 7 2/3 innings from starting pitcher… Brett Anderson. Clayton Kershaw was nowhere to be seen that day, nor did Aoki play that day. So, where did the Kershaw/Aoki scene come from?
Kershaw did pitch against the Giants two nights earlier, throwing a complete-game, one-hit shutout, though that one hit was by Kevin Frandsen, rather than Aoki. (Aoki didn’t appear in that game either.) It turns out that Kershaw did allow a left field single to Aoki in 2015, but on May 21st. Seems that the producers just grabbed some highlights of a Giant getting a single off a Dodger and shoved it into the show, figuring no one would check.
Oh, by the way, Hunter Pence – supposedly the star of the show — didn’t play on the day that they filmed the show. Whoops.
There’s some banter where “hot new guy” gives a credit card to a 13-year-old who is trying to get
laid a date with “Lola”, but then Hunter Pence comes to bat and we see this shot of the scoreboard.
1) Wait a minute, Nori Aoki singled, but… Angel Pagan gets credit for the hit?
2) Why wasn’t that hit recorded in the Giants’ total?
4) …except that it appears that we are in the second inning? Huh?
But wait, there’s more:
5) Hunter Pence’s listed stats do correspond to his 2015 end-of-season stats…
6) … and his listed service time is correct as of the end of the 2015 season. So, this game is either taking place on Opening Day 2016 or in some parallel universe where the Dodgers and Giants played Game 163.
7) When we notice that the Dodgers are all hitting .000, it makes sense to think that it might be Opening Day. Traditionally the scoreboard shows last year’s averages, but after the first inning has come and gone (and it looks like the Dodgers went 1-2-3, with cleanup hitter Adrian Gonzalez having a little star by his name due up next), the scoreboard would roll over to everyone’s now-current averages of .000. Plus, we see that Kershaw has only one strikeout on the year, presumably his unseen K of Matt Duffy.
But if it’s Opening Day, how is it that Pence has been in a prolonged slump? THIS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!
8) But wait, it gets worse, because the Giants are about to break the rules of baseball. Take a quick look at Gregor Blanco’s line on the scoreboard. We then cut to a center field camera shot of Kershaw pitching and then a behind-the-backstop shot of Pence flailing away. But look closely.
See it? In the middle of the pitch, the Giants have subbed in Casey McGehee at third base in the eighth spot in the lineup!!! In fairness, maybe that was part of the double switch that also took Nori Aoki out of the game. (Mysteriously, Aoki is allowed to re-enter the game later. We see him fouling a ball off to the left a few minutes later.)
There are plenty of clues in this picture that identify it as footage from the May 21st game (a 4-0 Giant win). Note that Kershaw suddenly has a 2-2 record. Pence’s seasonal totals now have him hitting only .250 with one home run and 2 RBI (as he notches his 17th at-bat of the season). McGehee really did start at third and hit eighth for the Giants that day, and the pitching matchup was MadBum against Kershaw. Plus, we have the context of the Aoki single that we know was from this game as well. So it looks like they just left the scoreboard intact. Or did they?
This might have just been the producers grabbing some B-roll footage to put into a TV show, but I think we’ve got evidence to convict the Full House editing crew of tampering with a major-league scoreboard. In the bottom of the second of the real May 21st game, Buster Posey grounded out against Kershaw to start things off. One out, which matches what’s on the scoreboard. Hunter Pence came up next. In the real at-bat, Pence took a called ball to start the at-bat, followed by two swings and misses. On the fourth pitch, he took a called third strike.
In the episode, Pence cuts and misses at the pitch above, then walks off dejectedly because he struck out. There’s a cutaway right after the swing and a cut back to Pence walking toward the dugout between those two events, which is a poor attempt at covering their tracks. (Remember, strike three was called). Want more proof? Check the scoreboard.
The scoreboard clearly shows an 0-2 count, but the real Pence led off the plate appearance by taking a ball. Had they simply left the natural scoreboard intact, there would have been one ball on Pence because he took a ball before any of the strikes happened. It means that they went to the trouble to Photoshop the count on the scoreboard. But they didn’t bother to doctor the lineups or Pence’s stats.
Hunter Pence eventually comes up again and hits a foul ball down the first base line, where the Fuller-Tanner-Gibbler Family is sitting.
And then, this guy does this.
Don’t be that guy.
Pence strikes out looking as Kershaw paints the outside corner.
In the May 21st game, Kershaw got Pence looking twice. I’m guessing they just spliced in some of that tape. Stephanie says that she’s about to go “entertain the crowd,” presumably a reference to the fact that she’s about to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch in an attempt to launch her singing career. Kimmy and Ramona decide to do some sort of publicity stunt for Kimmy’s party-planning business, which we’ll see in a minute also took place in the seventh inning, and they head toward the first-base dugout.
But something magical happens next. Not only does 13-year-old Jackson make it to the upper deck with “Lola” and put some very TGIF-rated moves on her, but he time travels four months into the future (or perhaps just four innings into the past). And that’s without a TARDIS.
Not only is it apparently the third inning, but the Dodgers lineup has changed again. The screenshot isn’t that great, but we see that Adrian Gonzalez is up for the Dodgers and that his name is highlighted in yellow in the third spot. A little while ago, he was hitting cleanup for the Dodgers. That’s because this scene seems to have been filmed during the October 1st game. In fact, while the rest of the lineups are a bit blurry, looking at what characters can be made out and the length of the names, these lineups correspond better to the actual lineups from the October 1st game.
But… in the very next scene, Ramona and
Beezus Kimmy have made their way to the steps leading to the roof of the dugout and no one stops them as they climb up. But above them, we see that…
… it’s suddenly the top of the seventh inning (probably on October 1st… the score matches) again.
Jackson Fuller is a Time Lord. That’s the only logical explanation.
Stephanie gets up and “sings” the greatest song ever written, dedicating the “performance” to Hunter Pence. But, midway through the song, under pressure from a crowd that believes that she has jinxed Pence, she breaks up with Pence while on the mic.
Let’s return to the question of how long Pence and Stephanie have been dating. The Giants, like a lot of other teams, do allow people to audition to sing the National Anthem and Take Me Out to the Ballgame, but they accept audition CDs in the offseason only. Presumably, they book everyone several months ahead of time.
We’ve established that Hunter and Stephanie have been dating for two weeks at the most. Apparently, that was long enough that Pence felt comfortable pulling a few strings to get her the gig in the seventh inning. Perhaps the Giants would be willing to listen to a request from one of their stars, but… Okay, fine, it’s just a TV show.
I guess I know how to fulfill my dream of singing in the seventh here in Atlanta. I’m going to ask Freddie Freeman out. Freddie, if you’re reading this, I know this great place…
(Unrelated to Fuller House, but related to Freddie Freeman, this is cutest video of the spring so far. Congrats to Mr. and Ms. Freeman and their soon-to-be-growing family.)
Now batting for the Giants… number eight… Hunter Pence.
Let’s notice how many Giants are on the basepaths as our jilted lover comes to the plate. For those of you who aren’t good at #GoryMath, that would be two. We also note that he is facing a right-handed pitcher.
Cut to the outside concourse behind the right field stands where Kimmy, Ramona, and Stephanie are being released by security. Stephanie laments that she just had an emotional breakdown in front of 40,000 people (actual attendance at the October 1st game was 41,027).
And then… we see this.
I think they just need to stop showing the scoreboard.
1) Duffy and Posey have apparently both grounded out. Who is standing on first and second?
2) We actually saw Pence strike out twice in this episode. How is he only 0-for-1?
3) Oh I see, it’s because he apparently struck out in the first inning and even though it’s the ninth inning, he hasn’t been to bat since.
4) Hey, Gregor Blanco’s back in the game!
5) Clayton Kershaw is still in the game, here in the ninth inning, with the tying run at the plate and two outs. Rather than bring in Kenley Jansen, Dodgers manager
Don Mattingly Dave Roberts has elected to go with his ace… and have him throw right-handed. Take that Pat Venditte!
6) This is clearly a fake score line for dramatic tension purposes, but I think that the people who edited the scoreboard had no idea what the “L” was for. Actually, didn’t Hunter Pence strike out in the first stranding Aoki/Pagan on first?
The next shot shows Pence standing in and then…
HOW DID YOU GET THERE?!?!?!
There are two more shots of runners on second and first. Pence, clearly has TWTW, because he willed an extra runner to magically appear. Outside the stadium wall, over by McCovey Cove, the Tanner-Fuller-Gibblers are walking, though it’s oddly empty out there except for them. We then see Pence make contact off of Kershaw, who decided to throw lefty after all since this is kind of a high-leverage situation.
Of course, like every good movie or TV show about baseball, the game ends with a down-by-three, two-outs, bottom-of-the-ninth grand slam, and the ball was caught by the wise-cracking 7-year-old. Since 1950, this sort of ultimate grand slam has happened 12 times in real life, with the last one being June 30, 2006, when Adam Dunn hit one off of Bob Wickman to send the Cincinnati faithful home happy.
But in a world where you can solve any problem in 30 minutes or less with a hug, why not?
Also, who was watching the baby?
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now