DeNiro really triumphs as an actor in this underrated film. A baseball fan myself, I was absorbed by the atmosphere and the terrific ball-game filming in this picture -- but above all, DeNiro's performance blew my mind and stays with me.
DeNiro's Gil Renard is a familiar, scary character; he's a violent nutcase who beats his wife while still believing himself to be one of Nature's gentlemen. He just thinks he's been dealt a bad hand in life. He never notices his own pathological selfishness; never notices how his obsessions affect the other people in his life. All he notices is his own overwhelming feeling of violated innocence. Gil Renard thinks he was always a Perfectly Good Guy, until the unfair world crushed his innocence. . . meanwhile, his ex-wife, his son, his baseball idol, HIS son, and even his old best friend from Little League, all are expendable, just to preserve Gil's idealistic image of baseball, and of his own innocence.