07.14.2012

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The (E)X(ley)-Files: Reviewing “The Unnatural”

Obviously aliens: Josh Exley…

Full disclosure: BuckBokai always hated the X-Files, considering the series essentially a science-fiction bastard child of obnoxious 1980s cop melodrama Miami Vice and the early 90s stupidity that was Twin Peaks. Nevertheless, since, as per the mainstream American TV norm, the ‘Files include a baseball-themed episode, season six’s “The Unnatural,” BuckBokai today turns back the clock 13 years for a viewing and reviewing of the episode.

Those familiar with the exploits of super-secret government agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully can recall that scripts mostly consisted of a load of unlikely lines and in-references poorly delivered by the principals. “The Unnatural” is happily at least half an exception here, a standalone episode with the presence of Mulder and Scully kept to a minimum via means of a frame-story device; David Duchovny directed this one and actually incorporates some nice visual touches linking the two eras of the story.

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07.14.2012

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Joe Bauman and Josh Gibson: Real-life inspirations for Josh Exley

Upon viewing and reviewing the X-Files season six episode, “The Unnatural,” BuckBokai thought it only right to give a couple of baseball history’s more unfortunately obscure names their due: Namely, Joe Bauman and Josh Gibson.

The protagonist of the X-Files episode is one Josh Exley, a player for the Negro League’s “Roswell Grays” in 1947. The “Roswell” bit recalls Bauman, a longtime minor-league player in the lower minor-league levels for teams in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. In a career interrupted by World War II, Bauman became a local attraction known for jacking long home runs wherever he played.

But 1954 was something special for baseball fans, if only the truly arcane-loving. Playing for the Roswell Rockets, Bauman torched extant home run records when he hit 72 dingers to go with a .400 batting average, 150 walks and an unbelievable 228 RBIs – in 138 games. Bauman’s homer mark stood for 47 years, until Barry Bonds topped it in 2001. Bauman, still living in Roswell, was quoted as saying that he never “thought it’d last this long, to be honest. I was watching on TV when [Bonds] hit that last one. It didn’t bother me or anything.

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