Hollywood Fringe 2019
With audience interaction (and free prizes!) Brett Moore takes us on a trip through the maze of his baseball-filled mind, flaunting his incredible ability as a living, breathing encyclopedia for the great American pastime.
Brett Moore knows baseball. Or should I say, Brett Moore is baseball: his knowledge is so deep it seems to run through him as a part of his life force. In Batter Up! My Brain On Baseball, Moore tells us the story of how this came to pass, then allowing us to test the extent of his weird depth of incredibly specialized knowledge. Through a series of combinations of love for the sport, a need to kill time, and an eidetic memory, Moore wound up as a living, breathing encyclopedia for baseball stats and facts, something that would be incredibly cool were it not for this little thing called the Internet. Poking fun at his own “useless” talent, Moore fully owns that his skill is something he probably would not have developed since childhood if he knew one day we’d all be walking around with tiny computers in our pockets, but I still find that hard to believe: there is something particularly joyful about seeing a person draw out an incredible string of facts using the power of their mind alone. Love of baseball aside, Moore’s show is equally a celebration of the human brain and the incredible—if sometimes “useless”—things people can do.
The fact that these facts are trivia (and ergo trivial) is part of what makes this so fun. It wouldn’t be as cool if, let’s say, he’d studied law, and were rattling off obscure tort reform. People do still have to memorize things all the time, but that doesn’t make it fun or interesting. Moore is fun and interesting because he’s sharing something he LOVES, and even if baseball isn’t your thing, there’s no way you can resist the draw of his enthusiasm. (Indeed, I’d say this was way more fun that most baseball games I’ve attended—and cheaper! Not only did I avoid spending $100 on beer and hot dogs, I even walked out with some free baseball cards—and very old chewing gum! What’s not to love.)
The show is at its strongest when Moore is simply doing his thing and chatting us up—he’s a natural entertainer with great presence and likability. A few of the more planned elements of the show lacked the same sparkle of his innate spontaneity. I also felt the most exciting showcases of his ability were when there was some kind of time restraint—these upped the stakes even more and really wowed the crowd. While I was plenty impressed with what I saw, it would be fun to dream up a few more rapid-fire games to test Moore’s limits and engage with the audience.
In our current age of nightmarish news cycles, it’s sometimes nice to take a break from the insanity of the world and get back in touch with simple joys. Moore’s Batter Up is an undeniably amusing show that celebrates both a well-loved American pastime and the wonders of the human mind, and it’s completely apolitical… so long as you don’t mind rooting for the Dodgers.