Favorite Fictional Characters, #194: Ernie Capadino
Sometimes it's the bit players who are the most memorable. Ernie who? You remember him as the smug, curmudgeonly, absolutely hilarious scout in A League of Their Own. The movie itself is largely forgettable, though Tom Hanks was fairly likable as he cashed his checks, and some of the byplay between Geena Davis, Madonna,even Rosie O'Donnell and the other women was alternatively enjoyable and banal. But the apex of the film came in the early moments, during which Jon Lovitz delivered the finest performance of his third-tier career.
Ernie Capadino was a baseball scout, a man who knew talent and how to bring it from the hayfields to the ballfields. He was a man out of place, a sarcastic modern soul stuck in the halcyon 1940s, when even a world war didn't dim the cheery optimism of the masses. Lovitz unloads every ounce of his pudgy snark into the few moments of screentime he is given, and just crushes it. Every line he utters, with his leering impatience and weary indifference, is perfect. From expressing sympathy for the udders of milked cows to warning his charges not to eat the grass on the infield to declaring his intention to give his wife a "pickle-tickle", Ernie Capadino sees one pitch, hits a three-run homer, and exits stage left. Ernie, we hardly knew ye.