Military Land Navigation term. It basically means "Paved road," as differentiated from a :

  • "unimproved road" - A jeep trail or fire road. Unpaved and ungraded. Basically, two track the width of a car.
  • "improved road" - A wide, graded dirt road, usually with some roadbed material, like gravel, dumped in to provide an even rolling surface.

Hardball roads are great navigational landmarks. Intersections can be sighted off of with a compass. Hardball roads are also good for creating a fallback navigation strategy. Example:

Ok, if I get turned around down in this valley, I can run North until I hit the hardball road, then handrail east off it until I meet up with the trailhead.

Baseball, as opposed to softball. So called because the ball used is somewhat harder.

Metaphorically, to "play hardball" is to do something in a fiercely competitive manner. Besides the obvious hard/soft reference, this usage may also come from the idea that softball is usually played in casual, less-competitive games, such as among coworkers, whereas baseball is played in competitive leagues.

2001 Comedy/Drama, rated PG-13, PG in Canada, runs 1 hour, 46 minutes

Written by John Gatins, based on the book by Daniel Coyle
Directed by Brian Robbins

Stars Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane, and 11 unknown kids

The DVD includes a featurette, three deleted scenes, a music video, and a commentary track by Robbins and Gatins. The feature's dialogue is available in English and French, and as English subtitles.

I bought this movie on DVD because Keanu Reeves is in it. I buy all of his movies. This one I'd never heard of, I don't know if it was ever even in theaters (though I assume it was). I just finished watching it, and was compelled to head straight to E2.
(I just finished watching it with the director's commentary. He mentioned that the film was previewed in theaters on September 10, 2001. The next day, he had a meeting with the studio for a discussion about whether to release it on schedule, which they decided to do.)

I had read the blurb -- down-on-his-luck, deeply indebted ticket scalper with a gambling problem makes some money coaching a kid's baseball league -- and thought, "Okay, it'll be sweet, the kids will start out losers, but somehow they'll come from behind and become the champions while the gambler is reformed." The Bad News Bears. The Karate Kid. There's even the unlikeable opponents. We've seen the formula before.

And it is all that. Reeves' fans will like it, as will many others. Halfway through, it hadn't disappointed, but was nonetheless an average movie, pleasing and forgettable. But later, the standard movie recipe was put to the side in favor of an emotional roundhouse from out of left field (if you'll permit me to mix sports metaphors) that just isn't supposed to happen in these films.

I'm not going to give it away, but I assure you it puts this picture in a different league than its presumed peers. Nobody ever cried when The Replacements took the field, but there will be many a non-dry eye during the climax of Hardball.

You want to see this movie.


Also another name for FMJ ammo. Although the name "ball" or "hardball" was used to refer to round ball bullets that is indeed ball shaped, it is now also used to refer to any FMJ ammo, even pointy rifle ammo that is not really ball shaped at all.

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