The Battered Bastards of Baseball

The Battered Bastards of Baseball ★★★½

Baseball doesn't have to be boring...

When Bing Russell went after the open Portland baseball market in the early 70s, that's what was on his mind. Not turning a profit or turning out stars for the majors. He wanted to put together a team of solid ball players and give them an opportunity to do what they love.

This is the story of the Portland Mavericks, the first independent baseball club in the country at the time. The major leagues had all but taken over the minor league system and were using the teams to farm players up to the show. Bing Russell was a baseball guy through and through. Well, he was a Hollywood guy too, but it's pretty clear in the documentary that his true love is the game of baseball. Not being able to play the game himself, he wanted to get involved in another vehicle. That led him to start up a non-affiliated team in Portland, called the Mavericks, and hold open tryouts to put together a roster. Now that all makes for a good story in itself...But as it turns out, he was on to something. They weren't just good, they were the best team in the Single A system. They had a better winning percentage than anyone else. The ragtag group of misfits had a blast and led their team to the championship series.

It's stories like this that make you appreciate the America's pastime that much more. There are people out there who simply want to play. On a salary of less than 500 a month, I don't think any of the Mavericks were in it for the cash. This is just a nice little story about people in the city of Portland coming together and having some fun on the diamond. Oh, and it's got Kurt Russell. It's not too bad.

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