|Index||8 reviews in total|
well created, clean and well executed journalism. The discipline and
dedication it was placed it in this documentary was showcased. I can't
say enough great things about this and I am beyond surprised why the
low rating. If you are interested on watching great journalism, and a
true story of Dominican baseball, then watch it. I can guarantee you
won't be disappointed, that is unless you look at the MLB as a
glorified company. If you are a baseball fan, watch it , hey, even if
you are not.
The MLB as it was mentioned in this documentary, is nothing but a "mafia" If you watch it you'll understand why. That is not to say, this doesn't apply to any other sport, but predominantly baseball. innocence, vulnerability and desperation are key - amongst other things.
The MLB All-Star break is upon us, so those of you needing a baseball
fix should check out "Ballplayer: Pelotero," a new documentary now in
release. And much like the American League in last night's game, the
whole MLB system takes a beating in this film.
To paraphrase a famous quote, baseball players are like sausage. You love 'em, but you wouldn't want to see them being made. "Ballplayer: Pelotero" takes us to the MLB sausage factory that is the Dominican Republic. We are introduced to two Dominican youth, Jean Carlos Batista and Miguel Angel Sano, who are the year's two hottest prospects. These talented and personable young men have placed their and their families' entire futures on the hopes of being signed to a major league contract and landing a big signing bonus. It is very disconcerting to hear these impoverished youth bandy about million dollar figures and their dreams of buying a new home for their mothers, but the reality is that, for the rare few, it does happen. So what's the greatest obstacle they must face in achieving their dreams? Their age.
You see, it's all about being sixteen, the ridiculously low age that MLB has set as the threshold age for signing with a team. Some of these kids have been working with Dominican trainers since they were really young in the hopes of being able to showcase their talents by the time they hit sixteen. Signing at that age leads to the biggest money. Each year over the age of sixteen can cut your financial reward by 50% or more, so it's really important to be able to prove you're sixteen. That can be tough in a third-world country. It also leads to fraud and corruption.
After impressing the MLB scouts at official MLB training camps, questions are raised about Batista's and Sano's ages. The investigative process begins. Then things really get interesting. Who's doing the questioning? What's their motivation? Where's the evidence one way or another? I suspect MLB wanted nothing to do with this documentary, so we really only get to see things from the boys', their families', and their trainers' perspectives. That's a good thing, actually, as it helps the audience to have a better appreciation of their frustrations and anxieties. Will they be 'cleared?' If they are, how big will their offers be?
"Ballplayer: Pelotero" rips the casing off of Major League Baseball's Dominican farm system for all to see. Will anybody care? The next time you're at the ballpark, try and remember that the Brat you're eating wasn't the only meat to be ground up for your enjoyment that day.
"It's like when you go and harvest the land, you put the seed in . . .
water it . . . and when it grows, you sell it." Trainer
Baseball is a simple sport when compared with the complex plays of football or the manic motion of soccer. Ballplayer: Pelotero gives an inside look at the complexity of Major League Baseball's signing 16 year-old players from the Dominican Republic from the point of view of the young players.
Jean Carlos Batista and Miguel Angel Sano are hot prospects turning 16 in time to qualify for the July 2 draft in the Dominican Republic. That they are gifted is certified by the number of teams looking carefully at the prospects.
The documentary shifts to Angel as MLB is investigating his age, suspecting he may be older than the prime of 16. Because of the poor record keeping in the republic and some notorious faking, the accurate age is the defining issue of this suspenseful doc.
While millions of dollars can be involved in the bonus for signing, to sign older than 16 means a decrease in money. Since these boys are coming from poverty, these bonuses are their hopes for elevating their families. Although both are playing pro ball now, their situation in the film as they approach July 2 concentrates on the demands of the leagues and the honesty of the boys' handlers.
Ballplayer is one of the best documentaries ever about baseball at its most basic. The filmmakers allow everyone involved to voice their opinions while much of the time they're exposing their ambition or showing their ignorance. For the young recruits, no romantic thoughts about the pursuit of excellence are presentjust thoughts of money.
Fascinating stuff and the national anthem hasn't yet played!
This is an extremely interesting film that is, at times, riveting. Ballplayer: Pelotero offers fascinating insight into what baseball means to children growing up in the Dominican Republic. In this incredibly poor county, there are few ways out of poverty. For the boys that enter into the Dominican baseball farms, baseball offers a way out for them and their families. Unfortunately, many do not make it. These kids are left without an education and thus little chance for a better life. Ballplayer: Pelotero is in many ways an indictment of the how the MLB association treats these poor and desperate kids. I highly recommend this excellent film!
Having worked for a Major League ballclub as one of the front-line
employees, I know very well that "MLB" is "the owners", and the owners
are all about the money. The little people get abused within this
system, and the Dominican players, while not under the control of MLB (
there is no official MLB farm system there) clearly get manipulated
here by the owners (MLB), so that the owners can keep signing costs
low, or relatively low.
This film takes us on a personal journey with two Dominican prospects as they approach "July 2nd", the biggest day in their lives----- the day they can officially sign a major league contract worth millions. Or so they think. It becomes clear that the owners (MLB) have no intention of letting the signing bonus frenzy continue as top prospects in 2008 garnered 4-5 million dollars to sign. It is clear that the Dominican prospects are valued differently because they are poor, and likely poorly represented.
Some of the Dominican prospects are excellent. The fact is that the Dominican players can't compare evenly with a college player or a high school player in the US because of training regimens, equipment, and quality of coaching. Nevertheless, the Dominican players are manipulated by the owners (MLB) in what appears to be collusion.
The owners, represented by "scouts", create "buzz" about players in order to affect which teams seek to sign them. The owners, based on past experience, circulate gossip about which players may be dishonestly representing their ages, in order to reduce the potential signing bonuses. The movie shows how real a threat the dishonesty is to the process. Apparently, a 16-year old Dominican player is worth much more than a 17-year-old player. This does not compare to the US players, who are actually viewed as better prospects in their late teens or even their early 20's having come from college environments. So, the Dominicans get different treatment, not all of it fair or justified. This was the interesting part of this film, and the owners (MLB) need to be careful. I highly recommend this film to baseball fans!
Is this a joke? Or better yet, is it an example of more MLB collusion like the kind you will see in this well made documentary. Maybe you think I am writing this review with bias as I have just made accusations of collusion and bashed the MLB but all I can say is this is a must watch for a baseball fan, or anyone interested in the business of sports. As you may have heard it follows the lives of two prospects and like a good documentary remains impartial and looks only for facts, and let the narratives play themselves out. They didn't go to the Dominican and just say hey lets shoot a movie about kids playing ball and packed up their shi* and left, they were there for over a year working hard and getting the most honest product they could. Watch this film, phenomenal work, it starts a bit slow as a point of emphasis but you can't stop watching once you get to about 15 minutes in. Please enjoy this extraordinary title and help get its absurdly low rating up to where it belongs. -B
The fact that there are a HUGE number of players in American baseball
who are from the Dominican Republic isn't very surprising to most
American sports fans. However, even if you are aware of their dominance
in the league, you probably will learn A LOT from this very unusual
It turns out that the way ballplayers are recruited in the Dominican Republic is VERY different from the US. Here, ballplayers are signed young--so young that the leagues have been able to get great players for a fraction of their cost domestically. How do you do that? Well, here is where some obscure Major League rules come into play. It seems that ball players in this country can be signed at age 16 but only after July 1st. So, the hottest prospects are usually signed in a frenzy on the 1st--and the longer it takes to get signed, the smaller the bonuses and the more likely it is they won't be signed at all. So, there is a huge incentive to sign them AND to convince baseball you are only 16. 17, 18 and 19 year-olds are considered more risky--and command much, much smaller bonuses. So, for the poor Dominicans, there's a very strong incentive to lie about your age or even who you are. A very good 18 year-old player will seem like a god compared to kids who are only 16! So, the League actually does a lot of vetting to determine if the prospects are only 16--with medical tests and careful examination of the player's records. This film is about two of these top prospects, Jean Carlos Batista and Miguel Angel Sano, and it follows them through this recruiting season. Let's just say that there are lots of hiccups and surprises along the way for both of these guys!
Overall, this is a fascinating little film--one that might surprise you in many ways and which teaches you a lot about what a big business baseball really is! Well worth seeing.
"They are the product to be sold", one of the coaches says during the
documentary. I don't remember which coach said it about his player,
from whom he planned to profit, but it was said nonetheless, and that
basically sums up the tenor of this documentary.
There really are no heroes or villains in this, except perhaps the Orioles "talent scout" who appears to trigger an investigations into one player's age order to artificially lower the player's value and buffalo the player and his coach into signing on the cheap. It's all just shrugged off as if to say "that's baseball."
For the extreme pragmatist, baseball is entertainment and players and their amazing skills provide that entertainment. Players in this system are examined and graded like diamonds and little concern seems to be expended toward their lives beyond the commodity value they can bring to the entertainment business.
It's an extremely raw, open and telling dynamic that's on display in this documentary, and it's hard not to see your own work situations in light of what's displayed here.
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