With Kevin Costner narrating, lead a cast of baseball legends and scientists who explore the magic within the 396 milliseconds it takes a fastball to reach home plate, and decipher who threw the fastest pitch ever.
In the 1970s Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter on LSD and his outspoken style courted conflict and controversy, but his latter years were spent helping others recover from addiction. No No: A ... See full summary »
The Battered Bastards of Baseball is one of baseball's last great, unheralded true stories. In 1973, Hollywood veteran Bing Russell (best known for playing Deputy Clem on "Bonanza") created... See full summary »
The knuckleball is an enigma in the sport of baseball. Only a handful of pitchers in the 100+ year history of the game have thrown it well enough to make a career out of it. This documentary focuses on two knuckleballers in particular (Tim Wakefield & R.A. Dickey) in trying to shed some light on both the physical and mental side of being a baseball oddity.
There are basically two distinct themes running through this doc:
1. A history of the pitch, so to speak, in which former knucklers like Charlie Hough, Wilbur Wood, Tom Candiotti, and Phil Niekro are interview regarding their thoughts on their bread-and-butter pitch.
2. A narrower focus on Wakefield & Dickey, delving into more the psychological toughness needed to soldier on despite being label a baseball "freak", of sorts.
This is a great little documentary for all baseball fans (especially those who vividly remember Wakefield's long career or Dickey's magical run with the Mets) and is about as unique as the fluttering pitch itself (I can't remember any other documentary covering similar material). It is lighthearted, emotional, informative, and serious all at the same time.
The only reason I can't give it the full five stars? I wish it would have focused on the personal stories of Wakefield/Dickey even a bit more. Their interactions with the "old gang" of knuckleballers is great, don't get me wrong, but there are WAY too many slo-mo shoots of fluttering knucklers used simply to fill time/space. The personal stories would have been compelling enough to explore even more fully.
Overall, though, this is a fun little baseball documentary that is very professionally produced and doesn't try to "ruffle feathers" by making outrageous statements for publicity's sake. It is clear that the filmmakers were truly interested in and inspired by their creation and that fact shows in the final product.
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