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...
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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 the only independent baseball team in America at the time, the legendary Portland Mavericks. Bing operated without a Major League affiliation while playing in a city that was considered a wasteland for professional baseball. Tryouts for the Mavericks, which were open to the public, were filled with hopefuls who arrived in droves from every state in America, many of whom had been rejected by organized baseball. Skeptics agreed it would never work. But Bing's Mavericks generated unprecedented success: they shattered attendance records, signed Kurt Russell - Bing's son - as a player and team Vice President, produced the most successful batboy in baseball (filmmaker Todd Field), re-launched the controversial career of Jim Bouton, hired the first female general manager in Baseball, and inspired one of ...Written by
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I once asked him, "Bing, how come you have such a variety of people around you?" And he says, "Frank, life and the Mavericks are like a movie. And a movie has one key scene, maybe it's only three minutes." I think he talked about the chimney sweep scene in Mary Poppins. "Everything builds up to that, and everything comes off of that. And you never know who's going to come up with that magical idea at that magic moment."
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Documentary about Hollywood veteran Bing Russell creating the only independent baseball team in America at the time, operating without a Major League affiliation. From public tryouts to the in-your-face attitude, the 1973–1977 Portland Mavericks are a thrill to watch. Featuring interviews with Kurt Russell, Todd Field, Frank "The Flake" Peters, Joe Garza, Jim Bouton and Joe Garagiola. What's even more exciting than hearing about these underdogs win is hearing about Bing Russell going face-to-face with the powerful establishment of Major League Baseball and basically telling them that the only rules he'll play by are the rules of baseball. Nowadays, however, it feels a bit ironic that a guy like Bing Russell, the man who did it all for the love of the game which included practically giving the middle finger to the bureaucracy of sporting establishments, would be a New York Yankees fan.
***½ (out of four)
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