The Battered Bastards Of Baseball (2014)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

When Portland, Oregon, lost its longtime minor-league affiliate, Bing Russell-who briefly played ball professionally before enjoying a successful Hollywood acting career-bought the territory and formed a single-A team to operate outside the confines of major-league baseball. When they took the field in 1973, the Mavericks-the only independent team in America-started with two strikes against them. What did Deputy Clem from Bonanza know about baseball? Or Portland, for that matter? The only thing uniting his players, recruited at open tryouts, was that no other team wanted them. Skeptics agreed that it could never work. But Bing understood a ballplayer's dreams, and he understood an audience. His quirky, unkempt castoffs won games, and they won fans, shattering minor-league attendance records. Their spirit was contagious, and during their short reign, the Mavericks-a restaurant owner turned manager, left-handed catcher, and blackballed pitcher among them-brought independence back to baseball and embodied what it was all about: the love of the game. (C) Netflix
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Critic Reviews for The Battered Bastards Of Baseball

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (7)

This film is a labor of love in which the sweat never shows.

Full Review… | July 14, 2014
Orange County Register
Top Critic

The movie can be enjoyed by anyone, not just sports fans. Underdog stories simply don't get better than this.

Full Review… | July 10, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Bing Russell built it, and they came.

Full Review… | July 10, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

Vibrant, rebellious, and fun as all hell - if also utterly biased.

Full Review… | July 8, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

So rife with underdog victors and hairpin twists of fortune that, if it weren't all true, no one would believe it.

Full Review… | January 30, 2014
Top Critic

The Battered Bastards of Baseball is not just about baseball. It transcends the game and is a charming anti-establishment yarn that should delight audiences who don't even know an r.b.i. from a balk.

Full Review… | January 26, 2014
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Battered Bastards Of Baseball


It's a shame "For the Love of the Game" is already spoken for as far as baseball movie titles go. I think Chicago Cubs fans could be a little peeved at the implication that the short-lived Portland Mavericks minor league franchise are baseball's true battered bastards... The love of the game, though, is a phrase repeated often in The Battered Bastards of Baseball, the first feature film from brother directors Chapman and Maclain Way. It's the reason why actor Bing Russell-fresh off a 13-year stint on Bonanza-packed up and moved to Rip City to start his own baseball team. During the squad's run from 1973 to 1978, it was the only independent minor league team in America, meaning the other Single-A teams the Mavericks competed against-not to mention every other Single-A team and all Double-A and Triple-A teams-were stocked with guys who had Major League aspirations. Not so with the Mavericks. These guys had nothing to play for but, you guessed it, the love of the game. It's Russell, though, who puts himself out there the most. He's unfortunately no longer with us, but the film's interview subjects (including the one and only Kurt Russell, who was the Mavericks' Vice-President, as well as a player for one season) speak lovingly of his passion for baseball and this misfit group of players. He was a fan of the sport for his entire life, but the level of his fandom isn't easy to describe. He was a guy who didn't just watch the game and root for his favorite team. He analyzed player movements and swing patterns. He created instructional videos for young people and those coaching them. And while he tried to play-he always said he wanted to be the first man with a World Series ring and an Oscar-an injury shifted his focus entirely to Hollywood. His biggest risk in forming his own team might well have been selecting Portland as his team's hometown. Until the Mavericks set up shop in town, the city was home to a Triple-A team-the Beavers-that no one cared about or came to see. It was a dead baseball town, and now, a Hollywood actor wanted to come in with a team full of guys who all failed when it came to traditional professional ball. Yet, in a twist that seems straight out of a scripted movie, the team clicked and played brilliantly. The Battered Bastards of Baseball tells Russell's and the Mavericks' stories very well, and while it's a very traditional talking-head piece without much in the way of a greater point to make, it remains an entertaining doc from start to finish. It's a classic case of the truth being stranger than fiction-who'd have thought the squad's lone Oscar nominee would be neither Bing nor Kurt, but rather bat boy Todd Field of In the Bedroom and Little Children fame. We'll see if that remains the case with a major studio remake (courtesy of Fast & Furious director Justin Lin) on the way, but in the mean time, fans of baseball, the Russells, and even those precious, battered Mavericks fans have a lovely movie to help them remember the team's glorious run.

John Gilpatrick
John Gilpatrick

About as good a documentary as you can get, about a little independent baseball club in Portland Oregon.

Greg Robinson
Greg Robinson

A fantastic look at a forgotten team that deserves to be remembered. That cast of characters was great. If you're a baseball fan, it's definitely a must-see.

Josh Hakala
Josh Hakala

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