On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL (A Netflix Original Documentary).
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THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
By Joe Charnitski
This is the story of Bing Russell. There are a few reasons that name might be familiar to you. When a fastball to the head cut his baseball career short, Bing moved to Hollywood to pursue a life in film and tv. He played the role of [ROLE] on BONANZA for [HOW MANY] years, along with countless small roles in studio westerns. He’s also recognizable as the father of actor Kurt Russell (ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, OVERBOARD).
The third way Bing acquired some fame was as the owner/operator/heart and soul of the independent single-A baseball club the Portland Mavericks in the 1970’s. His time in Portland is the subject for the new Netflix documentary THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL. As you can tell by that title, this ain’t FIELD OF DREAMS.
When the major league affiliated Triple-A baseball team left Oregon Bing saw an opportunity. He would start what was at the time the only independent baseball team in America in Portland. It would be single-A, meaning it was the bottom rung on the ladder to the pros. It would be filled with players who had been overlooked by pro scouts, or flat out cut by major league teams. He thought this was the recipe for something special. Damn if he wasn’t right.
THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL tells us the story of the Mavericks from the mouths of players (including Bing’s son Kurt), staff and fans. It uses archive footage, professional and home movie style, to recreate the enthusiasm and excitement this team generated in the Pacific Northwest. The Triple-A team left town because attendance was low. Bing’s Maverick’s broke Single-A attendance records. Players appeared on Johnny Carson and major sports magazine’s wrote about the sensational circus and the P.T. Barnum behind the scenes, Bing Russell.