Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Beisbol Factory

The Ballplayer: Pelotero
Gua Gua Productions
Directed by Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin,
and Jon Paley
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, Daily Bosco

As a long time baseball fan, I have mixed emotions after viewing Pelotero.  I am not sure where to begin with this.

Pelotero is a beautifully filmed documentary that was released this week looking at the baseball players that come out of the Dominican Republic.

The players from the DR are probably the best players in the world right now.  This is because from the time a young boy can barely walk and out of diapers they are picking up a bat and ball and playing the game.

Everyday from the early morning till they can't see because it's too dark.

You know, kind of like we used to do as kids here in the USA.

This was not lost on Major League Baseball.  There is a system for picking the best and brightest stars at a very young age and quite frankly, as the thesis of the film indicates, the system is exploitive and archaic.  It needs to be changed.

This system goes back to the late 1950's and early 1960's when a cheapskate San Francisco Giant Owner  Horace Stoneham bought three Alou Brothers, Manny Mota, and Juan Marichal...three of my boyhood idols for less than $5,000.  That's total....not each.  That is exploitive and an outrage and I got sick in my stomach when this fact was disclosed in this film.

But there's more.

This is the story about the trainers, the MLB reps, and even ESPN who seemingly conspire to try to get away paying the least amount of money for the Dominican Republic players.

This is the story also about the young boys and their families who have so much riding on if they make it or not to the big leagues.  Two boys in particular whose courses go in two totally different directions are highlighted in the film.  The film follows them during 2009.

You will also cringe when you hear how little the signing bonuses for modern day MLB superstars the likes of Miguel Tejada, Vladamir Guerrero, and Pedro Martinez actually got.

Which really begs the questions that I pondered why watching the film.  Why isn't their an international draft in Major League Baseball?  And what difference does it make if a boy is 16, 17, 21, 25 years of age?  If you can play the game at the major league level what difference does it make?

Too bad, that reps from Major League Baseball, agents, and ESPN refused to answer questions on camera for this documentary.  I would have liked to hear the answer to those questions.

This film's beauty is rounded out by a wonderful sound track of Dominican Music which stands alone as great.

I highly recommend this compelling film.

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