Don’t worry friends. There is no need for a spoiler alert here. We won’t give away how The Battered Bastards of Baseball documentary ends. (And don’t Google it).
However, we will recommend why it is so worth 80 minutes of your time. Now, if you happen to be a fan of baseball, Mike Veeck, or Bill Veeck, we are strongly encourage watching this movie. (Before the new Mike Veeck documentary comes out).
Netflix describes it as “investigational and inspiring”. You could also easily call it entertaining and engaging. And in all honesty, it doesn’t matter if you you are a baseball fan or not. This is because you can find yourself getting caught up in the dramatic plot. After all, it is not every day a Hollywood actor directs a cast of misfits in a remarkable performance. And in Portland, Oregon of all places.
The Battered Bastards of Baseball is a Hit.
The film follows Bing Russell’s adventurous journey owning the Portland Mavericks in the 1970s. Like Mike Veeck did with the St. Paul Saints years later, Bing Russell launched an independent minor league club in the 1970s. And if you are slightly curious about the last name, the answer is “yes.”
We’re talking about the father of Hollywood’s A-List Star, Kurt Russell. Comparatively, Bing Russell was more than a successful character actor in Hollywood. In addition, he was quite the character himself away from the screen and stage. Bing was best known for being the sheriff in the longtime hit TV series, “Gunsmoke“.
Yet the driving force of The Battered Bastards of Baseball is Bing riding out of Hollywood and into the Great Northwest. It is an untraditional plan aiming to become like the sheriff of professional baseball in Portland.
The saying goes, You Never Forget Your First Love. And for Bing Russell, he never did. His burning love for baseball began as a boy. But even then, he was a trailblazer, growing up in family with no knowledge or interest in the sport.
In a case of destiny or luck, baseball legend Lefty Gomez befriended young Bing, bringing him into the inner circle of the great New York Yankees teams of the 1930s.
Being stubborn or hard-headed were blessings for Bing Russell. It helped him land opportunities in Hollywood where he became what Kurt Russell affectionately calls, “A plumber actor.” The compliment means he was always working.
Kurt is funny in the film telling stories about his Dad’s acting career. But he is even better poignantly explaining how Bing’s stubbornness kept alive his baseball dreams.
Watching The Battered Bastards of Baseball may have you comparing the Russell family with the Veeck family.
Bing Russell was like Bill Veeck and Mike Veeck because he also had serious challenges taking on the Major League Baseball establishment. As a result, his club being named the Portland Mavericks couldn’t be more fitting. He was indeed a maverick unafraid to lose.
And speaking of comparisons, here is one more you likely won’t miss. Kurt Russell got more than his share of facial features from his mother, Louise. Sweet Lou plays a big role in in The Battered Bastards of Baseball, and she is most enjoyable. If you’re like me, you can’t help but focusing on the uncanny resemblance.
The game of baseball has a way of attracting uniquely Fun personalities like Bing Russell. In turn, part of the magic here is he able to attract a team filled with personalities.
If you are looking for takeaways from watching this documentary, there are some. For starters, you can easily see come how much Fun everyone on the team was having. They were living in the moment with all they had. And secondly, you may feel great watching Bing Russell make his own professional baseball dream come true while sharing it with many players who otherwise would never have gotten the chance to live theirs.
And yes, we are again talking about Kurt Russell here.
Watch The Battered Bastards of Baseball trailer below.