Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Review of The Basbeall Movie "The Mendoza Line"

As a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, IBWAA, you get certain perks besides the recognition that you receive and one of them is getting free sneak previews of upcoming baseball movies and books. The Mendoza Line is one of those movies that I got to preview before everyone else recently and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with the story, the camera work, and the movie overall. The movie was written by Nathan Kauffman and describes his movie plot below:

Coffee is big business in Chiapas, Mexico. It is also an area where baseball is even more popular than soccer. When coffee rust, a plant disease decimates the industry, five year old Ricardo Perez is taken across the Rio Grande in search of a better life with his family. Before Ricardo’s father abandons him and his mother, he instills a love of baseball in his son who manages to combine a little talent and a lot of hard work to secure a low round draft ticket to the minor leagues. He is now struggling through his third year in A-ball as a back-up catcher, barely hitting above The Mendoza Line (.200). His marriage to Christina is on the rocks. Her patience of spending the summers in a small hot valley town with no friends, caring for their two year old son, working two part-time jobs while supporting Ricardo’s progressively unrealistic dream is wearing thin. As undocumented immigrants, they are constantly looking over their shoulders.
Phil Pichette is Ricardo’s manager, disciplinarian, teacher, role model and father figure tasked with indoctrinating young players into the athletic and business realities of the game, while trying to advance his own career and keeping his own marriage on an even keel. Gino Montoya is the sage, veteran roving instructor; the philosopher king, baseball guru and cranky old man of the organization, always one step away from retirement but unwilling to finally cut the baseball cord and always mindful of the racial and cultural barriers he overcame on his way to major league success.
The Mendoza Line takes place in the span of a few days after the June draft when a handful of minor league baseball players will be released to make way for the newest prospects. There is no predictable melodramatic “big game” ending. Ricardo is faced with finality of his baseball dreams, face his limitations, put childish things behind and find a way of adjusting priorities and moving on with life.

First I want to say that this is not you're stereotypical baseball movie, and I like that, as the story has not been told like this before. It seems like there is definitely some truth to the story and it's a story that most of us do not hear about. Me personally, this story touched me a little because I am friends with former Yankee pitcher Alan Horne who never made it to the big leagues due to a shoulder injury. The finality of his baseball career and what he is doing after baseball really seemed like it had him depressed for a while, to the point even where he didn't even wanna talk baseball. The story is great and it really touched home. Definitely worth the 82 minutes to watch and I absolutely plan to watch this again.

You can rent the movie on vimeo if you are interested for $9.99 RIGHT HERE. It's worth the money in my opinion so check it out. Two thumbs up from The Greedy Pinstripes.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)