Posted on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
The story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent minor-league baseball team that ruled the Pacific Northwest in the ’70s, is almost too good to be true. Founded by actor Bing Russell, the team counted his son, Kurt Russell, as a member, and brought together a bunch of hopeful oddballs from all over the country. The Battered Bastards of Baseball tells the story of the Mavericks, and it is a nearly unbelievable tale of success and scrappy play. This is a very funny, entertaining film, and one that has more love of the game of baseball than anything else I’ve seen this year.
Watch the Battered Bastards of Baseball trailer below.
The Battered Bastards of Baseball begins playing on Netflix on Friday July 11. Trailer via Netflix.
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.