clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The next great baseball movie?

Yeah, maybe. What we learned from Moneyball: The Movie is that a great story, however unfilmable it might seem, can be turned into a great movie in the right creative hands. Well, people have been trying to turn the Portland Mavericks into a movie for decades, because it's a great story. Finally, that story might fall into the right creative hands:

The wild tale of the Portland Mavericks looks to be coming to the big screen via one of its former employees. "Little Children" director and former Mavericks batboy Todd Field is in talks to direct and write an adaptation of the documentary "The Battered Bastards Of Baseball," I've learned. Helmed by Chapman Way and MacLain Way and featuring multiple appearances by their uncle and former Maverick himself Kurt Russell, the docu launched in the Documentary Premiere section of this year's Sundance Film Festival on January 20 ... In play right now with several buyers at Sundance, according to sources close to the film, Battered Bastards chronicles how in 1973 Bonanza actor Bing Russell formed what at the time was America's sole independent baseball team. Seen as a real-life version of the Bad News Bears, the Mavericks lasted three years before they were pushed out of Portland by the return of the major-league-backed Portland Beavers.

This story should be inspiring to aspiring artists everywhere. The Way brothers started with a great story and some great contacts, but very little experience or money. But they're good guys who kept plugging away, learning as they went along, and suddenly they're in the pink. They've made a documentary that's received good notices at Sundance, which is a stunning achievement no matter what happens next.

And of course it's possible that nothing will happen next. It's quite possible that The Battered Bastards of Baseball is not coming soon to a theater near you. It's quite possible that nobody will option the documentary for a feature film. And even if it's optioned, the great majority of optioned projects don't actually get made.

I haven't seen Battered Bastards yet. Soon, I hope. Here's what I think is likely, though: Thanks to the wonders of streaming video, you will be able to see the movie at some point in 2014, and you'll enjoy the hell out of it. Chap and Mac already beat the odds, and I couldn't be happier for them.