Friday, June 3, 2016

The Resurrection of Jake The Snake & The Battered Bastards Of Baseball

Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement…

A bit of a bonus blog, as today I want to talk about a pair of documentaries that I watched this week, The Resurrection of Jake The Snake and The Battered Bastards of Baseball.

We’ll start with The Resurrection Of Jake The Snake… for those of you who may not know, Jake Roberts is one of the all time greats of professional wrestling, but he has battled substance abuse for years… in the fall of 2012 he moved with Diamond Dallas Page with the goal of getting clean, sober and back in shape… Page being one of the most ‘positive people’ on the planet, invested his time and effort into this cause because years earlier Roberts helped him out in his career… along the way Scott Hall, another wrestler who has battled similar demons to Jake, moved in and through hard work and dedication the story has a happy ending of both men ending up in the WWE Hall of Fame.

This probably isn’t the best summary of the documentary, because it hits a lot of lows and a lot of highs, but you basically get the story of where Jake was in 2012 and how far he came by 2014. Page having the foresight to get as much as possible on film from the very start may seem a bit odd, but one could argue that he ‘knew’ he was going to get Jake (and by proxy Scott) into the best condition, both mentally and physically’ they have been in years.

It really is a great watch, seeing the transformation take place, and it’s pretty damn inspiring.

The other documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, tells the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent Class-A team owned by the late Bing Russell. After the Portland Beavers (A Triple-A affiliate then associated with the Cleveland Indians) was moved to Spokane, Washington, Russell founded the Portland Mavericks to be apart of the Northwest League, as the sole independent club, as in no association with a Major League Franchise. From 1973 to 1977, the team  best described as cast-offs, had winning seasons and four division titles while also doing something that was was being killed off by Major League Baseball at the time… having fun.

You see, because they were an independent team and didn’t have to worry about any of their players being moved up to Double-A, Triple-A or even the Major Leagues, the Mavericks were able to gel as a team and didn’t have to adhere with a lot of the cold, manufactured ‘business’ style of baseball… which really pissed off MLB, because here was this ragamuffin team beating their minor league teams that have players they drafted. Hell the only reason the Mavericks never won a championship was because they would end up facing players from the higher levels of their opponents franchise who were sent down to basically to tip the scales in the favor of their affiliated clubs.

This documentary sees interviews with team alumni Kurt Russell (star of such films like Escape from New York), Jim Bouton (World Series Champion with the New York Yankees), Oscar Award Winner Todd Field (Who was team bat boy) and others… and really show cases the for a magical time out in the Pacific Northwest in the mid 70s, the underdogs had their day.

Both films are currently available on Netflix and I encourage everyone to check them out!

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