A movie maker heard my baseball story, gave my wife his business card and told her that I should give him a call. About a month later I did, we had a couple meetings. The producer thought that not only was the story interesting but I could tell it well. So now they are filming a documentary about it.
The story braids a few interesting paths, each rare unto itself, but the fact that they all come together in one life is unique. The reactions I get from people who hear it, the press and now from the movie makers, have been quite remarkable.
Briefly, this is the deal. I loved baseball and had talent but could not play organized ball because I grew up as an observant Jew and also spent key childhood years in Israel. The first time I played organized baseball I was almost 24 years old. I was a lefty armed with a 90mph fastball and the experience level of a tee ball player. By the time I could harness my talent I had a family and was too old to pursue a baseball career. Along comes the IBL. Thinking it is absurd to start playing pro ball at 45, I skip the first tryout being held a couple hour drive from my house. Next tryout is being held in Petach Tikvah, Israel, the same town where my parents and siblings live. I can resist no longer and fly over for the tryout. Dan Duquette, ex general manager of my beloved Red Sox, watches the tryout and bingo I am offered a contract to play pro ball. There’s quite a bit more but that is it in a nutshell.
They started shooting a couple weeks ago. The plan is to do a lot of filming over the next few weeks and then they will follow to Israel. The first filming was at opening day for the Eagles, a team I play for in Manchester, NH. It was a little nerve racking for a few reasons. First, it was opening day. But I had also been working out over the winter and was eager to test some of the stuff I have been working on against live batters. And of course, I had no idea what to expect with the filming. I also did not know how the team would react with a camera not only following me around but them too.
Everything turned out fine. Warming up with a camera in my face was not what I was used to but I was very focused on the job at hand, and did not really let it effect me. The team also operated as if nothing was happening. As for the game itself, we won 7-0. I pitched the first three innings, gave up no runs, striking out seven but walking three. I could feel I needed to work on some mechanical issues. My goal the next game was to iron out some mechanics and not to issue any walks. The next game I pitched the first five innings giving up no walks or earned runs, unfortunately we lost the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was a sloppy game by both teams. I am in a strange spot. I view my Eagles season as my pre season for the IBL. I want to try and test new things. On the other hand, this is not pre season for the Eagles, so I need to pitch optimally for their sake. I try to balance the two. The one mistake I made was throwing three consecutive splitters and leaving the third one up and in. It was hit for a long double. Luckily, I got out of the inning unscathed.
This is where the filming got a little weird. On Sunday night the film guys came to my house to start interviewing. Though I have no problem talking to the camera, I found myself saying things that if taken out of context can make me sound more than a little wacky.
In a couple weeks filming will be done in Teaneck, New Jersey. My best friend Yitzie and I will go around to the old neighborhood where we grew up playing stickball.