Posted by paulrivas on:
Twenty percent of all professional baseball players in the United States are from the Dominican Republic. The system by which Dominican prospects are discovered, trained and signed to professional contracts is exploitative and criminal. Players lie about their age, trainers get un-American percentages of their players’ signing bonuses, and agents like Rob Plummer "basically broker Dominican 16-year-olds to Major League Baseball teams."
But if you’re interested enough in baseball to sit through a feature-length documentary, you knew all that already.
Pelotero is a film without an audience. I’ve been thinking about this over and over again ever since I sat through it on Sunday night wondering if it was ever going to say anything to which I wasn’t already hip, and my conclusion is that if it hadn’t been for Michael Prodanovich’s mom’s partner Karl Koerbling asking whether any professional teams beside US ones have set up baseball academies in the Dominican Republic, I wouldn’t have learned anything at this movie.
The answer, as director Ross Finkel and producer Andrew Moscato explained during the Q&A, is that the Hiroshima Toyo Carp are the only non-American team with a Dominican academy, and that’s where they got Alfonso Soriano, before the latter ended up in the grandes ligas.
Finkel said Pelotero started as a school project, which explains why the finished product resembles a book report on film. Moscato said that Bobby Valentine is a partner in his production company, which explains how a baseball film whose content is this predictable ever got made.
If you’re the rare American who loves baseball but has never heard of San Pedro de Macorís, go see Pelotero tomorrow, February 3 at 8am at the Metro IV or Saturday, February 4, at 10am at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Wait! I just thought of something else I learned: in the Dominican Republic, they call a grounder a rolling.