Ballplayer: Pelotero | Chicago Reader

Ballplayer: Pelotero

This competent documentary looks at the training and recruiting of baseball players in the Dominican Republic, which produces nearly 20 percent of athletes in the major leagues. As one agent in the movie bluntly puts it, pro baseball treats the republic like a bargain basement, paying far less for promising talent there than in the continental U.S. Yet Dominican players regularly sacrifice their childhoods in hope of getting recruited at 16; they train nonstop from age 11 and submit to humiliating examinations once the majors take interest. Directors John Paley, Ross Finkel, and Trevor Martin try to soften these ugly truths with sentimental stories of teenagers getting signed and pulling their families out of poverty, but the portrait of widespread exploitation overwhelms the intended effect of these subplots. In English and subtitled Spanish.

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