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Ballplayer: Pelotero


Executive produced by Major League Baseball manager Bobby Valentine, this documentary examines the lives of two 15-year-old Dominican baseball prospects and details how Major League squads find raw talent in that rich baseball culture. These two players are approaching a momentous milestone, because when they turn 16 they are able to sign with an American ball club.
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Executive produced by Major League Baseball manager Bobby Valentine, this documentary examines the lives of two 15-year-old Dominican baseball prospects and details how Major League squads find raw talent in that rich baseball culture. These two players are approaching a momentous milestone, because when they turn 16 they are able to sign with an American ball club.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Photo Gallery; Original Theatrical Trailer; Other Strand Releasing Trailers
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Premiering in theaters on the heels of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, Ballplayer: Pelotero is a perfectly timed look at the complicated culture surrounding the "MLB farm system" that has steadily developed in the Dominican Republic since the 1960s and burgeoned exponentially in the past decade as bigger and brighter stars have emerged. The story unfolds in 2009 and focuses primarily on two highly touted prospects -- 16-year-old Jean Carlos Batista and 15-year-old Miguel Angel Sanó - "peloteros" ballplayers living in the Dominican Republic, but counting the days until July 2, when they are eligible to sign with a MLB team. Both boys live in poverty and feel enormous pressure to garner the biggest possible signing bonus in order to rescue their families from the fate that awaits so many Dominicans who don't have the same opportunities. Narrated by John Leguizamo, the documentary skillfully weaves parallel but intertwining storylines: the human drama surrounding the two players and their quest to sign for top dollar and the problematic system they must navigate -- one that is ripe for corruption and exploitation. Since the signing of the first Dominicans in the early '60s, the number of players has skyrocketed to its current level, with nearly 20% of all players in the minors and majors coming from that country. With signing bonuses increasing along with the star power, the competition has become fiercer than ever. Using the months as interstitials, the story counts down from March -- when training starts in earnest and players begin trying out for various MLB teams who each have their own Dominican academies and negotiating contracts, through July -- when the players who have turned 16 can be signed and receive their much-anticipated bonuses. The intensity of the movie increases dramatically when the standard investigation into player eligibility begins. Since a ballplayer's stock drops drastically after he turns 16, the use of steroids and fake birth certificates has risen over the years, so the scrutiny by Major League Baseball is higher than ever. If a player isn't able to sign on July 2, his bonus is likely to be much lower, but many players get caught in the bureaucracy involved in the investigations and miss the deadline -- and Jean Carlos and Miguel Angel are no exception. The second half of the film follows their diverging, yet ultimately similar stories as they ride a rollercoaster of optimism, fear, frustration, and hopelessness. The contrast between the two teens is pronounced -- Jean Carlos is more introspective and less confident. His father died when he was ten and he has worked ever since to help support his mother. He lives with his trainer, who is also a father figure, but misses his mother and feels increasing pressure to do well as the tryout season progresses. Miguel Angel, who many agree is the top prospect in the nation, is cockier and brasher. Nicknamed "Bocatón" "Big Mouth", he's sure from the beginning that he'll be able to sign in the neighborhood of $5 million. But as the tension surrounding the player investigations increases, the film begins to work like a suspenseful drama -- complete with hidden cameras, accusations of blackmail, and claims of exploitation of the poor -- as we await the outcome. With superb editing, the filmmakers deftly weave interviews with MLB scouts, the players' personal trainers who typically don't get paid until their charges sign a contract, agents, and the players and their families, with traditional music and the familiar sights and sounds of the game showing the contrast between the pure joy of baseball and the hardcore, and often problematic, business that it has become in the Dominican Republic.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/4/2012
  • UPC: 712267320523
  • Original Release: 2011
  • Rating:

  • Source: Strand Home Video
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:17:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 48,692

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Leguizamo Voice Only
Miguel Angel Sano Participant
Juan Carlos Batista Participant
Astin Jacobo Participant
Vasilio Moreno Tejeda Participant
Technical Credits
Ross Finkel Director, Cinematographer, Producer, Screenwriter
Trevor Martin Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Jonathan Paley Director, Original Story, Producer, Screenwriter
Gina Castrignano Executive Producer
Robert Castrignano Executive Producer
Douglas Lorentz Executive Producer
Mary Manhardt Editor
Andrew Muscato Executive Producer
Robert Musumeci Executive Producer
Eileen O'Neill Musical Direction/Supervision
Isaac Solotaroff Editor, Producer
Bobby Valentine Executive Producer
Josh Wolf Original Story
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Ballplayer: Pelotero
1. Opening [6:36]
2. Difficult Plays [7:13]
3. Tryouts [7:05]
4. We're Moving [5:38]
5. Good Bonus [6:53]
6. June [9:06]
7. Merchandise [6:14]
8. Mafia [6:38]
9. Proof [7:04]
10. At Last [6:20]
11. Very Bright [4:53]
12. Credits [3:17]
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Disc #1 -- Ballplayer: Pelotero
   Play Feature
   Bonus Features
      Photo Gallery
      Original Theatrical Trailer
   Other Strand Releasing Trailers
      Crazy Eyes
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