Television actor-turned-director Brian Robbins follows up Varsity Blues (1999) and Ready to Rumble (2000) with another sports comedy. Keanu Reeves stars as Conor O'Neill, an underachiever and inveterate sports gambler who needs a bailout loan from a friend to pay off his mounting debt. As a condition for receiving the necessary funds, Conor is saddled with coaching a corporate-sponsored Little League baseball team for underprivileged youth in Chicago's notorious Cabrini Green housing project. Reluctant at first, Conor slowly begins to enjoy his new authority role, especially when he makes the acquaintance of his players' attractive teacher, Elizabeth Wilkes (Diane Lane). Based on the real-life chronicle Hardball: A Season in the Projects by Outside magazine editor Daniel Coyle, Hardball also stars D.B. Sweeney and Mike McGlone.