If you enjoyed Ken Burns' classic documentary Baseball, you are certainly going to enjoy Bottom of the Ninth directed by Chuck Braverman. It's not the same kind of documentary but it is just as fascinating. Braverman also produced this baseball documentary DVD and had the very good idea of providing alternate audio tracks so you can either hear the colorful language the players use or you can watch cleaned-up batter version where each expletive is replaced with a crack of the bat so you can enjoy it with your family. Bottom of the Ninth is a fascinating baseball movie that will remind you why we all love baseball so much in spite of the major leaguers.
Bottom of the Ninth follows the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League, a professional baseball league where dreams go to either die or survive a little longer. This is true for both players and the coaching staff. For example John The Count Montefusco is hired as the pitching coach after having had a hard time getting back into baseball because of some personal problems.
The players of the Somerset Patriots remind you how hard it is to make it to the show and, if you are lucky enough to make it, stay in the show. Many of them are pretty realistic when it comes to their baseball career though they still keep the dream alive. Still, Bottom of the Ninth is an appropriate title for this baseball documentary DVD as for many players this is pretty much the end of the game. As they themselves say, making it to the majors is more than a question of talent; there is also being in the right place at the right time, the vagaries of life (such as being sent down because Michael Jordan wants to try his luck at baseball one year), numbers, and all the imponderables.
The most important reason Bottom of the Ninth works is Chuck Braverman lets the players speak. He is also able to build up the tension as the team is in the playoffs for the league championship. What really stunned me though is the sound quality of this documentary DVD: You hear the crack of the bat of course but also the woosh of the pitch leaving the pitcher's hand. It is exactly as if you are there.
Bottom of the Ninth is a superb, intelligent, well-made baseball documentary DVD that belongs right next to Ken Burns' Baseball.