Fastball (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
July 16, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Fastball” is one of the best baseball documentaries ever created! Well-researched, well-edited and featuring well-selected archived sources and also going as far to interview former legends to current elite pitchers in the MLB. “Fastball” is a documentary that well-crafted, amazing and highly recommended!
© 2015 Pitcher’s Mound Productions LLC. All Rights Reserved.
FILM RELEASE: 2015
DURATION: 86 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English 5.1 Suround
COMPANY: Kino Lorber
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Directed by Jonathan Hock
Produced by Philip A. Aromando, Michael Tollin, Thomas Tull
Executive Producer: Jack Selby
Co-Executive Producer: David Check, Nicholas Trotta
Associate Producer: David Kaufmann
Music by Tony Morales
Edited by Peter Panagoulias, Steven Pilgrim
Kevin Costner (Narrator)
The essence of baseball is the primal battle between the pitcher and the batter, a magical moment only 396 milliseconds in the making. The mysteries and memories of baseball s greatest heroes are revealed in Fastball, as it features interviews with dozens of former players, from legendary Hall-of-Famers to up-and-coming All-Stars, including Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan, and Derek Jeter, with narration by Kevin Costner (Field of Dreams). Fastball is peppered with archival footage of baseball s greatest moments, plus original high-speed 4K footage and motion graphics that unlock the secrets hidden within a ball traveling over 100 mph. While players, historians, and scientists might disagree on who was actually the fastest pitcher in history – and yes, the film does the physics and concludes with a clear verdict – Fastball tells the story of the game itself.
To throw a fastball, it’s a duty of a pitcher to throw this type of pitch.
But in the history of baseball, there are a few “power pitchers” who are able to consistently throw over 100 mph with great control.
Jonathan Hock, director of ESPN’s “30 for 30”, “Through the Fire”, “Off the Rez”, “The Lost Son of Havana” and producer Thomas Tull (“Dark Knight”, “Inception”, “42”, “Jurassic World”) explores the mysteries and memories of baseball’s greatest heroes.
Narrated by Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves”, “Waterworld”, “The Untouchables”, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”), the film features interviews with current and former baseball players about the fastball, their approach to it but also their memories of the best pitchers. But also examining data of who has thrown the fastest fastball in baseball history.
The film explores the pitching of Walter “The Big Train” Johnson, the person who is known for popularizing the fastball and became a hero for throwing the fastest fastball of all time (122 feet per second). And many people who traveled long and far to watch Walter Johnson pitch. And also showcasing one of the fastest pitchers today, Aroldis Chapman.
But also exploring various fastball pitchers such as Richard Michael “Goose” Gossage, Bob “Hoot” Gibson, Craig Kimbrel and more.
But also showcasing Steve Dalkowski, considered as one of the best fastball pitcher’s (rumored to throw 125 mph) that unfortunately never played an official game due to a freak accident before he was to pitch his first game in the majors. An a player that inspired the character of “Nuke” LaLoosh in the 1988 film “Bull Durham”.
And also featuring legendary pitcher, Sanford “Sandy” Koufax, who had six outstanding years (including becoming the first pitcher to achieve four no-hitters, the eighth pitcher to pitch a perfect game and winner of the NL Triple Crown) but unfortunately, had a career that ended at the age of 30 due to arthritis.
And featuring one of the best pitchers of all time, Nolan Ryan who is the all-time leader in no-hitters, leader in strikeouts, fewest hits allowed per nine innings and a player who has played in 27 seasons.
Also, the documentary showcases the the original and modern technology to estimate the speed of a fastball. The human brain’s perception of a fastball pitch, which player that baseball legends think is the hardest pitcher of all time and ending with the evaluation by scientists of who is the fast pitcher of all time.
“Fastball” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio) and is a documentary that features modern footage via digital video and also incorporates footage from archived sources throughout baseball history. For the most part, for a documentary with so much classic footage, different sources vary in quality but for the most part, “Fastball” looks very good in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Fastball” is presented in English 5.1 Surround and narration and spoken dialogue is clear and understandable.
Subtitles are in English SDH.
“Fastball” comes with the following special features:
- Extended Interviews – (31:15) Featuring extended versions of the interviews featured in the film.
- Hall of Fame Outtakes – (2:21) Featuring outtakes with five Hall of Famers discussing various pitchers.
- Steve Dalkowski Extended Scene – (11:37) Featuring more extended scenes of the Steve Dalkowski segment.
- Trailer – The theatrical trailer for “Fastball”.
For any baseball fan, “Fastball” is a magnificent documentary researching the fastest and hardest throwing pitchers in baseball history.
Well-researched, edited and featuring archived footage of the best pitchers who can throw a fastball to interviews with baseball legends and current MLB players, “Fastball” will no doubt entertain you but it also tackles one of the most hotly debated topics of baseball with an unofficial test of who has thrown the fastest fastball in MLB history.
“Fastball” definitely takes a lot of players into consideration but also paying respect by showcasing magical moments of baseball history, including what was once lost footage of Sandy Koufax’s pitching during the night of his famous no-hitter, a fascinating interview with Bob “Hoot” Gibson, especially going into his ability to take on batters (including throwing a ball at them) but also the racial tensions that existed at the time.
Possibly two of the most fascinating scenes involve the legend Nolan Ryan and his historical moments throughout his career, but also interviewing the pitcher about his final pitch.
But as the documentary showcases those who have achieve success, the documentary also shows one of the heartbreaking stories of baseball, the legend that never was, Steve Dalkowski. “Fastball” creators were able to track down Dalkowski, who went through hard times after the freak accident that claimed his baseball career and to show what had happened to the player after the accident and what is he up to today.
And of course, showcasing the technology that was used from past to present in measuring the speed of a pitch and scientist trying to determine who threw the fastest pitch of all time. And trying to ascertain how fast the pitchers from the past were, and compared to pitchers today.
The Blu-ray release features great picture quality but one should know that because the documentary features different archived sources from different eras of baseball history, picture quality of those archived sources differ from each other. But modern footage looks great! As for lossless audio, the documentary is primarily dialogue-driven and dialogue is crystal clear. “Fastball” also comes with a few special features including extended interviews, Hall of Fame outtakes and an extended scene of Steve Dalkowski’s segment.
Overall, “Fastball” is one of the best baseball documentaries ever created! Well-researched, well-edited and featuring well-selected archived sources and also going as far to interview former legends to current elite pitchers in the MLB.
“Fastball” is a documentary that well-crafted, amazing and highly recommended!
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