“The Battered Bastards of Baseball” impresses Sundance

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You can pay obsessive attention to baseball for years and still come across something you’ve never seen or heard of before. So it is with the Portland Mavericks and the documentary “The Battered Bastards of Baseball,” which chronicles their brief, colorful history.

I had heard of a minor league team in Portland in the 70s called the Portland Mavericks and knew Jim Bouton played for them for a spell (and that he co-invented Big League Chew with teammate Rob Nelson at the time). I had no idea, however, that the Mavericks were an independent team that played in an otherwise affiliated league: the class-A Northwest League. I also didn’t know that they were owned by actor Bing Russell, father of Kurt Russell and grandfather of former big leaguer Matt Franco. And that Kurt played for the team himself. And that the batboy was Todd Field who would later go on to direct “In the Bedroom” and “Little Children.” Or that, despite being unaffiliated, the team had no small amount of success and drew excellent crowds.

The documentary just played at the Sundance Film Festival and its rights were bought up by “Fast and Furious” director Justin Lin who plans to adapt it into a feature length film. You have to figure the documentary itself will get some extra exposure as well some point soon. If anyone sees where it may be playing on TV please let us all know.

Astros to display domestic violence hotline number on fliers in bathroom stalls at Minute Maid Park

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MLB.com’s Alyson Footer reports that the Astros will display the number for the domestic violence hotline on fliers in bathroom stalls at Minute Maid Park. That was one of several efforts the organization committed to in an announcement on Monday. Other efforts include partnering with more than a dozen local and state agencies which advocate for preventing domestic violence.

The Astros Foundation has also donated $214,000 to Family Services of Southeast Texas to complete its women’s center. The Astros Foundation is also donating $10,000 to the Montgomery County Women’s Shelter and will sponsor several fundraisers with The FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center, Fort Bend County Women’s Center, Daya, Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, and the Houston Area Women’s Center. Furthermore, the Astros Foundation is partnering with AVDA to facilitate the Futures Without Violence Program which “teaches leaders and coaches how to break the cycle of family violence by educating the next generation.”

The Astros’ effort involving the fliers sticks out, though, because a fan was kicked out of Minute Maid Park last month for holding up a sign simply displaying the number for the Houston Area Women’s Center’s domestic violence hotline number. Hopefully, the Astros have reached out to that fan to apologize and make up for an egregious decision.

The Astros are making this effort because the organization has come under tremendous controversy since trading for embattled closer Roberto Osuna earlier this season. On June 22, Osuna was suspended 75 games for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. Osuna had been arrested on May 8 in Toronto and charged with domestic assault. In late September, Osuna showed up in Toronto court and the charges were withdrawn — largely because his accuser did not wish to travel from Mexico to appear in court — and he accepted a peace bond.

In the time since Osuna was acquired, various members of the Astros including Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch, and Ryan Pressly went out their way to defend him from the press and from fans. The Astros’ aforementioned efforts to do right will ring hollow if they continue to bring alleged abusers on board then shield them.

(As I write this, by the way, Osuna just got hammered for five runs in the top of the eighth inning. He gave up a grand slam to Jackie Bradley, Jr. to cap off his disastrous appearance. Does karma exist? Tough to say.)