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Documentary – The Renegades a Beep ball story

Baseball Hall of Fame Weekend – a Beep Baseball Bash!

Dreams of The Baseball Hall of Fame

Writtten by Rob Weissman

As a kid, I studied baseball cards and the baseball encyclopedia.  I played Strat-o-Matic baseball and even played video games while keeping score and tracking my own fake stats.  A baseball geek would be a way to describe my past present and surely my future.  At one point in life, I could open to any page of the baseball encyclopedia and I could give information on at least one player from that page.  I could intelligently debate with anyone about the merits of a player making the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I was serious about this! It helped me collect baseball cards of players who I thought would be good investments.  After all, in the 80’s, I had cards worth over $500 each with this research (and luck).

My baseball career started off great. Early in my little league career the coaches voted me to all-star teams in Farm and Minor Leagues as a first-baseman who could jump and get all the bad throws from young kids.  As I got a little bigger,  my game seemed to peek.

When I was 13, my heart broke when I received the news I was cut from the team.  That experience made me work harder.  I never got cut again from travel ball. Getting on base and playing with heart was my ticket to making the team.  Learning to play other positions  also helped make me a more marketable player.  Hitting never came easy.  As I know now, my mechanics were long.  However, I peppered the parking lots with foul balls and drew walks.  Sadly. I could not make my Junior High team or my High School team.  My Hall of Fame dreams were over….so I thought.

Our Documentary plays at the Hall

In 2013, a documentary I starred in played at the Baseball Hall of Fame Film Festival and holy crap, did that feel amazing.  People came to watch a film about our team.  People stopped us to talk about the film all weekend.  I felt like we had accomplished something special. We had helped a lot of people along the way.

My Father

On the way home from the 2015 World Series in Rochester, the Hall asked us stop to do a presentation.  Personally, it was bittersweet.  Just the day before, while sitting at the Championship game, I got a call that will live with me forever.  My dad was unconscious in an ambulance.  He passed away before making it to the hospital.

As a young boy, my dad told me stories of his professional baseball career.  I only half believed him.  After all, most kids idolize their Billy Williams Topps Baseball Card with the Cubsdad and who would think they would lie to them, at the age of like 7 or 8. This story got real for me in school.  I told my friend, Bob Sundberg this story of my dad’s baseball career. With energy and clarity, Bob quickly claimed he thought he had my dad’s baseball card.  This suddenly seemed real to me.

After a short time, we discovered this card was not Bill Weissman, but soon to be hall of famer, Billy Williams.  A joke from my dad turned into anxious excitement from this kid. It was even funnier that this story lived on for so long till we actually found the baseball card.

Seeing Bobby Doerr get inducted as part of the class of 1986 with my father was memorable.  It was exciting to see a Red Sox get into the Hall.  The flight home may have been more memorable  My dad was a pilot in those days and flew a small 4 seater Cesna with one propeller. Flying home, we hit major storms with lightning screaming by our plane.  The turbulence were so bad,  my head hit the ceiling before I buckled in.  If you think flying is scary, you would not have survived that flight.

Working with the Hall in 2015 & 2017

Back to 2015 – As I sat and watched Bryan Grillo and Guy Zuccarello talk to the Hall of Fame crowd.  I sat with pride in what we have done.  I had hopes my dad was watching.  It was exciting to give these two giant baseball fans the chance to feel what I felt in 2013.  Bryan and Guy deserved to have their own Hall of Fame moments.

I also had a chance to help someone I did not know from Texas.  Brandon Chesser, of the Austin Blackhawks was with us because I helped get his name into the Hall of Fame.  His shirt, gloves, blindfold and picture were on display at the Hall of Fame.  How cool was it that I helped make a dream come true for him?

Rob donates a bat used by Christian Thaxton to Shirley Tyler of the National Baseball Hall of Fame to represent his record batting average at the World Series

In 2017, I went back to Cooperstown and donated a Renegade’s bat used by Christian Thaxton.  Thax had set a league record, batting .897 at the World Series.  Cooperstown wanted his bat.  I brought this bat in person to the Baseball Hall of Fame Film festival.  The same festival we appeared in during the fall of 2013.  I handed the bat to Shirley Tyler with beaming pride.

Shirley and I spoke and she wanted to do a program with our team.  The seed was planted.  While at this film festival, I learned of an Author Series.  I quickly reached out to David Wanczyk to gauge his interest.  It was off the charts!  Of course, at this time, his book was not done.

Our trip to the Hall in 2018!

Beep Started it all

As the calendar changed to 2018, Dave’s book was becoming a reality.  It debuted in April, just as the buys of summer were coming Picture of the cover of the Book Beepback from Spring Training.  Shortly after there, Wanzcyk told me his book was accepted to the Author Series.  I was on the phone with Shirley Tyler.  We developed a program to tie that Author series into a day of beep baseball at the Hall of Fame!

I wrote a lot about this program in the summer and won‘t rehash it.  Instead, let me talk about the experience.  When the chips fell, ten Renegades made the trek. Joe Yee likes baseball, he can’t tell you stats, but likes the game.  He likes adventures even more and this was an adventure for him.  Rob Thayer missed the 2018 World Series due to an injury that could have resulted in the loss of a toe.  There wasn’t anything stopping him from making this trip. Rookie, David Sanchez is possibly the biggest baseball fan amongst the players and was excited to see the Hall for the first time.  Christian Thaxton played junior college baseball and was motivated to go as his bat was now in Cooperstown.

Excited to share it with this group

For the Renegade coaches, I was so excited to go with this group.  I grew up with Ron Cochran and Jason Lenicheck.  I was looking

Group picture of 12 of us at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Picture of the Renegades and Rochester Pioneers at the Hall of Fame

forward to going to this baseball mecca with guys I grew up playing with.  Bryan Grillo was also with us, my partner in crime with Red Sox season tickets and one of the fathers of beep baseball in the New England area.  On the other hand, Hunter and Teigan Weissman came along as well.  What a thrill it was to take my nephews.  They are both big baseball fans and I was anxious to show them things I knew they had never known.

We also got some help from the Rochester Pioneers.  Since they are the closest team to the Hall, I invited them.  Coach Mike Fisher and player Helen Jones came down to participate.  Also in attendance was the NBBA PR chair, Darnell Booker.  He brought with him NBBA lifer and current San Antonio Jet, Dave Benney.  These self-proclaimed baseball junkies had never been to the Hall and were so excited to be a part of it.  I was so happy to get some help, and to give them an opportunity to feel as special as I did in 2013.

My hopes and dreams

Here were my personal goals for the weekend.  I wanted everyone who came to have a part in the program and to feel special.  I wanted to share this time with my friends and my nephews and give my nephews a time they would never forget.  Getting to see  Christian Thaxton experience seeing his bat in Cooperstown would be amazing.

Anyone who knows me or sees me volunteering for the Renegades knows I go into project management mode.  I get in the zone.  It’s a pure mix of adrenaline and excitement mixed with a desire to market the sport and grow our team’s resources.  I always have an eye to the future hoped this could help us in many ways tell our story.  Over the past few years I have learned this “mode” brings me stress.  I need to breathe.  I promised myself to have mindful moments. and to sit back and enjoy what others were doing.

Daily Line up from the Baseball Hall of Fame

Daily Line up given out at the entry of the Hall of Fame to let patrons know about events that day

Here we go!

The day started off with my nephews and I lugging equipment to the Hall’s loading dock.  Like a little kid, I was so excited to be able to see the back halls of this legendary place.  Heck, I was more excited than Hunter and Teigan.  We met up with Shirley soon at the learning center.  While there, she got us some help to set up the room.  She also handed me little placards they made for us.  Let me back track.

A week before the trip, I started to come up with ideas of what we could show in the learning center.  I pulled from my talks with museum curator, Tom shieber in 2014. He told me how they tell a story through artifacts.  Late at night, I would hammer out small stories about our artifacts.  On this day, my little notes, came to life with Hall of Fame placards!

Leading off:  Grillo, Thaxton and Yee!

Huge lines were forming at the ticket office as they only had one ticket taker.  While this was happening, the hall was making announcements of our 10:00 program in the bullpen theater.  Bryan Grillo was the master of ceremonies for us there.  He had worked hard the night before to pull his presentation together with the notes from Joe Yee and Christian Thaxton.  We had a slide presentation queued up and ready to go from John Lykowski to show while they spoke.  The crowd was small, we had a few Mets fans there who stayed for the whole talk.  That did not ruin the experience for our gang.  They spoke eloquently and beamed with pride. Hunter caught the whole thing live on facebook live:

Batting Second:  Learning Center what a show!

Next up, was the Learning Center, which we would open at 11:00.  Darnell Booker, Bryan Grillo and Teigan Weissman did an amazing job inviting people into the learning center.  This room is very close to the entrance of the Hall.  Coaches and players stood in the learning center eagerly waiting the opportunity to tell their stories, explain the game and show off our artifacts.  We had over 20 artifacts to show people including obvious choices like a ball and a base.  We had Darnell’s championship ring from 2017 (we did not want his 2016 ring representing the defeat of the Renegades on display), we had marked out the distance from the mound to home on the floor, we had videos playing and so much more.  It was a huge hit.  We gave out close to 400 brochures to people in a few hours!  It was the highlight of the program.  Here is a link that will take you to a photo album showing most of the artifacts we had in the Learning center

Batting Third: David Wanczyk

At 1:00, it was time for David Wanczyk to take center stage.  In the bullpen theater, he read from his book.  He told stories about the game, talked about the history of different versions of baseball for the blind dating back over 100 years ago.  He also told the story of Ethan Johnston of the Colorado Storm.  That story is one of the most meaningful stories in the league.  You can watch his reading in our video below:

Something meaningful happened here for me.  The desk brought out for Dave to autograph his book on was familiar.  My father Stacks of "Beep" books sitting atop furniture made from my Father's factory at the Baseball Hall of Fameowned a furniture manufacturing business in Fitchburg, Mass.  In 1994, he bought a company from upstate, New York called Library Bureau.  In fact, I worked for this company till 2000.  Dave’s novels were neatly stacked on one of his tables from the Tecktonic line.  Not only are some of these pages telling stories of our squad and things I may have said, it also had a touching tribute to my late father.  Wow, this book, on his table in Cooperstown!  Chills went through my body.  In some Devine way, my dad was connected to this proud moment of my life.

Two patrons who fell in love with our sport kindly asked me for my autograph.  Wow, who am I to autograph a book in the Hall of Fame?  What an honor that was, I just hope people could read my handwriting.

Batting fourth – Come try the game!

At 2:00, we took the game outdoors to do a demo.  The closer to the museum we would be, the more people would get involved.  We did not have a big space at all. Dave Benney demonstrated how to defend a ball.  In a wet grass, he threw himself on the ground and muddied up his jeans.  Ron Cochran encouraged the group to give it a try.  Jason came up with a strange way to show them how to find a ball and walk to a base.  It gave people a sense of what its like to do these somewhat easy tasks in a very hard manner.  Everyone who was brave enough to try it, came away with a smile

While this was going on, we had re-opened the learning center as a way to feed people to the demo.  We probably kept this center open 90 minutes longer than planned due to the feedback and excitement from people who came into the room.

After the demo was over, eventually, Christian Thaxton, Ron Cochran and I went to the second floor to see Christian’s bat on display.  I will write more about that experience in another blog because that was totally mind-blowing for me.

Batting 5th – The Documentary

Dino Vasile on the “big Screen” in the Bullpen Theater at the National Baseball Hall of Fame

The amazing program wrapped up at 7:00 with a showing of our documentary.  I wish I could say the theater was full of eager Beepball fans.  Sadly, the only people there were the beep ballers.  Shirley had set my expectations this could happen because the museum was still open.  If you have ever been to the bullpen theater here, it’s not in the most central location.  It’s very off to the side, but is a hidden treasure of the Hall!  Sitting there, watching the film I had to sit and be mindful.  “Our story is in Cooperstown playing in a theater!”  We spent an entire day bringing this sport, its stories and our players to baseball fans from around the country.  I’m not sure I could ever have dreamt this up.

Closing thoughts

Logo for the Baseball Hall of FameAs I sat and narrated this movie to Dave Benney, I saw how young I looked in 2005.  I saw how raw of a coach I was.  High strung was surely a word to describe me.  The passion I have today burned so bright in those days of 2005.  Memories of the Billy Williams moment came to mind. I thought of all those baseball games I played with Ron Cochran and Jason Lenicheck in the 80’s raced past my eyes.  I just could not believe  my dream of being in the major leagues had turned to this.  I’m a coach of a baseball team for the blind with my friends and family.  We have helped change people’s lives and brought people together.  We were sitting in the National baseball Hall of fame and I’m beaming with pride, holding back tears of joy.  I’m one proud coach at this moment.  Though we are not hall of famers, we have a movie and now a book and a bat in the hall of fame.  Wow!

Renegades Release DVD of Documentary on FOX TV

On Friday, July 18th the Renegades appeared on Fox TV on the 5:00 news Live to promote the release of the Documentary on DVD from Best Dog Ever Films.  Joey Buizon, Rob Weissman and Jack Clancy appeared on the show for 4 minutes to promote the sale of the DVD.  Orders can be placed on the Renegades Website

Click here to see the Live broadcast on Fox TV

 

Rob, Jack and Wrong Way pose in front of a sign saying Fox TVIn the Fox Studio, Bob Ward interviews Wrong Way, Rob and Jack

 

This film won an award for best Feature length Documentary and also played at the Baseball Hall of Fame.  

Association of Blind Citizens Releases Award-Winning

Documentary on DVD

Movie from Best Dog Ever Films Showcases the Boston Renegades, Celebrates the Passion, Action and Drama of Beep Baseball

BOSTON – July 18, 2014 – The Association of Blind Citizens (ABC), a not for profit organization, is proud to announce the release of an award-winning documentary about Beep Baseball (“Beep Ball”) for the home video market.

“The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story” from Best Dog Ever Films chronicles a season of the Boston Renegades, New England’s only Beep Ball team. Demonstrating the passion, action and drama of the sport, the movie won the “Best Independent Documentary” honor at the SNOB (Somewhat North Of Boston) Film Festival in November 2012, and was screened during the eighth annual Baseball Hall of Fame Film Festival in September 2013.

Celebrating the abilities of blind and visually impaired athletes, the film features players hitting balls and diving headlong into bases. Beyond the games, it’s about the people and their stories. “The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story” looks at hope, heartache and what it means to play as a team. It also mixes in a fierce New York/Boston rivalry, an international World Series, the drama of a particular player’s hopes of making the team and a coach whose style can only be described as “tough love.”

Now on DVD, “The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story” is available in two formats, one of which includes an audio description for the blind and visually impaired community. To purchase the film ($20, plus $6 for shipping), learn more about Beep Ball and the Boston Renegades, please visit http://www.blindcitizens.org/renegades/buy-dvd/.

Beep Baseball is a game similar to baseball where a special beeping ball and buzzing bases are used to allow blind and visually impaired players to hit and run to the base. The Beep Ball emits a continuous sound and the bases are activated when the ball is hit. The bases also emit a locater tone so that a player can run toward the base. And like baseball, Beep Ball teams exist in many states, as well as internationally.

The Boston Renegades Beep Ball team is one of several activities operated by the ABC. This athletic program offers blind and legally blind players the chance to develop self-confidence, team-building skills and serves to educate the public regarding the abilities of blind and visually impaired people.

About The Association of Blind Citizens

The Association of Blind Citizens Inc., a not for profit organization, sponsors several innovative programs including adaptive recreational programs, a national Assistive Technology Fund, operates ABC Camp Pride, supports Braille literacy, produces internet programming for the blind community and develops accessible social and cultural events. For more information, please visit www.blindcitizens.org.

Renegade Documentary Comes to West Newton Cinema on May 18

Logos of ABC, Bookline Rotary club and the Renegades

 

Movie PosterOn Sunday, May 18 at 11:00 AM, the Association of Blind Citizens along with the Brookline Rotary Club will be having a special event to show an award winning documentary from Best Dog Ever Films The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story.  This film showcases the Boston Renegades and shows the passion, the action and the drama that occurs in your average beep ball season.

The movie will be shown at the West Newton Cinema located at 1296 Washington Street in Newton. The movie will be followed by a question and answer session where you can ask questions about the film to the Renegades and learn more about the team, the film and the sport.  Drawings for special prizes will be held at the end of the event.

100% of the $20 price of admission will go to help the Renegades fund the 2014 season.  We appreciate your support of our program. You can purchase tickets at the bottom of this page by clicking the “order now” button or by going to our eventbrite site at this link

Here is the schedule of events:

  • 10:30 AM:  Doors open at the West Newton Cinema
  • 11:00 AM:  The presentation of the movie will begin
  • 12:15 PM:  Question and answer session begins
  • 12:25 PM:  Drawings for special prizes

Here is the trailer of the movie:

You can purchase tickets by clicking the “order now” button below

Harvard University Softball checks out the Renegades

The Renegades have two students attending Harvard University and our documentary helped us reach about 15 of their students this past week. On Monday evening, In one of Harvard’s athletic lounges that overlooks the football stadium, 5 Renegades gathered with members of the Harvard Softball team to show them the inspirational sport of beep baseball. We have shown the movie to many crowds…but never to another team. Within minutes of the start of the movie, Harvard head coach, Jenny Allard exclaims…”wow coach…you are intense!”

Phot of the softball team watching the movie

As the movie rolled, these ball players were clearly wowed and inspired by the play of the Renegades. They sat cheering for the team on the screen. The film was followed by a question and answer period.  As in most sessions people normally ask questions about how the base running works but this crowd was clearly impressed with how we hit the ball and square it up. They also asked questions about how we strategize on defense. It was fun showing this film to ball players!

The Harvard Softball team is entertained by Aqil, Rob and Joe McCormick

After the official Q&A, the players gathered around the Renegades and continued to ask questions about being blind and the sport. They really laughed at our pink blindfold stories and enjoyed hearing about the exploits of Pam Love’s first season. While the players chatted with each other, Rob had a chance to talk to the coaches and we have hopes that we can build a relationship with the team for the 2014 season. We would love to give them the opportunity to try the sport and we hope we may be able to share some field space with them in the winter months under their bubble.

Joe McCromick, Rob Weissman and Aqil Sajjad address the Harvard Softball team at the Murr Center

Many thanks to Joe McCormick for helping to set this up and to Jack Clancy for giving us a copy of the film to show that night.

A Hall of Fame Weekend at the Baseball Film Festival

Jack Clancy, Peg Bailey, Dino Vasile, Rob Weissman, Joe Quintanilla, Bryan Grillo pose with a Hall of fame logo

When the Baseball Hall of fame calls….you answer the phone!  Our documentary was selected to appear in their 8th annual Hall of Fame baseball film festival for the last weekend of September.  Six Renegades and their families along with Jack Clancy, the film maker made the trek to Cooperstown in what would be a beautiful fall weekend.  We’d like to share our weekend highlights with our Renegade fans.

 A High Honor

On Friday night as we picked up our credentials for the film festival, Jack was bestowed the honor of having our documentary stored at the baseball hall of fame in the archives.  Think about this.  Jack and Liz made a movie that will reside in the baseball hall of fame archives.  Let that sink in.  Long after we are gone, Our legacy will live on.  Such an honor.

Rob's Credentials for the film festivalPossibilities

On Friday afternoon, the Renegades had an opportunity to talk briefly with a museum curator and learned some fun stories about how they try to tell a story through the donation of used equipment.  One of the hardest things to get from players is their glove.  Its important to tell a story of great fielding with the gloves they use during the games.  Imagine an exhibit with a brand new glove that read…The Orioles set a record for least errors in a season.  Here is Matt Weiters back-up glove that was never used in a game.  We joked around about what could go into the hall of fame for Beep baseball.  Coach Weissman’s stool?  Zuccarello’s MVP trophy?, Broken Bats.  Its fun to dream.  In 2015, the Beep Baseball World Series goes to Upstate New York and it may be possible there could be a future partnership…Stay tuned

Saturday showing

Jack, Dino and Rob take questions from the audience in the bullpen theaterOur documentary from Best Dog Ever Films took its place at the 10:00 am showing on Saturday and shared a time slot with a short film called Cards Against the Wall, Celebrating the lives of three of the most memorable names in baseball ever, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Van Lingle Mungo and Bob Newsom.  After the show Jack, Dino and Rob had a chance to talk to the crowd about the film and the team.  The baseball junkies and film makers at this event ate up the film.  Some great questions from the crowd even tied both of the films together with the thought that maybe the infamous Mike Veeck (Son of hall of Famer Bill Veeck) would be interested in the sport since his daughter lost her sight.  The Film makers of Cards against the Wall have contacts with the Veeck family.  You never know!

Saturday Tour and Hands on event

The Hall of fame was great and we were introduced to Larry Moore who spent a good amount of time with us giving us a personal experience that we will never forget.  Larry took us into their class room where we learned about the history of the baseball, the baseball glove, the bats and the uniform.  Even the most knowledgeable of baseball fans amongst us learned things.  Pitcher Ron Cochran had his two daughters with him…but we all felt like little kids.  Larry told us some stories, passed equipment around for us to feel.  We then got to try on some equipment and act like kids as we took pictures.  Some things we learned included

  • Originally in the 1800’s the baseballs were actually soft and the home teams were in charge of making them
  • The first gloves look a lot like weight lifting gloves and they were worn on both hands as catching was primarily with two hands
  • We got to check out a 6 fingered baseball glove used by a player who can pitch with both hand
  • When games started to get played under the lights, they played with a different material for the uniforms so they would show up better on TV

After the hands on experience, Larry took us into the Hall of Fame Gallery and gave our Blind travelers the experience of feeling the faces on the bronze plaques.  We spent some time with the first class, Jim Rice, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Wade Boggs and even the only female in the Hall of Fame, Effa Manley and many others.Larry Moore shows Dino Robbie Alomar's Hall of Fame plaque

Many thanks

As baseball fans, it was a great honor to be a part of the baseball hall of fame for a weekend.  Jack Clancy teared up during the Q&A period.  Rob was like a little kid living the dream all weekend.  We all felt like celebrities for a short time as people were stopping us in the streets and the museum all weekend to talk about the film and the team.  This would not have been possible without the help of Stephen Light, Larry Moore and Tom Shieber.  We want to thank the three of them for an experience we will never forget.  The Baseball film Festival is amazing.   If you love baseball and film…You need to make sure to attend one of these festivals.  It will be well worth your time!

Renegade Documentary to show in Randolph, MA – October 26

Renegade Movie posterOn Saturday, October 26 at 10:15 AM, the Association of Blind Citizens along with the Boston Host Lions & Randolph Lions Clubs will be having a special event to show an award winning documentary from Best Dog Ever Films The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story.   We will be showing this at the Randolph Showcase cinema This film showcases the Boston Renegades and shows the passion, the action and the drama that occurs in your average beep ball season.

The movie will be followed by a special event where you can ask questions about the film to the Renegades and learn more about the team and the sport.  There will be a lunch reception with a cash bar at the VFW Post #3389 just one mile down the street (located at 10 Highland Avenue, Randolph, MA) after the film.  This will be hosted by both the Boston Host Lions and the Randolph Lions.  Food, Drinks and drawings for special prizes will be available.

100% of the $20 price of admission will go to help the Renegades fund the 2014 season.  We appreciate your support of our program.  Tickets to the event can be purchased in advance at our eventbrite page

Here is the schedule of events:

  • 9:45 AM:  Doors open at the Showcase Cinema
  • 10:15 AM: The presentation of the movie will begin
  • 11:30 PM: Question and answer session begins
  • 12:00 PM-2:00: Lunch is served and mingling with the Boston Renegades at the VFW located at 10 Highland avenue

 

Here is the trailer of the movie:

 

The Renegades Documentary Selected by Baseball Hall of fame for participation in Film Festival

What do Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, a Honus Wagner baseball card and the Boston Renegades have in common?  All of these subjects will be part of the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Film Festival in Cooperstown during the last weekend of September.  Read that again…the BASEBALL HALL OF FAME FILM FESTIVAL!

 

Picture of  a box office showing "baseball at the movies" as the show

The Renegades: A beep Ball Story produced by best ever dog films has been selected to participate in the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Film Festival in Cooperstown, NY on Saturday, September 28th at 10:00am.  2013 will mark the 8th year the Hall of Fame has had a film festival and will feature 11 films with a theme all about baseball.  Tickets can be reserved  from the baseball hall of fame with a pass to the museum for the day.  Space is limited as the Bullpen theater seats less than 60 people.

” My childhood dream was to be a professional baseball player and to be in the baseball hall of fame.  That dream died when my high school baseball coach cut me during first cuts during my junior year.  I had an amazing try-out.  I hit a triple in a scrimmage game, I played outfield and 2nd base, I did everything right..and I still did not make it past the first cut.  When I asked why? The coach replied, “I don’t want any Juniors on the team”.  I then started a short career in baseball in 1993 with Major League Baseball in the Arizona Fall League, but that dream died with the strike in 1994.  For my Beepball team and my hard work to be selected to show at the Hall of Fame is a dream come true for me.  I know I’m not “in” the Hall of fame, but some of the people there know who we are.  On Saturday, the Renegades and the Clancy’s will feel like a hall of famer…even if its just for a few hours.  I am so excited for the team and the producers of the film for this great honor and opportunity.  It will be a day those who attend will never ever forget.   My coach may have cut me, the strike forced me out of baseball, but after 12 years of coaching  and with the help of others we all made our mark in baseball history” – Rob Weissman

Logo of the baseball hall of fame celebrating 75 years

Here is the schedule of movies that will show at the event.

Friday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m., Grandstand Theater 

42 (128 min.)

In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking Major League Baseball’s infamous color line. But the deal also put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of public, press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and restraint by not reacting in kind, knowing that any incident could destroy his and Rickey’s hopes. Instead, Number 42 let his talent on the field do the talking – ultimately winning over fans and his teammates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow.

Session 1

Saturday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m., Bullpen Theater

Cards Against the Wall (9 min.)

“Cards Against a Wall” celebrates the lives of three of the greatest names in baseball. Shoeless Joe Jackson, Van Lingle Mungo and Bobo Newsom may not be in the Hall of Fame but the three have memorable names. And all three were South Carolinians. Storyteller Alex Sanders takes us back to the golden age of baseball when big league ballplayers made big impressions. And these S.C. ballplayers were special on and off the ball field. Directed by Tim Fennell, produced by Dave Brown, Tim Fennell, Brooks Quinn. Based on a short story by Alex Sanders.

The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story (72 min.)

“The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story” is about the awe-inspiring sport of beep ball that has blind athletes hitting baseballs and diving headlong into the bases. Beyond the games, it’s about the people and their stories. The film looks at hope, heartache and what it means to play as a team. We see what it’s like at home and at work for some players and find why the team’s only female player can’t get enough of this sport. Mix in a fierce New York/Boston rivalry, an international World Series, the drama of a particular player’s hopes of making the team and a coach whose style can only be described as “tough love” and you have non-fiction entertainment at its best. 

Session 2

Saturday, Sept. 28, 2 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Holy Grail (14 min.)

The T206 Honus Wagner is the most famous baseball card in the world, but does its value really lie in the eye of the beholder? This film deals with the mystery and intrigue surrounding the most lucrative collectible in all of sport. The film features interviews with card experts and enthusiasts including Keith Olbermann. Directed by Nick and Colin Barnicle.

Hitting the Cycle (103 min.)

A few years ago, Major League baseball player Jimmy “Rip” Ripley was at the top of his game. But now he finds himself back in the minors after a debilitating knee injury has left him struggling to make it back to the “show.” Caught off-guard by the news that his club is cutting him, he also receives word that his estranged father is gravely ill. With nowhere else to turn, Rip reluctantly revisits his long-forgotten hometown to finally come face-to-face with the father he hasn’t seen or spoken to since he was eighteen years old.

Session 3

Saturday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., Bullpen Theater

La Hazana Del 41 (52 min.)

On Oct. 22, 1941, a group of young Venezuelan baseball players achieved the unthinkable: Taking the world title away from the eternal champion, Cuba. These young men put Venezuela’s name on the international baseball map, and became national heroes. This documentary pays tribute to these Venezuelan sports icon by telling their story, their achievements, and revealing their enormous influence on the ascension of baseball as the king of all sports in Venezuela.

The Only Real Game (82 min.)

“The Only Real Game” explores the power of baseball for people in a troubled, distant place. The small, once princely state of Manipur joined the Indian Union under pressure in 1949 triggering a corrosive separatist conflict

that continues to this day. With paltry infrastructure, widespread corruption and unemployment – it’s an astonishing place to find reservoirs of inner strength that are tapped in pursuit of our National Pastime. Even more surprising in a deeply patriarchal society is that women are a driving cultural force. Though Manipur has been closed to the outside world for 60 years, baseball delivers release from daily struggles, and a dream for healing a wounded society. Dreams chase reality when First Pitch, a small group of baseball-loving New Yorkers, and two Major League Baseball Envoy coaches team up with Manipuri men, women and children to “Play Ball.” 

Session 4

Sunday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m., Bullpen Theater

I’ll Knock a Homer for You: The Timeless Story of Johnny Sylvester and Babe Ruth (46 min.)

During the World Series of 1926, one of the most enduring baseball legends occurred that has been shrouded in mystique for almost a century. Babe Ruth, at the height of his popularity, promised to hit a home run during Game 4 for an ailing boy named Johnny Sylvester. Ruth delivered on his promise, and one of the most famous human-interest stories was given life. To this day, the story of Babe and Johnny has reached mythic proportions in America’s popular culture. Johnny Sylvester was my great-uncle, and my documentary is the first one ever made on this special story. Through rare interviews with Johnny himself and people familiar with the events, this film will shed light on this amazing story of triumph.

Not Exactly Cooperstown (68 min.)

Quick: Name the baseball hall of fame that allows fans to vote. It’s a hall that has room for players like Curt Flood, Jim Bouton, Jimmy Piersall, Josh Gibson, Maury Wills, Bill Buckner, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Jim Abbott, “Shoeless Joe Jackson and Dock Ellis. And there’s room for more than players. There’s a labor leader (Marvin Miller), umpires (Emmett Ashford and Pam Postema), a maverick owner (Bill Veeck), a surgeon (Dr. Frank Jobe), and even a chicken (The San Diego Chicken). Give up? It’s the Baseball Reliquary, and it’s not exactly Cooperstown.

Session 5

Sunday, Sept. 29, 2 p.m., Bullpen Theater

Eddie the Fan (5 min.)

“Eddie the Fan” is a piece about a young fan named Eddie who attends the Reds/Dodgers game in which the division title is on the line. Told in Seuss-like style, we see the experience of attending a Major League Baseball game through the eyes of a delightful four year old baseball fanatic.

The Booth (88 min.)

“The Booth” is a feature length documentary about Major League Baseball Broadcasters. The film is interview driven and features 30 of the top broadcasters in the game including several Ford C. Frick Award Winners. “The Booth” looks at what it takes to become a broadcaster and how to STAY a broadcaster. The viewer will get a peek into the relationships and experiences in way not seen before.

 

Renegade Movie Airing on June 8th in Woburn!

Renegade Movie poster

On Saturday, June 8th at 10:00 am at the Woburn Showcase cinema, we are  showing our award winning documentary, The Renegades: A Beep Ball Story created by Best Dog Ever Films.  We are inviting all friends, family and fans to come check out this amazing film.  The event will include a showing of the film, a lunch hosted by the Woburn Lions, a question and answer period with the Renegades and drawings for prizes.  You can purchase your tickets here.  All of the proceeds to this event will go to help the Renegades travel to the World Series!

This event is being sponsored by the Association of Blind Citizens and the Woburn Host Lions!

If you have not seen the trailer to the film here it is:

Renegade Documentary coming to Buffalo!

The Film Festival Laurel for the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival

We are coming to Buffalo and Niagara Falls!

We are excited to say that our Documentary, The Boston Renegades: A Beep Ball Story has been accepted to its second film festival and will be airing on Saturday April 13 at the Market Arcade Film & Arts Center in Buffalo, New York at 3:00 PM.  You can buy tickets at this link http://thebnff.com/films/the-renegades-a-beep-ball-story/

 

We encourage all of our fans in the Buffalo are or surrounding cities to please come and join us for this event.  The film makers will be present and we are excited to be a part of our 2nd film festival.  With your support, we may even be able to pick up an award as we did at the SNOB Film Festival in November

To view the movie trailer, here is a link to the web site of Best Ever Dog Films where information about the film resides.

 

 

 

The Renegades Hit the Big Screen!

Best Dog Ever Films’ award winning documentary comes to Boston for its premier of “The Renegades: A Beepball Story”

Poster advertising the Boston Premier of "The Renegades: A Beepball Story", Thursday, April 11, 2013 at the Revere Hotel Boston Common

Hope you will be able to join us for this special evening and celebrate the abilities of blind people, volunteerism and baseball!  Reserve your seat today by calling Jennifer Stewart at 617-266-6160 x 436, or emailing her at jstewart@nbp.org.

For directions and parking visit: The Revere Hotel Boston Common

On site parking is $14 for 2 hours, $18 for 3 hours, and $22 for 3 – 12 hours.  Valet parking is also available.

To see a trailer of the documentary, visit Best Dog Ever Films