Plot: What’s it about?
Jeremy Spear always wanted to play professional sports, but when his college career ended and he went undrafted, he switched to a more artistic lifestyle. But after some years in that business, his memories of playing ball are stronger than ever and at a friend’s suggestion, he enters the world of fastpitch softball. He soon discovers his skills remain solid and he scores a starting shortstop stint, though his at bat performance is less than stellar. He soon decides to go elsewhere when his hitting chances are taken from him, as he needs to swing to improve, to be sure. So soon enough, he ends up in Ashland, Ohio on their team, with a place to stay, a car for the summer, and of course, all the swings he can manage. The town of Ashland offers much history on the sport and sure enough, Spear is determined to capture some of that, to put it all in perspective. As the season moves ahead, he learns about the locals, his teammates, and the financial woes that plague not just this team, but the entire sport. But as the World Championship tournament nears, Ashland is still in the game and that means anything can happen…
I wasn’t sure how well I’d take to a documentary on fastpitch softball, but in the end, Fastpitch was a terrific feature and well worth the time. I’ve been to a few Decatur Pride games, so I knew a little about the sport, but as I soon learned, this was much more complex sport than I ever imagine, in terms of behind the scenes. It is a real heartbreaker to see some of these guys who love the sport so much and spend their money, but then realize it might all end tomorrow. These are not the primadonnas you see in most professional sports, these are people who play because they love the game and believe me, it shows. Of course, there is some conflict to be found here, from budget limitations to the overpaid, stacked deck teams, such as the Tampa Bay Smokers. It is so interesting to watch the events unfold in Fastpitch, as it is all real and as such, the outcome is not based on the emotional ties we’re shown. This can be good and bad at the same time, but in Fastpitch, the journey is much more important than the destination. I give this flick a very high recommendation and rest assured, this movie speaks to us all, not just sports nuts or the like.
Video: How does it look?
Fastpitch is presented in a full frame transfer, as intended. This seems to have been shot on some form of video, as the image is very shaky at times, tons of edge enhancement is present from start to finish. I am unsure if this is due to the equipment used or the transfer onto disc, but it looks rough at times and that’s not good news. Some scenes look very good however, so it isn’t the entire movie that suffers, just certain sections, often the in game moments. The colors and contrast look great however, save a couple very dark shots here and there. This is by no means unwatchable, but I do wish it was presented in a better form than this.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release uses a Dolby Digital stereo option, which more than handles the needs of this material. The musical soundtrack sounds very good and never seem flat, which is good news, as it is a terrific selection of tunes. The sound effects are also well presented, so each crack of the bat and ball hitting the glove is clean and well placed, just as it should be. I never heard any problems from the dialogue either, it all comes across in crisp, fine fashion.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a very brief text history of the sport, but no other film specific extras, which is a let down.