The Portland Mavericks: Are You Watching Rich Lapchick?

Maybe it’s because it’s the dog days of summer
Maybe it’s because my daughter works for Netflix (full disclosure)
Maybe it’s because my Tigers are still in first place
Or maybe it’s because I think Major League is the greatest movie of all time ….(What?)

But if you want to see a good film about employee selection, promoting diversity, experience marketing, disrupting the status quo and the passion of entrepreneurship checkout the Battered Bastards of Baseball on Netflix. To watch the trailer, click here.

It’s about the resurrection of independent baseball and Bing Russell, who stuck his finger in the eye of the MLB and brought a sport back to a city just for the love of the game. To give you a sense of the Portland Mavericks: (1) Their official colors were “Snow White, Dig Black and Streetwalker Red”; (2) Their biggest star was rumored to be an FBI informant and has been missing since 1984; And (3) They had a left-handed catcher. (There hasn’t been a major league left-handed player whose primary position was catcher since 1900.)

In their short five-year history, these ragtag Mavericks:

Hired the first female general manager in baseball
Had a batboy who was later nominated for eight Oscars
Invented Big League Chew
Compiled the best record in all of baseball in 1977
Resurrected Jim Bouton’s pitching career at age 38
Had a pitcher nominated for a Pulitzer Prize
Played Kurt Russell at Designated Hitter (his dad owned the team)
Set a minor league attendance record by drawing over 125,000 fans in just 33 home games.

When the Pacific Coast League decided before the 1978 season that they had made a mistake in leaving the city, Bing forced them to pay him more than $200,000 (rather than just $5000 under the rules) to return to Portland…. Not a bad exit price for his initial investment of $500 to start the team.

Needless to say, I liked this documentary. At the very least, Rich Lapchick should make this film required viewing for our sports management students. It’s a great reminder for analytic MBA-types, about why people come to games.

Okay so much for my career as a movie reviewer, time to go get ready to graduate some Knights on Saturday.


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