Inside pro baseball’s recruitment machine
Directed by Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin, and Jon Paley(Not rated)
This isn’t your typical sports documentary, said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. “A damning film with a political edge,” Pelotero lifts the veil on the “flawed, potentially exploitative system” by which Major League Baseball recruits teenage boys from the Dominican Republic. The film, screening in select theaters and available as a video-on-demand, follows two teenagers as they approach the annual signing day, when Dominicans who’ve reached age 16 can sign with a major league team. What ensues—bidding wars, manipulation, rigorous tests to verify ages—is “dismaying, to say the least,” said Neil Genzlinger in The New York Times. Narrated by John Leguizamo, the film “sugarcoats nothing,” and those interviewed prove “remarkably forthright.” Big-league scouts aren’t portrayed as the only villains, said David Malitz in The Washington Post. “The motives of the players’ parents, trainers, and the kids themselves are questioned, too.” Pelotero offers no solutions, only a troubling tale. But it should “make you think a little differently” the next time you watch your favorite ballclub take the field.