For the love of our National Pastime

Baseball is a beautiful game.  Perhaps the most beautiful of any out there, in this writer’s humble opinion.  It has stood the test of time, still played more or less the same as it was in 1850, yet continually attracting the best young talent from across three continents.  When you love the game and play it at a high level, it’s the kind of thing you want to hang on to, to embrace for as long as circumstances allow.

For the vast majority of players, those circumstances dictate an exit after high school.  But for those young men who have a chance to apply their passion at the collegiate level, the pursuit of that dream can be all-encompassing, starting in their sophomore or junior years, going right up until spring of their senior year in high school.  It is an intense process, requiring absolute dedication by the student to grab the attention of college coaches and stick out from the crowd of hundreds of other students who may be gunning for the very same roster spot and/or scholarship.

I don’t know how I came up with the theory, but something occurred to me one day that a high school player might benefit extraordinarily from being able to have their story told, so that coaches anywhere could watch it within two minutes, with two clicks of their mouse or a couple of taps of their thumb on a smartphone.  Not just video of the students playing, as is so prevalent on many recruiting websites.

Rather, a short story.  A film.  Something that would grab a coach’s attention and make it impossible for them to turn away, so that by the end of the two-minute piece, they would have no choice but to remember that player as well as any other they’ve seen.

That’s what I set out to do for Matthew Plisko and Andy Bainton.  Both young men are outstanding players and students, pitching for Pace Academy, one of the top private schools in the southeast.  But they are, more importantly, great young men with great character.  I wanted to tell the story not just of their passion for the game, but also of their genuine character and dedication to anything which they commit.

The shoot for both called for four cameras, placed around the pitcher’s mound and behind home plate, capturing a bullpen (practice pitching) session from all angles.  To bring out their character and personality, I interviewed each about why they love the game, what they hope to accomplish as athletes during their college years, and how they plan to get there.  Their coach, Seth La Ferra, also added some words to support the quality of their ability and character.

When all was said and done, we wound up with what I believe are two memorable films on behalf of these young men.  Both of their families have since reported the films have been of great use in their college searches, and will serve as wonderful memories of a special time in the lives of their sons.

It was a pleasure working with the Bainton and Plisko families, and am hoping it’s only the first installment of many more stories to be told for young athletes trying to play at the collegiate level.

Watch the films for Andy Bainton and Matthew Plisko.