There are millions of baseball fans around the world that know very little about the Negro Baseball Leagues. This movie is going to change that.
From the days of Slave Baseball in the Caribbean to the antics of Satchel Paige, to the legendary home runs of Josh Gibson to the invention of the batting helmet, night baseball and the screwball- all were developed first in the Negro Baseball Leagues.
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SHUT OUT (The Untold Truth About the Negro Baseball Leagues)
It’s America’s pastime. A game that unites a vast nation. At least that’s the idea. But history informs us that it hasn’t always been a game that included all Americans. Even those who helped invent it were once not allowed to play.
Picture this OPENING: We hear the rap anthem of a current black superstar player as he steps up to the plate. He is cheered by fans of all colors, some wearing jerseys bearing his name who fill up a beautiful illuminated Major League stadium. The pitch comes and he swings…. STOP MOTION before he connects with the ball. Our narrator tells us it wasn’t always this way. The story of Black America’s relationship with baseball follows a jagged journey of injustice, struggle, change, hope, loss and tenuous victory, in a nation where racial prejudice continues to raise its ugly head and oppose even the greatest champions.
This documentary exposes the systematic oppression existing in our nation over the course of nine historical era’s (which parallel nine innings of play), from the time of slavery through the breaking of the color line in Major League Baseball, with the emergence of Jackie Robinson. A music-driven narrative underscores the dramas, personalities and challenges of each Time Period.
The different segments/chapters are introduced with images of different scoreboards (from different time periods and type of locations– for the most rudimentary to the most state-of-the-art) as we go through the “innings” of the story. That device will also show if they are making gains or falling behind in the score (progress vs. setbacks) at that point in the struggle.
The narrative also follows the trail of ancestors of our Major League superstar, who lived during the other eras we described. They may have been slaves, freemen, athletes, musicians,’ dreamers or spectators, to some of whom this game meant something. Their moments are sprinkled into the larger story like breadcrumbs along a path of suffering, bravery and indomitable playfulness, that leads towards hope.
At the end of the nine chapters, there would be another segment (extra innings) that brings us up to date and show the wins and losses since Robinson’s time. A few (too few) black managers …. prejudice players encountered once they reached the majors …. breakthroughs……. taking us up to the opening moment at bat, and our current, but always fragile, state of the game.
For older audiences, this film will broaden understanding and provide validation. For young viewers, the majority of whom never even heard of the Negro League, it will provide education, inspiration, and a warning. As historian George Santayana observed: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. For everyone in the middle, it will offer a field-box ticket to an informative dramatic, exciting and deeply emotional sports event, bound to move not only baseball fans but everyone who cares about America’s future
What’s at stake in this contest is social justice. At this moment, the games in extra innings.
Because it matters. It matters that people know the whole truth about baseball’s coming of age. And how what started as a courageous few driven to forge their own way in a world that repeatedly tried to crush them, came to influence not just the game, but our society and the world itself. We see their effect every season as players from around the world of any origin are now free to join in the joy of it. They were the irrepressible heroes with fresh and gutsy plays who excited crowds in one town while knowing they might be lynched in the next. And they did it on their own terms, enriching the game while lifting our eyes to glimpse a vision of ourselves higher than we had ever allowed before. All while providing new hope and opportunity for the generations to come. An unforgettable story of American boldness and inspiration that must be told.”
Cast & Crew
We have built a veteran production team with over 600 years combined experience including Oscar & Emmy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr., 4-time Emmy winner Charlie Canfield, Emmy winners Bob Engelman & Rick Tuder and Dale Godboldo, a lead actor in “The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story that won an Emmy..
We also have Seattle Mariners 2nd baseman Dee Gordon and former Major League Baseball player Juan Pierre as talent/consultants for SHUT OUT (The Untold Truth About The Negro Baseball Leagues). We are also currently in discussions with other major league baseball players, actors, musicians & politicians.
The link below is our production team, Business team & consultants.
We are raising $50,000 for start-up costs & pre-production.
Social Media Links
Incentives for Donating
Be part of a legacy project. Among other things, this film will be used as educational content every Black History Month for generations to come. You can also attend all the fundraisers, pitch parties, production parties, and wrap parties.
Marketing & Distribution Plan
We are seeking distribution via theatrical release followed by international release. Cable release (Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Hulu, etc.) and educational film distribution, as well as worldwide DVD distribution.
We see this as being a solid “in” to public schools & military bases nationally & internationally for an “educational program” during Black History Month – the film potentially exhibits in schools every February as an “evergreen” legacy.