Action / Documentary / Sport

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright79%
IMDb Rating7.4101701

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Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Kevin Costner Photo
Kevin Costner as Narrator
Chris Cooper Photo
Chris Cooper as Clifford Blankenship
Derek Jeter Photo
Derek Jeter as Himself
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
631.49 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 27 min
P/S 1 / 2
1.31 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 27 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by zkonedog9 / 10

A Verbal & Scientific Analysis Of The Heater

For baseball fans, the question that this documentary delves into is an age-old one: Which hurler threw the fastest pitch in the history of the game? Was it Walter Johnson nearly 100 years ago? Maybe Bob Feller? Nolan Ryan? Or how about contemporaries like Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman? "Fastball" interviews both baseball greats and scientists in order to find out the "answer".

What this film does so well is that it knows the ultimate answer to its thesis query will be "we are not sure...but here are some fun guesses". There is no way to definitively prove anything. So, a large part of this documentary is spent talking with players who actually competed against the legends being debated. Guys like Joe Moran, George Brett, Tony Gwynn, Johnny Bench, Bob Gibson, Goose Gossage, and Nolan Ryan are given prominent interview footage in order to hear there opinion on the matter. This is much-needed for "Fastball", as the main question needs to be as much narratively-driven as scientific proved.

That isn't to say, however, that "Fastball" is all fluff...far from it! It does its best to include as much scientific analysis as possible, such as showing the methodology of the crude devices that once test the speed of pitches from Johnson, Feller, and Gibson, as well as the much more refined radar guns of today. A good solid half of "Fastball" concentrates on the scientific aspect of things, trying to quantitatively discover the fastball ball ever thrown.

Overall, baseball fans will really enjoy "Fastball" for a number of reasons (and I haven't even yet mentioned the great narration from Kevin Costner!). It tries its best to answer the question scientifically, but is also smart enough to realize that people's opinions have just as much weight in the discussion as due the numbers. This leads to a great melding of stats and stories that make "Fastball" multi-faceted enough to appeal to all crowds. Highly recommend as the start of another baseball campaign commences!

Reviewed by David Ferguson8 / 10

The Heat

Greetings again from the darkness. Cheese. Gas. Heat. The crowd perks up when a power pitcher lights up the radar gun and starts ringing up hitters. As narrator Kevin Costner points out, at the core of the game of baseball is the epic battle between a man with a stick and one with a rock … the bat and ball … the batter and pitcher. Director Jonathan Hock digs into our fascination with those few who can throw a fastball at speeds that cause even the elite hitters to struggle. A 100 mph fastball gives the batter 396 milliseconds to react … quicker than the blink of an eye. Mr. Hock structures the film for maximum enjoyment and ease of keeping up. I counted 13 chapters which such titles as "The Big Train", "The Heater from Van Meter", "Hoot", "The Fastest that Never Was", "Nolan Ryan", and "The Fastest Pitch" . Within each chapter we are treated to a blend of archival footage, interviews with baseball legends, and input from scientists and experts. The segments contrast the athletic side with the scientific side … especially interesting given how over the past 15 years, baseball has transitioned into such a risk strategy of performance tendency metrics. Listening to a physics expert discuss the "Magnus Effect", while legendary hitters like Hank Aaron and George Brett describe a "rising fastball", is quite an experience for those of us who so love the great game. There is a history lesson, complete with photos and film, on how measuring the speed of pitches goes back to Walter Johnson being tracked through some contraption at the Remington Armory; Bob Feller's pitch racing against a motorcycle; and a young Nolan Ryan going up against a crude radar detector. Different generations are discussed with insight from such legendary fastball pitchers as Bob Gibson, Goose Gossage, Nolan Ryan, Justin Verlander, Craig Kimbrel, David Price and Aroldis Chapman. Unfortunately 80 year old Sandy Koufax is not interviewed, but we do see some rare video footage from his 1965 Perfect Game. There is discussion on earlier eras and pitchers such as Walter Johnson, Bob Feller and the enigmatic Steve Dalkowski (who does make a brief appearance). Gibson describing his infamous glare from the mound is itself worth the price of admission. However, it's the great Nolan Ryan who has the most camera time, which is understandable given his unprecedented quarter century run as a power pitcher. Just as interesting as listening the pitchers, is having the hitters discuss the challenge in hitting the fastball. The difference between a 92 mph fastball and a 100 mph fastball is broken down scientifically by the experts and real world by hitters such as Tony Gwynn, Al Kaline, George Brett and Hank Aaron. The chalkboard and video clips work together to make it clear just how difficult it is to hit the fastball. As for the "fastest pitch ever", the mystery may never be solved.

Reviewed by classicsoncall8 / 10

"You don't teach people how to throw fast. It just comes natural".

My following of Major League Baseball and professional sports in general sort of faded when big time money entered the arena. Having played Little League and Babe Ruth Ball, I'll still occasionally check the standings, but would be hard pressed to name the winner of the last World Series. So my interest in checking out this documentary had more to do with the science and mechanics of fastball pitching, and on that score I think it delivers pretty well.

Over the span of baseball eras, it's still an open question of who the fastest pitcher ever might have been, and it's likely that it will remain so. The earliest attempt to record pitching speed goes back to 1912 when Walter Johnson threw into a wired contraption that set off a timer; his throw clocked at one hundred twenty two feet per second, or in present day language, about eighty three point two miles per hour. That doesn't sound very fast by today's standards, but a modern day calculation demonstrated in the documentary upped that number considerably.

One humorous attempt to demonstrate Bob Feller's pitching speed involved a competition against a motorcycle. Feller beat the guy on the bike handily, and it was neat to see the former great explaining some pitching methodology to a youngster. The invention of the radar gun brought scientific measurement of pitching speed into the modern age in the Seventies, and a number of present day, active and retired big leaguers were interviewed on the mechanics and intimidation factor involved in pitching against competent hitters.

To give one an idea how out of touch I am with the Big League scene, I didn't even recognize names like Aroldis Chapman or Craig Gimbrel, my baseball era would have included guys like Koufax and Gibson, both of whom are also featured here. There's a brief aside on 'the fastest who never was', pitcher Steve Dalkowski, who's control was next to negligible but who had a fearsome reputation with a few of the guest interviewees like Al Kaline and Hank Aaron. That's Dalkowski's quote in my summary line above, a bit ironic and sad actually. He appeared in the film as well, looking defeated by life for having missed out on his life's passion.

They call baseball a game of inches, and in the case of professional pitchers, those inches can add up when you're talking the difference between a ninety two and a hundred mile per hour fastball. That difference is demonstrated graphically, along with a myriad number of insights into such areas as trajectories, magnus forces and speed. It might be a bit much for the casual viewer to follow, but anyone with a keen interest in the science of fastball pitching will find it all fascinating. Even pitchers seem to be in awe of the science, case in point one Dave Price who can tell you with exact precision the time he threw a hundred mile per hour fastball - in a 2010 game against Detroit against Johnny Peralta. Talk about a lasting impression!

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