Lithuania. Portland. What do they have in common? Cool sports anecdotes. I recently watched a pair of documentaries on Netflix, and you should watch them too. You know, if you like sports and history and stuff.

Kurt Russell in Mavericks getup.

Kurt Russell in Mavericks getup.

First up, the Netflix original The Battered Bastards of Baseball is an absolute blast to watch. It tells the story of the Portland Mavericks, a renegade baseball team owned by Bing Russell (yep, that’s Kurt Russell’s dad) which took the minor leagues by storm in the 70s, and made Portland nuts about baseball for a while. The film provides a fascinating look at league politics, and at the power of bold, rash decisions in sports management. Absolutely worth the watch, whether you’re a baseball fan or not – it’s a cool story either way.

Second, I finally got around to watching The Other Dream Team, a doc about the history of basketball in Lithuania, specifically focused on the country’s 1992 olympic team. Beyond the talk of baseball, Lithuania’s unfortunate political history is also examined, as insight into the workings of the USSR is provided. We get to know the 92 olympic team through its core members, and to discover the country’s history through their eyes. Despite being over-packed with anecdotes and a tad scattered, this one’s still definitely worthy of 90 minutes of your time, if only to explain why this picture exists:

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Better jerseys were never worn. Photo © Lou Capozzola

That’s all for this week, because I’m half-dead.

-Al

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