A Player To Be Named Later 
Directors: Bart Stephens
Today is one of the best days of the year for sports fans: Opening Day of baseball. In light of the new season, I perused Netflix’s Instant Watch for some baseball movies and found this little known documentary: A Player To Be Named Later. This 2005 film chronicles the 2001 season of the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians. The movie revolves around five players:
– Brad Tyler, a 32-year-old veteran who never got the call up to the majors. Near the end of his career he bounced around professional baseball, including a stint in Mexico.
– Micah Franklin, another veteran hitter who played for a bunch of different teams over his career yet only had one brief stint in the big leagues (1997).
– Kyle Peterson, a former first round draft pick who has struggled with serious injuries throughout his career.
– Allen “Meat” Levrault, a pitcher who spent the majority of his 2001 season in Milwaukee with less than impressive results (6-10, 6.06 ERA). He played in 2003 for Florida, and then struggled in the minors for the rest of his career.
– Marco Scutaro, a Venezuelan athlete who is the only one from this group still playing today. He is the current starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox.
What makes this documentary so interesting is that it shows what life is like for these guys both on and off the field. None of them are guaranteed to make it to the big leagues; in fact, it is estimated that only 6% of minor leaguers actually get the callup at some point in their careers. Yet these guys still continue to pursue their dream against all odds.
Throughout the movie there are clips showing the players with their families, interviews with “super fans” of the team, and some interesting discussions with team personnel. All of these people share one common trait: the love of the game. Having said that, I’m not sure how much A Player To Be Named Later will appeal to non-baseball fans. For those who love the sport, however, this is a fascinating look into the lives of those who are so close, yet so far from the majors.