July 1, 2001

Review:  “Hopes and Dreams in Minor League Baseball: A Season with the Williamsport Crosscutters”
by Steve Lombardi

In the past few years, I've had the opportunity (and pleasure) to attend many more minor league games than ever before in my life.  And, just about every time at the ballpark, the same question invariably enters my mind - "What is it like to be these guys?"

Thanks to the video documentary “Hopes and Dreams in Minor League Baseball: A Season with the Williamsport Crosscutters,” speculation is no longer necessary

The video is an 87-minute cinematic account of the Minor League Baseball “life” – from the perspective of the players as well as the management and fans of the 2000 Williamsport Crosscutters (who are the short-season single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates).

“Hopes and Dreams in Minor League Baseball: A Season with the Williamsport Crosscutters” is thorough, entertaining, insightful and gripping.

As a viewer of this work, you develop empathy for the bright and wide-eyed, smooth faced players as they chronicle their dream quest in an arena where failure may be final.  In candid interviews, you will witness their nervous excitement and appreciate the overwhelming challenge that they face almost every day.

Each angle of the “life” is examined - both high and low.  The ballpark, front office, grounds crew, practice, coaching, games, family, friends, fans, travel, living conditions are just some of the topics well documented.

For example, at first blush you obtain a true feel for the patience required by a Minor League manager and his staff and the emphasis they place on camaraderie.  Nonetheless, “Hopes and Dreams” additionally supplies the often-overlooked small details as well.  Such as the necessity that managers at the Minor League level from time to time double as the person who sets up the cage before batting practice.

“Hopes and Dreams” is also replete with interesting sidebar information – for instance, during the story regarding one of the “host families” for 2000 Crosscutters it is shared that (current Major League stars) Tino Martinez, Dave Burba, and Jeff Nelson were previous (then) Minor League player guests of the same family.

The video also provides material that, although perhaps not meant to be a striking point, may fancy a particular viewer and spark new thought or emotion therein.  Personally, I was taken by the perspicacity and authoritative poise of Roving Infield Instructor Bobby Meacham communicated via his appearances in the documentary.  These were qualities that I never would have known he possessed from watching him during his days as a player in the Major Leagues.

Perhaps the only disapproving critique that this review can offer of the video is a lack of focus on the issues confronting foreign-born players adjusting to the “life.”  However, by no means does this omission tarnish the overall brilliance of “Hopes and Dreams in Minor League Baseball: A Season with the Williamsport Crosscutters.”

NetShrine.com highly recommends “Hopes and Dreams.”  Produced, written, edited and directed by Steven Patterson, this video is a must for every family of a child who has the talent, desire and avenue to be a professional baseball player.  It also is an excellent gift idea (regardless of the occasion) for baseball fans of every level.

Hopes and Dreams in Minor League Baseball: A Season with the Williamsport Crosscutters” is available for $19.95, plus $3.50 shipping.  It can be ordered by calling toll-free at 1-800-606-9642, or online at www.crosscutters.com.  It will be among the best return on investments from $23.45 that you will ever experience in your life.

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