Flight documentaries: “Fastball” — the pitch, not the band.

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Nine hour flights home from Italy are a bummer. You can read, nap and drink as many free adult beverages as they’ll keep feeding you, but that’s about all. The good news is that these days, the in-flight entertainment offers more options than ever before. The bad news: Most of these options include the usual array of wretched mass market films and television series.

On our most recent flight from Rome in November, at least there were a few good documentary films on tap. They paired well with cans of a beer I’d never expect to see on an international flight: SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale. Corporate placement or not, it was a welcome change from the usual Heineken.

The third of four documentaries I watched in November is an appropriate delaying tactic pending the beginning of spring training, when at long last life will make sense again. It’s called Fastball.

While players, historians, and scientists might disagree on who was actually the fastest pitcher in history – and yes, the film does the math and seems to come out with a very clear verdict that might come as a surprise – FASTBALL tells the story of the game itself. Filmed at baseball’s most hallowed grounds, from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown to Yankee Stadium to the sandlot field in Weiser, Idaho, where Walter Johnson’s fastball changed the game over a hundred years ago, the film provides unparalleled insight into both the mechanics and the mythos of our National Pastime.

Previously:

Flight documentaries: “All Things Must Pass,” or the rise and fall of Tower Records.

Flight documentaries: “Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans.”

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