"Baseball Behind The Seams"
Because of the tremendous success of the award-winning 1982 Atlanta Braves TV program "Long Way To October" and the following year "A Tale of Two Seasons" (also available from Rare Sportsfilms), a third and final behind the scenes documentary was produced by WTBS on the Braves' 1984 season titled "Baseball Behind the Seams". Created in similar style to the 1982 and 1983 documentaries, with viewers being able to peek into the Braves locker room, sit with club owner Ted Turner in the stands and overhear manager Joe Torre talking to pitchers out on the mound, "Baseball Behind the Seams", is nonetheless somewhat different in format than the previous two programs. This time the host is actor Kirk Douglas, and this tale of the 1984 Braves is told with an inside look at four Atlanta players and the behind-the-scenes story of their individual seasons - All-Star catcher Bruce Benedict, left handed relief pitcher Terry Forster, outfield rookie "star of the future" Brad Komminsk and veteran first baseman Bob Watson, who is playing his final major league season. Jeff Dedmon, Albert Hall, Alex Trevino and Ken Oberkfell are new additions to the ball club in 1984, with Trevino and Oberkfell being obtained through trades during the season. Also seen on this DVD are Steve Bedrosian, Rick Camp, Rick Mahler, Pascual Perez, Craig McMurtry, Matt Sinatro, Chris Chambliss, Bob Horner, Glenn Hubbard, Randy Johnson, Rafael Ramirez, Terry Harper, Claudell Washington, Dale Murphy and others.
The documentary begins with the Braves in spring training, Terry Forster having reported out of shape. He tries to fool manager Torre by claiming his arm is fine and he has no pain, but eventually must begin the new season on the disabled list. After his best year in '83, catcher Bruce Benedict has seemingly cemented his place on the ball club as the number one backstop. He is happy and confident in the spring, eager to start another All-Star type season. 38-year old veteran Bob Watson will play first base, pinch hit and be a "bench coach" during the season (he explains his role and is shown helping young Brad Komminsk in the batting cage at West Palm Beach). Rookie Komminsk confides how he felt after being sent back to AAA Richmond to start the season, the last player to be cut at the end of spring training.
An early season acquisition of catcher Alex Trevino from Cincinnati does not seem to be important at first, as he is scheduled to be Bruce Benedict's backup. However, when Trevino gets a chance to play, he begins a stretch of games in which he plays like a Hall Of Famer in his prime. His hot hitting, including hitting in the clutch, his inspired defensive play throwing out runners and overall outstanding contribution to the club keeps All-Star Benedict on the bench, while the Braves get hot and start a winning streak. When the Braves move into Riverfront Stadium for a three-game series with Trevino's old team, Alex is batting .325 and former Cincinnati teammates welcome him back and congratulate him on his "dream season" so far. On May 13th, Trevino's bases loaded triple beats the Pirates. By June 7 the Braves have won nine in a row and are now in first place. Meanwhile Benedict is at first happy with both Alex and the team's recent success, but as the days go by becomes discouraged by not being able to play more himself. You'll hear Bruce's own words as to how he feels and see both the serious side and humorous side of his predicament.
The stories of Benedict, Forster, Watson and Komminsk continue to be shown throughout the Braves' season - Claudell Washington's hamstring pull brings Komminsk back up to the major leagues to stay, and you'll see his first M.L. home run. During this west coast road trip that marks the turning point of the season, the Braves lose five in a row at L.A. and San Diego. Injuries begin to take their toll: Bob Horner again breaks his wrist (same one as last year). Ken Dayley and Mike Jorgensen are traded to St. Louis for Ken Oberkfell, but later he breaks his thumb and is also out for the season. Terry Forster intermittently goes on and off the DL throughout the year. Bob Watson separates his shoulder holding back Tony Perez during a big fight with the Reds. However, one of the biggest brawls of any season occurs in August during a series with eventual division-winning San Diego. It all starts with a hit batter, then escalates, as pitchers on both teams plunk opposing players. After both benches empty, there are more than half a dozen fights going on the diamond. Some fans even get involved and are arrested! Later in the season, the Padres clinch the division title against the Braves in San Diego. Tribute is given at the end to Bob Watson and his last at bat is shown as Bob comments on his feelings. Dale Murphy presents a special ball to Joe Torre in his office after the final game, and Torre tells the story behind the ball and the significance of the presentation.
This 99-minute DVD is another fabulous offering from Rare Sportsfilms, Inc. To order, send $29.95 plus $4.00 S & H to:
"RARE SPORTSFILMS NET"
1126 Tennyson Lane
Naperville, Illinois 60540