MEET THE FILMMAKERS: David Check & Robert Haddad
On Monday, June 16, 2008, 6:00-8:00 PM
At the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
1375 Broadway (between 37th and 38th Streets), Suite 2103
Reception: 6:00-6:30 PM, Screening: 6:30-8:00 PM
In the winter of 2001, This Week in Baseball crews contacted Cincinnati Reds slugger Dmitri Young to shoot a feature with him. “Sure,” the affable Young responded, “but you should shoot with my 14-year old brother, too. He’s going to be better than me.” Such a comment might easily be dismissed as family-biased praise, but when the TWIB crew showed up in their hometown of Camarillo, CA, it became abundantly clear—with one crushing swing after the next—that young Delmon truly was a superstar in the making. Rarely does such an opportunity present itself—to track a phenomenon as he makes his meteoric rise to the Major Leagues. So MLB Productions made the commitment to document Delmon from his days as a precocious amateur to his professional debut, covered his pre-draft “workout” with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, his batting cage sessions with his dedicated father, Larry, and the big moment as Delmon was selected #1 overall in the 2003 draft. As the story progressed, a compelling family dynamic emerged between a demanding dad and his sons. Baseball would remain a constant thread, but no longer would this film simply cover the journey of a talented kid to the big leagues. A seismic shift in the narrative had occurred. Now, instead of one central character there were three, all inexorably linked: a petulant, impatient budding star who longed to make the Major Leagues by 19; a fun-loving, line-drive hitting, older brother who was battling his own demons; and a dedicated dad, whose militaristic style produced tremendous baseball talent, but also burdensome expectations. All three men would ultimately be put to the test in a tumultuous 2006. Spring Training served as the springboard. Delmon did not make the D-Rays out of camp and was sent down to triple AAA, his frustration with not making the Majors on his timetable mounting. Meanwhile, Dmitri became embroiled in a messy divorce and distraught over not being able to see his three children. During this period, Dmitri confessed, “my priorities were way out of whack” as he turned to alcohol and excessive womanizing. Human frailty had taken hold and the two sons of a disciplinarian dad whose mantra had always been “control your emotions” were about to become unhinged.