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<em>Fastball</em> explains the art of bringing the heat

Goose Gossage (David Durochik/AP)

Documentary

Fastball explains the art of bringing the heat

It’s not quite the same as box seats at Fenway or bleachers at Wrigley. But with baseball on hold, watching Fastball from your recliner brings a nostalgic smile.

This 2016 film, now on Amazon Prime (with some foul language), highlights pitchers who made the fastball great and hitters who tried to get a piece of one.

Insights and humor from baseball superstars  such as Nolan Ryan, “Goose” Gossage, Hank Aaron, and Ernie Banks combine with scientific analysis to assess who had the best heater. Then there are comments like Bob Gibson’s: “Half that plate is mine. Now you gotta figure out which half I’m coming after.”

We learn the difference between facing pitches at 90 mph versus 100. If that doesn’t make you marvel at the incredible eyes and brain God gave us, and the serendipitous decision of baseball’s creators to put the pitcher’s mound 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate, nothing will.

The science inspires awe, but the film’s best parts show the game’s personalities. Banter between Hall of Famers, reflections by sluggers and hurlers, and historic interviews with legends Walter Johnson and Bob Feller remind us how the fastball has fascinated fans and players for a century.

Top-Grossing Baseball Films

• A League of Their Own (1992): $107.5 million

• 42 (2013): $95 million

• Moneyball (2011): $75.6 million

• The Rookie (2002): $75.6 million

• Field of Dreams (1989): $64.3 million

• The Benchwarmers (2006): $59.8 million

Timeout

The coronavirus stoppage is the 11th time Major League Baseball has halted a season, the first for medical reasons. Most have been labor disputes.