About The Production (Continued)
To keep the film as true as possible to the Cape League, the "Summer Catch" team used wooden bats, just like the Chatham A's do, instead of the college-approved aluminum bats. And to be sure that the uniforms were authentic, a deal was made with the League so that all of the players in the movie wear not replicas, but the real uniforms of the Cape League. They also sent shirts, team jackets, baseballs, memorabilia, yearbooks, patches and concession supplies for movie props.
Meanwhile, the filmmakers quizzed locals to perfect the details. As a result, the press box in the movie is named alter Charlie B. Thoms, in honor of the Chatham A's general manager, to thank him for his help. The
ballfield is called Veterans Field, just like the one on the Cape. And the Cape League's website and logo are featured in various scenes, along with the Cape Cod Times and a banner for local radio station
"The League was totally supportive of the project from the very beginning," says Tollin. "We've worked very hard to make something they will be proud of. A lot of the pleasure in making this movie comes from raising the profile of the Cape League and introducing it to baseball fans from all over. The same way that the movie 'Bull Durham' sparked a renaissance in minor league baseball, I think 'Summer Catch' will introduce people to the Cape Cod League."
Producer Sam Weisman acted as a liaison between the filmmakers and the Cape Cod League. "Sam is always looking for ways to help financially or with fund-raising," says Chatham A's treasurer Peter Troy. "He's orchestrated matters so that the movie would be of great benefit to the Cape League and the Chatham A's in particular."
The filmmakers' commitment to accuracy also extended to the casting of the baseball players. "My first task was to find a team," says Mark Ellis, who worked as the baseball coordinator for the film. "We spent two weeks recruiting players from all over the country. We put out a two-state advisory and ended up auditioning 300 kids. A lot of the recruits played the minor leagues and were close to making the big leagues. Some of them are still playing semi-pro ball. We interviewed them first and then took them out onto the field and held a baseball camp for three days. At the end of those three days, we had selected 35 top players to complete the team. Seven of the 35 were actors."
Once Ellis drafted his team, he put his "players" through a spring training camp of sorts: a four-week baseball camp for actors and players to develop into a team. "They practiced together, they dressed together and they ate together," Ellis explains. "Most of the players in the movie come from a baseball background and the training is designed to help them ease into life in front of a camera. A lot of these guys are comfortable playing baseball, but when there are three cameras on them and people yelling 'rolling' and 'action,' they have no idea what to do. Acting as a team makes them comfortable with their environment. I told them to play baseball and not to worry about the rest.
"The actors, on the other hand," Ellis continues, "worked out in L.A. for a week or two so that when they came to us, they were ready. We incorporated them immediately into the team, threw them right to the wolves. Every morning we had practice. We'd stretch, run, go through drills. Then we'd go through a regular baseball practice and finally, we'd work on the choreographed plays."
Corey Pearson, who plays Ryan Dunne's pitching rival Eric Van Leemer, has played baseball competitively, but even he had a lot to learn. "I played ball in college, but I wasn't a pitcher. I've learned a new game along with these guys, and the actors really picked it up, too. It was fun to watch. I was sort of a big hit on the playground when we started training in L.A., but not once we star
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