Baseball Fun in the Midnight Sun Baseball League
By: Dan Crowley
Alaska may be best known as the land of moose, bears and long, frigid winters but few know of the hidden jewel that has served as a breeding ground for countless Major League Baseball players and Hall of Famers.
“Touching the Game, Alaska,” a new documentary from the producers of “Touching The Game, The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League,” takes a fascinating look at the Alaska Baseball League and its storied history as told by some of biggest names in the game. The film features the league’s celebrated Midnight Sun Game, an annual game played on the longest day of the year beginning at 10:30 PM and lasting as late as 2 AM Artificial lighting has never been used for this event, and the game has never been postponed or delayed because of darkness.
“It wasn’t difficult to find human interest stories to follow up there,” said director and co-producer Jim Carroll. “Everyone has a story to tell, and the baseball is top-notch. I think people will be surprised to learn that there’s just as much baseball tradition in Alaska as there is in other parts of the country.”
“Touching the Game, Alaska” features in-depth interviews with past Major League Baseball players including Tom Seaver, Dave Winfield, Chris Chambliss, Bill Lee, Terry Francona, Mark Grace, and current players Michael Young, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, Jered Weaver, and Jason Giambi. Former Major League pitcher Mike Timlin serves as the film’s narrator. The documentary not only showcases baseball played in a place where no lights are ever needed, but gives insight into the colorful and rugged people of this frontier land, which is celebrating its 50th year of statehood this year. For more information or to preorder the movie, visit www.touchingthegame.com.
“We saw it all, from moose to king salmon, and with 22 hours of daylight, you never wanted to stop filming,” said co-producer Anthony Keel. “The local communities are made up of “can-do” Alaskans. That’s what makes the region so special and that comes across in the film.”
Carroll, Keel, director of photography Eric Scharmer, and cameraman John Martin spent two years documenting the Alaska Baseball League. Filmed in high-definition, the crew traveled with the teams, discovered why the league and region can make a man out of a boy and turn a player into a Major League prospect. The film’s soundtrack includes music from Alaska-based artists Sweating Honey, the Whipsaws, Chuck Thompson and the Cabineers, Moonsocket, Aarom Sumstad, and Steelhead.
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