Monday, April 16, 2012

Play Ball!

"Play Ball!" Those are the words said by millions of baseball fans around the country as they cheer on their favorite players and teams each spring and summer.    For the 30 Major League teams and their fans, springtime, and Opening Day, brings new hope of a championship season.  It is also around this time that we celebrate a true baseball hero, Jackie Robinson, the first African-American professional athlete to break the color barrier in professional sports.  Mr. Robinson joined the then Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, ending nearly 80 years of segregation in baseball.   He would go on to win the Rookie of the Year Award, a National League MVP award, play in six World Series, and six All-Star games over his illustrious 10 year career that, at times, was plagued with racism.  

On April 15th of each year, Jackie Robinson Day, Major League Baseball now pauses to recognize the many contributions of this extraordinary man and athlete.  It is in his memory that some of today’s greatest players tell of their trials and triumphs in the documentary, Harvard Park.  Baseball legends Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis headline an all-star cast in this moving film which chronicles their off season training regime in historic South Central Los Angeles.   Nicknamed “The Program,” Strawberry and Davis unofficially, but systematically, put together a workout and training routine that drew African-American players from the majors and the minors to an (admittedly) run down field in a dangerous part of town.  And, although “The Program” attracted superstar players like Kenny Williams, David Farmer, Barry Larkin, Dejon Watson, Royce Clayton and Lenny Harris, to name just a few, they never left the neighborhood where it first began because they knew their presence at Harvard Park signified something greater to the neighborhood. 
For over 10 years, these athletes would come together and share their talent and time to help one another become better players and, in the process, set a profound example of leadership and community, exemplifying Jackie Robinson’s famous quote, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” 
I’m Pauline Fischer, Vice President of Content Acquisition and in honor of Jackie Robinson Day we are happy to offer Harvard Park to instantly watch on Netflix.   I truly hope you enjoy the film!