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Film / Undrafted

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Undrafted is a 2016 Dramedy written and directed by Joseph Mazzello. The cast includes Mazzello, Aaron Tveit, Tyler Hoechlin, Chace Crawford, Philip Winchester, and Matt Barr.

Set during the Orange-County-Dutchess-County-Ulster-County-and-Westchester-County Mid-Summer Intramural Amateur Baseball Association's semi-finals, the hometown D-Backs are taking on the visiting Bulldogs. Although the overall stakes are low, the game is taken deadly serious. Dampening the mood on the D-Backs, however, is the news that John "Maz" Mazzello, one of their own, has just been passed over for the MLB draft and no one really knows how to handle the disappointment.

The film is based on the experiences of the real John Mazzello, Joseph Mazzello's brother, who dedicated his life to baseball only to go undrafted.

This film provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Boss: Garvey is technically the assistant manager, but no one listens to a word he says.
  • The Alleged Car: Dells drives a beater that is held together by duct tape.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy:
    • Barone is an excellent hitter, but he refuses to exert himself when running the bases to avoid getting his uniform sweaty or dirty.
    • Murray says that Palacco was good enough at baseball (despite coming from Britain) to be drafted into a college program and laments that Palacco decided to focus on partying rather than developing his skills.
  • Chromosome Casting: The cast is overwhelmingly male, with just one female speaking role.
  • Dented Iron: Fotch was a prospect whose career was cut short by a slap tear. He's had multiple surgeries that left his shoulder covered in scars and with limited movement in his arm. This doesn't stop him from being one of the better players on the team.
  • The Determinator: For his final at-bat, Fotch can't use his right arm at all, meaning he can't meet the ball fast enough to get a base hit. So he grits through the pain and fouls off every good pitch sent his way until he gets walked.
  • Manchild: The Bulldogs turn out to be a team full of them as they engage in chants and taunts normally heard in youth games.
  • Must Have Nicotine: Various D-Backs are seen putting a pinch of dip in their lips and spitting throughout the game.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: While sitting on the bench, Palacco, David, and Barone engage in a spirited debate over who the best member of the Backstreet Boys is with Palacco picking Brian and David picking Nick while Barone decides to throw AJ into the mix just to make things more complicated. The argument is unresolved, but the three agree that Justin Timberlake is a rip-off of Nick.
  • Serious Business: Baseball is a passion for everyone involved and why they're all spending their free time taking a low-stakes intramural game as seriously as if they were playing for a spot in the World Series.
  • Shout-Out: The D-Backs bond ahead of the game by singing the AAGPBL victory song from A League of Their Own.
  • Super Ringer: The Bulldogs want to win the game badly enough that they replaced their regular players with minor-leaguers and players from Division I schools.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Maz is constantly praised for being the best player any of the characters have seen. However, he doesn't get drafted and is considering whether to try his luck in the Independent Leagues. Fotch dissuades him, saying that the odds of Maz getting into mainstream baseball through that path are exceedingly slim.
    • When the D-Backs talk about getting drafted and becoming professionals, they don't fantasize about playing in the big leagues. Instead, they discuss how this would mean years spent in the minors getting paid next to nothing while traveling in run-down busses and staying in cheap motels. And all of them would relish the opportunity to do so.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The film was inspired by John Mazzello, Joseph Mazzello's younger brother, who was considered an excellent player but went undrafted.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Everyone says that Maz is the best ballplayer they've ever seen, but conclude that he was passed over for the draft because he lacks physical size. Fotch says that teams would rather try to teach unskilled big players rather than build up skilled small players.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The film ends with home video of the real John Mazzello hitting a game winner with on-screen text explaining that he became a teacher and coach.