Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel is the documentary that tells the story of the underdog team that shook the hearts of Jews across the globe. It wasn’t just that Team Israel grabbed the hearts of Jewish baseball fans but they were never expected to go as far as they did.
When Team Israel won the qualifier over Great Britain in 2016 and advanced to the the 2017 World Baseball Classic, MLB reporter Jonathan Mayo was instrumental in organizing a trip to Israel for the squad. The large majority of the film focuses on the trip to Israel through the eyes of Ike Davis, Josh Zeid, Sam Fuld, Ty Kelly, and Cody Decker. The rest of the team, not so much. This is the documentary’s biggest fault: not giving equal time to the other players on Team Israel that made the trip to the Promised Land. It’s understandable that only so much can be told in just over 90 minutes but it’s a shame that not every player gets equal treatment on screen.
If anything, the filmmakers could have bleeped out the few F bombs so as to make the film family friendly! That being said, according to the studio, a cleaner version is being planned for ten days from now. There are a lot of young baseball fans whose parents will want to take them to see this film and nobody could blame them. Thankfully, the cleaner version will allow for young Jewish teens and pre-teens to be inspired to take up baseball as a sport because of the impact that this team will have on younger audiences. It’s the film’s hope that the 2017 Team Israel squad will inspire Israelis to take up baseball so that future rosters won’t be dominated by American Jews qualifying under the heritage rule.
Co-directors Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger followed Team Israel as they made their trip to Israel but also as they swept through Pool A in Korea and through their battle in the next round. When Team Israel swept Pool A play, they didn’t just shock the world, they SHOCKED THE WORLD! In essence, they became to Israel what the 1988 Bobsled team was for Jamaica. Many of these players had never set foot in Israel and this trip paves the way for the team to be contemporary Maccabees.
In addition to the baseball coverage, Matisyahu’s “King Without A Crown” and Kosha Dillz’ “Jews With Bats” helps to complement the film.
Heading Home is a film that will tell the legend of Team Israel for years to come.
DIRECTORS: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger
FEATURING: Peter Kurz, Jerry Weinstein, Margo Sugarman, Ike Davis, Sam Fuld, Ryan Lavarnway, Ty Kelly, Corey Baker, Jeremy Bleich, Jason Marquis, Jon Moscot, Danny Valencia, Scott Burcham, and Cody Decker
Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel is currently playing the Jewish film festival circuit and will receive a theatrical release from Menemsha Films at a later date.