I probably would not be the passionate fan of baseball I am today if not for my dad first introducing me to The Grand Old Game when I was a child. Maybe I still would be. But I tend to feel more like maybe not.
The just released short film “The Free Agent Fan” is a vivid reminder about how and why I first fell head-over-spikes in love with baseball, and how integral my father was in igniting my fire for the sport.
This is the true story of Michael Volpe, a civil servant who in the mid-1990’s became so upset that his favorite team, The San Francisco Giants, traded his hero, slugger Matt Williams, that he officially “resigned” as a lifelong fan of the club. Volpe then embarked upon his own personal crusade, dispatching a series of letters (this was before email became as common as air) to a host of organizations around both Major and Minor League Baseball. The thrust of his mission was to offer his services as a freshly minted “free agent fan” to the folks who, in essence, showed him the most love.
Local and national media outlets soon caught wind of Volpe’s campaign (and this sans benefit of the now ubiquitous onslaught of social media, mind you) and he and his heartfelt cause became nothing short of a one-man/fan sensation. For those unfamiliar with this fascinating tale I’m not gonna spill the beans-let’s make that “sunflower seeds”-and reveal what eventually became of Volpe’s curiously cool quest. Except to say that I for one completely comprehend his fervent regard for this great game. And how those both running and putting on the show far too often look upon us fans almost as incidental. We’ve got news for you, folks. Try seeing how subsidiary we are when nobody’s plopping their asses down in your palatial stadium seats or eyeballing the commercials you pay so dearly for on the myriad of TV channels we scope your product out on these days. The resultant lesson learned would be a profoundly painful one, believe us.
If it seems that there is a little kick of extra spirit and soul invested into the making of “The Free Agent Fan” and the recognition of Mike Volpe’s remarkable exploits, that’s because there is. The first-time Director, Producer and expert Editor is “relatively” close to this guy. Andrew Volpe is Mike’s son.
I had the pleasure recently of talking with Andrew Volpe about his film. The two things that stuck with me the most about our conversation were these: How damn, and justifiably, proud he is of his impressive rookie entertainment production. And that he is “really proud of my dad.”
I may not be able to relate professionally to the first emotion. But I most definitely, and very deeply, identify personally with the latter.
If you’d like to watch “The Free Agent Fan” for free online, and I highly recommend it, you can do so here:
- Plot/Screenplay - 8/108/10
- Setting/Theme - 8/108/10
- Recyclability - 8/108/10