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Film on Japanese traveling baseball team premieres Saturday

June 23, 2010 |  6:43 am

Five years after a team of Japanese players made the ultimate road trip by enduring 90 games in 96 days without a single home game as part of the independent Golden Baseball League's inaugural season, a documentary entitled "Season of the Samurai" will premiere at 4 p.m. PDT Saturday on the MLB Network.

The film centers on the interaction between the Samurai Bears' foul-mouthed manager, Warren Cromartie, and the vastly more reserved and polite players on his team who don't quite know how to handle a seemingly never-ending string of expletives. An unedited version that includes all of the colorful language and a hilarious opening scene in which Cromartie teaches his unsuspecting players several choice phrases on a grease board can be seen on the soon-to-be-released DVD version.

The season took a heavy toll on Cromartie and the Samurai Bears. As the temperatures soared and the losses mounted, a significant chunk of the roster was sent home to Japan and the team's translator left as a result of tensions between Cromartie and the players. Nevertheless, the search for victories and common ground leads to several heartwarming exchanges during the team's only season in the GBL.

Replays of the documentary can be seen on the MLB Network on June 27 and July 4.

-- Ben Bolch

[For the record, 9:19 a.m. June 23: The headline and text on an earlier version of this post incorrectly said "Season of the Samurai" would premiere on Friday instead of Saturday. 12:09 p.m. June 27: An earlier version of this post said the documentary would be replayed June 28 instead of 27.]

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