Daniel Freiman with the 'actors'In the film Moneyball, Billy Beane (portrayed by Brad Pitt) has a line that resounds with anyone who grew up a fan of baseball. If you've seen the film you know exactly what scene I'm talking about. Also, if you're at all like me, or Beane in this clip, you may suddenly realize you have something in both your eyes every time that scene comes up. Baseball truly has a way of tugging at the ol' heart strings. Unfortunate moments, like Jeremy Brown scrambling on his stomach back to first, can become "romantic." And moments that haunted an entire nation of baseball fans for decades can become a dream come true for a group of less fortunate children. Daniel Freiman of Toronto, Ont., did just that — he turned one of the most devastating moments in baseball history into a profoundly uplifting moment for a group of orphans in Kenya.
I had a chance to catch up with Freiman, who shone some light on how the re-enactment came about.
Firstly, tell me a little about what brought you to Kenya
I am volunteering in Kenya with IVHQ [International Volunteer HQ]. IVHQ is a volunteer organization that places volunteers around the world in developing countries. I heard terrific things from past volunteers about both the program and Kenya and it seemed like a worthwhile and unique experience. I have always loved being around kids so it was an easy decision for me to request a school placement within Kenya. My role at the school is to teach the students physical education.
Why the 1986 World Series? As a Canadian, I'd think Game 6 of the 1993 Series would be your first choice.
[The]'93 home run is the greatest play in the history of baseball, no question, but I felt there were more 'main roles' for students to play in the 1986 World Series. You have [Bill] Buckner, [Mookie] Wilson, [Ray] Knight, and Bill Robinson playing big parts. With [Joe] Carter in '93 you're limited to Carter and Mitch Williams (and maybe the fan that ran onto the field near the plate, and the [two] security guards chasing him).
It would have also been challenging for any student to belt a home run down the left field line, let alone perfect Joe's jump for joy.
The Buckner play was simple to execute and the filming took only 20 minutes.
Although it looks like they had a great time with the re-enactment, I imagine these kids have never heard of Bill Buckner. How did they respond when you approached them to do this?
From left to right. Top row: Godfrey Mburu, Stephen Maina, Brian Wainaina, Timothy Mungai. …Students were ecstatic about the idea of making a sports movie. THEY LOVE CAMERAS AND LOVE GOING TO THE FIELD. They also love leaving the orphanage and the chores that come with living there. I explained the significance of the play and they were excited to re-create it. The students are the most enthusiastic kids I have ever been around.
Did you imagine having such a positive response to the video?
I thought that the few people I sent it to would enjoy it, but I never imagined it would garner this much positive attention. I told the students the other day that it had over 30,000 views [88,585 views as of June 14]. The kids are movie stars and they now know it.
An article is up on the NY POST [website] that mentions Brian Wainaina, Paul Mangathe, and Timothy Mungai. The story is now posted next to their beds in the orphanage. They are so happy.
Do you have any plans for any further re-enactments?
If time permits I would love to. I know the students would too.
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