Documentary film crew follows actor Jon Hamm’s return to Field of Dreams
On Sep. 16, Hollywood filmmakers, writers, and actors came into the prison to film a documentary depicting their participation in a baseball rivalry game. The SQ Giants beat the LA Love baseball team 8-6.
The game took place during the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) strike, a contentious times for both groups. While waiting for their respective union negotiations, actors and writers who love the game of baseball came to San Quentin to enjoy a day of recreation with the incarcerated.
“I wanted to share the SQ baseball stories to the public so people that it is something different,” Documentary Producer Brian Nicholes said. “It’s surreal.”
Nicholes was inspired to create the yet-untitled SQ documentary project from his visits to the prison and from playing baseball with Brandon Terrell and Deuy Dumont.
Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor / comedian Jon Hamm boogied around bases and hit RBIs on the San Quentin’s Field of Dreams, while sporting the number 23 jersey for Team LA Love. “So far, so good. Great game, good field, good defense and the ball’s in play,” Hamm said as he ran off to go bat.
Other writers who partook in the documentary included Alex Ansoleaga, Jack Donaldson, and Brian Nicholes, who were responsible for bringing the LA Love baseball team in. Also present were David Gould and Justin Halpern, writer/producer of ABC’s “Abbot Elementary.”
“Believe it or not, I can throw about a 70 or 80 mile-per-hour pitch,” Halpern said. He has been in the business for 15 years, and has won a Golden Globe, three Emmys, and the Critic’s Choice Award.
Some of the crew brought in their sons to get the prison experience, and they all played different positions. The LA Love team were the only ones to beat the SQ Giants when the Giants went on the legendary 38-2 run in 2019. But this time, they were struggling. It wasn’t until the later innings that the LA Love started to make a comeback from their 3-0 deficit.
Hamm hit a double RBI to help Team LA Love put their first points on the board. From there, a few of his teammates contributed points on offense, but it was too late in the last inning.
“They beat us in 2019 we had a 30 and 2 record. Therefore, there is a little resentment. We owe them that. They brought some good players and it is a good game. It’s appreciative they can go anywhere in the world but they came here, for people who do not get visits,” SQ Giants Head coach Richard “Will” Williams said.
Judah Gould, the son of David Gould, exposed a tattoo of a baseball symbol that he and his dad share as a sentimental gesture of their shared love of baseball.
“Prisons shouldn’t exist in the world,” the younger Gould said emphatically. The kids of the writers were keeping their elders in the game. Young Gould was at third and snatched a fly ball out of mid-air.
Brian Nicholes had two of his sons on deck. Gunnar and Hudson who played high school baseball. While Gunnar was at short-stop, Hudson was on the mound at pitcher throwing heat across the plate.
During a medical alarm, Brian Nicholes and his sons took a knee at the mound in solidarity with the incarcerated having to get down on the ground. After waiting for the everlasting alarm to be over, the game resumed.
“Having volunteers come in and play with the population ties into the Governor’s announcement, which is to enlighten the community regarding the rehabilitative programming offer,” Lieutenant G. Berry, the public information officer, said.
“Introducing the California model and creating an environment that promotes common humanity is the goal…It is imperative that we provide as many vocational rehabilitative programs as possible, so that when they enter back into society they are prepared and employable with the skills they’ve obtained while incarcerated.”