Want an idea of how bad floods can get in this area? Take a look at some of these dvds and videos….

Fighting the Floods WQAD’s coverage of the June 2008 floods has footage of the floods in Iowa and Illinois, including Davenport, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

Illinois Valley, Historic Flood of 2008 footage of the September 16th flood along the Illinois River.

’93 Flood This video was aired live during the flood and aftermath; it contains aerial footage of the flooded Mississippi River.

Fatal Flood A 1927 Mississippi River flood killed more than a thousand people and destroyed the homes of millions from Cairo, Illinois on south to New Orleans. This a PBS American Experience program – which are uniformly excellent.

Sugar follows the story of Miguel Santos, a.k.a. Sugar, a Dominican pitcher from San Pedro De Macorís, struggling to make it to the big leagues and pull himself and his family out of poverty. Playing professionally at a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, Miguel finally gets his break at age 19 when he advances to the United States’ minor league system.

Miguel quickly finds that he’s not the only superstar at spring training; there are hundreds of highly talented prospects all trying to land spots on one of the team’s minor league affiliates. Despite this new level of competition, Miguel proves himself exceptional on the mound even here, and lands a spot with the Single-A affiliate in Bridgetown, Iowa – the Swing (actually Davenport, Iowa).

In Bridgetown, Miguel is assigned to a host family, the Higgins, an aging Christian couple who live in an isolated farmhouse. The Higgins are devout Swing fans, and every year they house a new young player from the team. They try to treat Miguel like part of the family, inviting him to dinners, bringing him to church, and even encouraging a tenuous friendship between Miguel and their teenage granddaughter Annie.

Miguel’s domination on the mound masks his underlying sense of isolation, until he injures himself during a routine play at first. While on the disabled list, Jorge – his one familiar connection to home in this strange new place – is cut from the team, having never fully regained his ability following off-season knee surgery.

The new vulnerability of Miguel’s injury, coupled with the loneliness of losing his closest friend, force Miguel to begin examining the world around him and his place within it. As his dream begins to fall apart, Miguel decides to leave baseball to follow another kind of American dream. His odyssey finally brings him to New York City, where he struggles to find community and make a new home for himself, like so many before him. –© Rotten Tomatoes

Parts of the movie were filmed in Davenport at John O’Donnell Stadium ( now Modern Woodman Park) in the summer of 2007 with the team at that time Swing of the Quad Cities. Many Quad Citians were in the movie as extras. All the extras were given T-shirts that said ‘Sugar Davenport Iowa Summer 2007’, plus they were paid. The movie first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2008 were it was called one of the most critically acclaimed films at the festival. The premiere for the movie was held April 24, 2009 in Davenport at the Cinema 53.

During the summer of 2006, my best friend and I drove to Cedar Rapids very early one morning to be extras in a baseball movie called The Final Season. The movie tells the true story of when Norway High School was about to be consolidated into the Benton Community School District, thus bringing an end to the school’s 19-state-title-winning baseball team. In order to squash public resistance, the beloved baseball coach is replaced by a young whippersnapper (played by Sean Astin) who the District hopes will lead the team to a losing final season. Now, I know you, the reader, probably have two questions in your head right now: 1. Did Sean Astin lead the Norway team to a victory?! You will have to check out the movie to find out. and 2. How does a person go about being an extra in an Iowa Baseball movie? Aha, I knew you would ask:

A Short Guide to Being an Extra in an Iowa Baseball Movie:

1. Listen to local radio stations. As soon as they announce an Extra Opportunity, immediately change all your plans for tomorrow. You are going to be in a movie!

2. Don’t worry  if you get lost on the way to the stadium. They will still have LOTS of donuts when you arrive.

3. Wear only solid colors. You may think that your Iowa Hawkeye T-shirt is totally appropriate for a crowd scene in 1990, but the producer only remembers people wearing plain colors and Nike Swooshes.

4. Make sure your best friend has a spare tank top in her purse in case you forget to follow rule #3.

5. Bring a library book  because the movie will not start filming until several hours after you got your donut (click here to see what I was reading that day).

6. Watch Sean Astin’s every move, and try to figure out exactly how many feet away he is standing.

7. Finally, you get to ACT!  Get your hands on a pom-pom prop as soon as possible.

8. Develop a strategy with the extras next to you. For example, during home-run scenes: hug one person, high-five two people behind you, and then punch the sky. Keep track of your actions for each scene so you can spot yourself in the movie later.

9. Forget to put on sunscreen. Thus, later in the evening when everyone is asking  about the sunburn on your forehead, you can answer “Oh yeah, I was in a baseball movie.”

10. After 10 hours of cheering and reading, decide it is time to grab your free Taco Bell coupon and leave. You are now a member of a very special group that includes, but is not limited to, all the people in the traffic jam at the end of The Field of Dreams.