Hardball (2001) - Synopsis
A man merely drifting through his life is about to find inner strength he never knew he had. In Hardball, Keanu Reeves portrays Conor O'Neill-an underachiever who is both inspired and redeemed by the unlikeliest group of people he could ever have imagined.
Conor likes to bet on sports games, which makes him a dubious choice for a role model. However, his buddy won't help him pay off his debts unless he coaches for a corporately sponsored youth baseball team.
All of a sudden, Conor O'Neill is thrust into moulding underprivileged kids into a cohesive unit in one of the toughest parts of Chicago.
What could hardly be a worse punishment to Conor will slowly become a learning experience. For the first time in his life, this man is responsible for someone other than himself.
His meager existence and selfish pursuits begin to seem empty, and his eyes are opened by young lives and hearts barely scraping by on the fringes of society.
Surprising even himself, Conor begins to form deep attachments to the street-smart youngsters-and to their dedicated young teacher (Diane Lane). These impoverished boys are able to show the aimless O'Neill a thing or two about trust and heart.
Tough on the outside but vulnerable inside, his kids come to rely on Conor and baseball to lift them-if only for a few hours-out of their hard and sometimes tragic lives.
The boys begin to realize they can triumph over their often oppressive environment, and their coach learns even more: Conor discovers that redemption can come in all shapes and sizes, and from the most unexpected source.
Keanu Reeves stars in Hardball and is directed by Brian Robbins. Diane Lane co-stars, and also appearing in the film are John Hawkes, Mike McGlone and D.B. Sweeney. The screenplay is by John Gatins, inspired by the book Hardball: A Season in the Projects by Daniel Coyle.