Sure, it’s the off-season for America’s national pastime, but there’s no such thing as too much baseball. To get you in the mood for some long extra innings of winter training, this DVD of the week shows how tough it is to make it to the Big Leagues.
Release Date: 2008
Starring: Algenis Perez Soto, Rayniel Rufino, Ann Whitney and Ellary Porterfield
Miguel “Sugar” Santos (Soto) is a 19-year-old Dominican who’s in love with baseball. He doesn’t feel at home unless he’s on the mound throwing devastating curveballs. Sugar’s talent earns him a ticket out of the DR and a life of poverty. After proving his worth in a tryout with the fictional major league Kansas City Knights, he is sent to the Knights’ minor league affiliate in Bridgeport, Iowa, where he lives with a farm family that takes in ball players every year.
At first, Sugar is unable to communicate in English, and his new environment makes him feel isolated. His only friend, Jorge (Rufino), a veteran Dominican minor leaguer, tries to guide him on a path to greatness, teaching him that there’s more to the game than striking batters out. Eventually, Sugar’s struggles on the mound and off the field begin to take a toll. Following an injury, he is demoted to the bull pen, and Sugar must decide if he wants to chase his Big League dream or give it up.
STACK’s Take: A realistic portrayal of the difficulties faced by foreign players trying to make it to the Majors. But athletes from anywhere, who are trying to make a name for themselves in any sport, can learn a lot from this film.