Sunday, April 19, 2009
Baseball movies have been around almost as long as the game itself. Always filled with emotion, they never fail to bring a tear or raise your spirit. Now comes a baseball movie that avoids the Hollywood clichés. "Sugar" is a fictionalized story of a young pitcher in the Dominican Republic who dreams of making it in the American big leagues and that's where the Hollywood version would start. However, that where it really ends.
The film takes you into the world of farm teams, A, double A, and triple A baseball. This is the harsh road leading to the majors littered with castoff hopefuls and wannabe superstars. We see the world through the eyes of Miguel "Sugar" Santos as he gets the call and gets his chance at American baseball.
Arriving in America, speaking barely any English, Santos might as well be on an alien planet. All he knows is baseball and like every other kid, dreams of playing one day in Yankee Stadium. The film takes us through the highs and lows of farm team baseball and shows the harsh realities for boys like Santos who dream big. It's an emotional journey with unexpected twists and turns. Algenis Perez Soto is excellent as Sugar. The camera constantly studies his bewildered face as he navigates through this foreign landscape.
This is a very different kind of baseball film. No big stars and certainly no big Hollywood ending. It will make you think the next time you consider the poor play of a major leaguer when you realize just how good he had to be to get to the big time. While "Sugar" may be a fictional character, his story is all too real.