In 1999, a Cuban All-Stars baseball team played home and away games against the Baltimore Orioles - the first such encounter between the US and Cuba in more that 30 years. The games, welcomed by some as a politically motivated gesture of reconciliation, but dismissed by others as a cynical attempt by the Orioles to gain leverage on Cuba's immense pool of talent, bookend this emotive and skilful documentary tracing the history of baseball in Cuba. It was first adopted as an anti-Spanish activity and popularised by workers in the sugar beet factories. It prospered as the island's national sport with Cuban teams competing at a high standard in the States. Then came Castro (no mean player himself), the end of professionalism and a glorification of the amateur ethos. The passage on the American blockade and its impact is fascinating, including superb archive footage and interviews with some of those who couldn't resist the lure of the dollar and defected. Proof positive that politics and sport can never be separated.
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