The passion for the sport on both sides of the Straits of Florida was evident in 1999, when a historic two-game series pitted the Baltimore Orioles against the Cuban National Team. For the first time in 40 years, a major league team played in Havana, and the Cuban team traveled to Baltimore. In packed stadiums, cowbells and fans, and protesters and conga drums provided a backbeat for the series. But, behind the excitement lay a complex history of competition and cooperation that stretches back to baseball’s 19th century origins.
Greener Grass: Cuba, Baseball and the United States highlights the defection of Cuban pitcher Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who was signed by the New York Yankees in 1998.
By looking at more than a century of baseball history, Greener Grass: Cuba, Baseball and the United States illustrates the ways in which the game has served as a common ground and a test of strength between politically estranged countries. It also reveals how the sport can be seen as a microcosm that reflects divergent national identities, as well as underlying tensions of race, democracy, and opportunity.
Featured interviews include Tommy Lasorda of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who was a former player in the Cuban Professional League; Wilfredo Sanchez, Cuba’s all-time hits leader; Rudolfo Fernandez, former coach of the Almendares and Habana baseball clubs in Cuba and star player for The New York Cubans in the Negro Leagues; and many others.
- Aaron WoolfProducer
- Rudolph CallegariProducer
- Nancy RothProducer