I show this movie to my Spanish classes (9,10, 11). It has a couple of scenes that are I prefer to skip (drinking and some sex implied). I use it along the documentary "Pelotero". I can have the students make connections, question the idea that it is easy to become a professional ball player. For the students that are not so interested in baseball, there is plenty of other areas to focus their attention, for example, culture shock, assimilation, diversity, challenge stereotypes (both of Dominicans and White Americans).
Why is it that the majority of baseball movies of the past 20-25 years are comedies? Think about it: Bull Durham, Major League, Little Big League, Angels in the Outfield, etcetera, have all been played for laughs. Frankly, most of the baseball movies that HAVE gone the serious route just haven't cut it, but "Sugar" works...and it works well.
"Sugar" is about Miguel "Sugar" (or "Azucar") Santos, a teenaged pitcher from an impoverished background in the Dominican Republic. You get to watch how Sugar progresses from a baseball academy in the DR to his signing with the fictitious Kansas City Knights, who then send him to the equally fictitious Bridgeport Swing of the very real Class A Midwest League. In this movie, "Bridgeport" is actually Davenport, Iowa, home of a real Midwest League team that plays its home games in John O'Donnell Stadium (one of the little jewels of minor league ballparks).
The movie then shows the culture shock Sugar experiences in...
I enjoyed this movie. Although slow at times. Most of the baseball movies start out with the young kids in the poor neighborhoods NYC, Boston, etc. playing sandlot baseball and the one who makes it to the big leagues. This was an interesting view with a similar take but instead for Caribbean players and their attempts to get to the big time. The pressure of being one chosen to go to the US and the absolute lack of guarantees that you will make it after that. It brings home the fact that for every player who succeeds there are 50 that do not. I would recommend this movie
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