06/04/2007 10:38 AM ET
Relive Latin American history on DVD
Caribbean Series, Classic highlight 'Beisbol: The Latin Game'
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
The world watched in March 2006, as Cuba advanced to the World Baseball Classic finals. (Donald Miralle/Getty)
It was known to many as the real Caribbean Series. It was the ultimate battle for baseball supremacy in Latin America.
And appearing for the first time in a competition full of Major League players: Cuba. Of the 16 teams competing in the inaugural World Baseball Classic, six were from Latin America and none were more mysterious than the Cuban National team. So when Cuba took the field for every World Baseball Classic game in March 2006 against the top talent in the Spanish-speaking world, it meant more than just a ballgame.
It was history.
"This is not the Pan-Am Games or whatever or a national competition, this is the real game right here," Dominican Republic catcher Alberto Castillo said before his team faced Cuba in the semifinals. "Between the two lines, we will see who is the best."
Cuba won that day at PETCO Park in San Diego. Now baseball fans get the chance to be winners in their own right by reliving the World Baseball Classic experience and countless other treasures in "MLB Presents Béisbol: The Latin Game," a comprehensive DVD in English from Major League Baseball Productions ($11.99) that is now available at the MLB.com Shop.
The DVD takes you on a journey through the pageantry of the Caribbean Series to the World Baseball Classic and all the villages, cities, countries and baseball academies in between. From Miguel Tejada to David Ortiz to Alex Rodriguez, many of the biggest names in baseball are of Latino descent. "MLB Presents Béisbol: The Latin Game" gives you a sneak peek and a behind-the-scenes look at Latino players -- who they are, where they come from and where they are going. Baseball would not be the game it is today without Latino players. "Béisbol: The Latin Game" shows fans why.
"It really does not matter what color of skin you are and what ethnical background you come with," former Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams said. "If you can hit, if you can throw, if you can play well, you are going to get the opportunity to show what you can do. That's just part of the American dream."
The 120-minute DVD features a convenient sorting capability on its menu, allowing fans to go straight to chapters that include:
Open: Latin Explosion
Chevy Presents The Latino Legends Team
Pioneers: Humble beginnings
Latinos in the Game Today
The Island of Baseball: The D.R.
Beyond the Diamond
"MLB Presents Béisbol: The Latin Game" also features a chapter on Cuba and Mexico, along with a chapter on Puerto Rico and Venezuela. An extensive list of bonus features that highlights career milestones of some of today's top Latino stars is also available on the DVD. Spanish-language features are also available in the bonus section.
In-depth interviews with the Latino stars of yesterday, today and tomorrow highlight the DVD.
"It's great for the kids to look up to us and see in each one of us a sign of hope," Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez said. "They have to believe that if we could do it, why couldn't they?"
Here are a few of the other highlights on the DVD:
A look at the first Latino players to play in the Major Leagues, including a profile of Cuban pitcher Adolfo Luque, known as the first Latino player to shine in the big leagues.
"What he did was prove to the Americans that Cubans could succeed here, not only at playing, but also at adapting to life in this country and to the Major Leagues," said author Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria.
A reminder of the social injustices faced by the first Latino players who came to the United States to play in the Major Leagues, and how Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947 impacted Latino players all over the world.
"When I first came to the United States, I did not know one word of English," Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda said. "Being black and Latin, I used to stay at different hotels. It was very hard for us."
A look at Puerto Rico's Roberto Clemente, known to many as "The Great One," and arguably the most influential Latino player of all time for his skills as a player on the field and humanitarian efforts off of it.
"He's the greatest ballplayer I have ever seen," former pitcher Dock Ellis said. "I have seen some guys who people have said are better, but I know better because I saw it."
A look back at Fernandomania, the Alou family and the Alomar family. Get to know Big Papi and Albert Pujols and some of the biggest Latino stars in the game today.
Meet the Mets' Omar Minaya, the first Latino general manager in baseball, and Angels owner Arte Moreno, the first Latino owner in the history of the game. Remember the 2005 World Series champion Chicago White Sox when Ozzie Guillen became the first Latino manager to lead his team to the title.
"I love Venezuela," Guillen said. "I love the way we are. I love what kind of country we have. Even though we have been criticized, I cannot live without my people."
Fans of the game cannot live without this DVD. It is a must-have for baseball aficionados and béisbol lovers all over the world.