• Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey Into The Heart Of Cuban Sports

Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey Into The Heart Of Cuban Sports

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    “Fascinating.”—Chicago Tribune

     

    “Unprecedented. . . . Astonishing.”—Miami Herald

     

    “A rarity: a balanced, compassionate, intimate journal of Cuba’s slow, agonizing decay.”—Sports Illustrated

     

    “Price describes a lovely, proud, impoverished people caught in [a] repressive system that destroys thousands as it celebrates a handful.”—Kirkus

     

    “Takes the wider view, poking its nose into the politics and culture of Cuba every few pages. Price has an easy, lyrical style that elevates his work beyond the usual sports fare.”—Business Week

     

    “Fascinating, sometimes hilarious, often heart-wrenching.”—Philadelphia Inquirer

     

    “Easily the most engaging book on Cuban sports—if not Cuba—published in many years.”—Baseball America

     

    “Offers a rare and provocative tour of the world’s most remarkable sports culture. It’s an unforgettable story of supremely gifted athletes, the utter madness of politics, and the scent of big money across the sea.”—Carl Hiaasen

     

    “Price is one of the finest writers on sports anywhere.”—USA Today

     

    At the core of Cuban sports is an enigma that Sports Illustrated senior writer S.L. Price captures in two sentences. The first part of it "holds that the great Cuban sports machine--instrument of totalitarian control and propaganda--is rightfully cracking apart. The second holds that Castro's regime not only has produced an unparalleled athletic system, but has also fostered a sports purist's delight, an American ideal, no less, for Cuba is one of the last places where athletes play for little more than love of the game." How is that possible? Pitching Around Fidel smartly aligns the contradictions. It's a provocative and penetrating look at the most fascinating and rabid sports culture on the planet, why sports in Cuba works, why it doesn't, and how its marvelous and gifted athletes are torn between the loyalties of home and the whiff of money 90 miles across the sea.

    Cuban athletes have been put on a pedestal since Castro took power, and their achievements on the international stage have swelled the national chest and been interpreted as triumphs over capitalism. Yet as conditions on the embargoed island deteriorate, athletes who complain are banished to oblivion, while others--think Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez of the Yankees and Mets shortstop Rey Ordonez--flee for freedom and cash. Price's reportage on how freedom and money have changed many of the exiles, Ordonez most notably, is stunning. And still, despite rundown facilities and repatched equipment, Cuba keeps turning out remarkable athletes and loyal fans.

    Examining the state of sports on the island, Price is in effect examining the state itself, and his own relationship to sports--and the big money of American sports--in the process. While the portrait he paints is not pretty, it is fascinating. There's much poignance in the joy that emanates from Cuba's playing fields, the passion in the stands, and the shabbiness Price observes in the appearance of the great Teofilo Stevenson--the multi-Olympic heavyweight champion and the island's reigning sports icon. Not even an icon can override the revolution's contradictions. --Jeff Silverman

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      Additional Information

      Author

      S. L. Price

      Binding

      Paperback

      EAN

      9780813049687

      Edition

      Revised

      ISBN

      0813049687

      Label

      University Press of Florida

      Manufacturer

      University Press of Florida

      NumberOfPages

      312

      ProductGroup

      Book

      ProductTypeName

      ABIS_BOOK

      PublicationDate

      2014-03-25

      Publisher

      University Press of Florida

      Studio

      University Press of Florida

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