In an artful pastiche of observation, personal narrative, interviews, and investigative reporting, S.L. Price, a Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated, describes sports and athletes in today's Cuba. On his many journeys to the island, Price finds a country that celebrates sports like no other and a leader who uses athletics as both symbol and weapon in his country's dying revolution.With Castro's regime staggering beneath the weight of a great depression and international sanctions, Cuba's famed sports machine is imploding. Athletes are defecting by plane and raft. Superstars bike to games and train with shoddy equipment in bare gyms; and champion boxers, baseball players, and gymnasts are forced to scrounge for spare change on the streets. In 1959, when Castro rose to power, he declared a new era in Cuban baseball. Within four years all professional Cuban sports had been outlawed, and Castro condemned as traitors those athletes who defected to the United States in search of product endorsements and six-figure salaries.In interviews with Teofilo Stevenson, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, and Ana Quirot, S.L. Price unearths the truth about sports in Cuba and explores the complex reasons that drive athletes of promise to flee their homeland. Beyond an examination of sports in the hothouse of revolution, Pitching Around Fidel presents a vibrant and realistic portrait of Cuba today, complete with sex-happy toursits, blackouts, Fidel's famous former lover, and Charles Hill, a black nationalist fugitive wanted in the United States for murder and hijacking. At once a biting travelogue and a meditation on sports in both America and Cuba, Pitching Around Fidel is a valuable document about a time and a place that are close to fading away.
Nonfiction, Politics, Ideologies,