Sports Film Review - 'The Lost Son of Havana' - watch it
I have to admit when I saw that ESPN was showing, 'The Lost Son of Havana', a documentary on Luis Tiant's return to Cuba after 46 years, I was skeptical. Like their caricature-worthy anchors, ESPN usually produces over-dramatic, sentimental crap. This is absolutely not the case with this film by Jonathan Hock. It is a powerful story - combining Luis' baseball life, his relationship with his father (a great player in his own right) and his return to Cuba into a tight, thoughtful film.
Just Luis Tiant's baseball story, if made-up, would come off as hokey and unbelievable. His MLB debut was in 1964 at Yankee Stadium (of course) versus Whitey Ford (of course) and Tiant wins in a CG shut-out (of course) - he says that it was the best day of his life. An injury almost forces him out of baseball, before his Boston-revival. The film includes extensive baseball footage and interviews including Game 4 of the 1975 World Series - Tiant gutted through a 173 pitch 5-4 win over the Reds to tie the series. Much more from Carlton Fisk, Yaz and Peter Gammons.
The footage of Cuba was great and the reunion with relatives and friends in Havana is sentimental, but in a good way. The pain Tiant feels over his abandonment of his country is never expressed verbally, but captured fully. The sacrifices he made to pursue his baseball dreams are difficult to comprehend and make for a compelling 90 minutes on the couch.
Check it out.