I have long been fascinated with Cuban baseball. The island nation, 90 miles away from the U.S. geographically, but a world a part politically, features some of the best baseball players that no one has ever heard of. In July’s Vanity Fair, Michael Lewis of Moneyball fame pens one of the best magazine pieces on baseball I’ve ever read. His title: Commie Ball: A Journey to the End of a Revolution.
Lewis’ story is fascinating on two fronts. First, he explores the sad and odd case of Gus Dominguez, a Cuban American serving jail time for allegedly smuggling athletes into the U.S. from Cuba. As Lewis makes abundantly clear in the article, Dominguez’s guilt is highly questionable, and despite a verdict from the jury and his current five-year sentence, the government’s case against him is both full of holes and indicative of the current state of the nation’s immigration policies.
The second part of the story involves a journey Lewis made — somewhat secretly, somewhat not, as you’ll see — to Cuba to explore the Communist nation and understand what baseball means to Cuba. While it clocks in at 25 printed pages, the piece is exceptional, and I highly recommend it for its stories, its characters, and Lewis’ writing. [Commie Ball with a hat tip to the Banter and Dayn Perry]