Brothers in Exile (2014) Movie Script

[upbeat music]
[Announcer] 30 for 30.
[soft music]
[Commentator] Livan Hernandez
was just a 13-year-old kid
in Cuba dreaming of one day
playing in the World Series.
And the young Cuban Defector,
he has been outstanding,
Rich, his last three starts.
[Commentator 2] The ref
is called out on strikes.
15 strikeouts for Hernandez.
[Commentator 3] The
more publicity he gets,
perhaps the more trouble he
causes for his half brother.
[Commentator 4] His
half brother, Orlando,
who is a virtual
political prisoner.
[calm music]
[Commentator 5] But now it
is the turn for El Duque,
Orlando Hernandez, having
survived his escape
on the high sea.
[Commentator 1] He was
banned from Cuban baseball.
They suspected he would defect,
especially after his
brother, Livan did.
[Commentator 6] Nobody throws
from this many arm angles
and has this many pitches
to get guys out on.
[Commentator 7] El Duque
comes in with the bases loaded,
three balls, two
strikes, two out.
Start your engines roaring!
[Commentator 1] And
listen to the fans.
[audience cheering]
And there's a strike three
pitch by Orlando Hernandez.
Call it strike three
for Livan Hernandez.
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
-[horn playing]
-[audience cheering]
[Man] If you went to a ball
game in the '90s in Cuba,
you'd be very impressed
with the level of talent,
with the level of
competition, with the quality
of their ball players.
[commentator speaking Spanish]
[upbeat music]
[Peter] There were quite a
number of players on the island
of Cuba who could step right
in and have great success
in the Major Leagues.
[commentator speaking Spanish]
At that time, the best team
was the Industriales of Havana.
The Industriales were
just like the Yankees.
They had the best players.
Everybody came out to see them.
[commentator speaking Spanish]
[Steve] And the best
pitcher for the Industriales,
the best pitcher in the
country, was, you know,
this guy, Orlando,
El Duque, Hernandez.
[commentator speaking Spanish]
The nickname, El Duque was
a name that he had inherited
from his father.
His father was a
semi-pro pitcher in Cuba.
So, I think the athletic
genes got passed down.
He had a million different
arm angles and pitches.
He was mesmerizing.
I mean, he was beautiful
in the way that he pitched.
[commentator speaking Spanish]
There was something old
school about El Duque.
He wore his cap
all the way down.
His pant legs were short
with the high stockings.
He had that high leg kick
and he was a superstar.
On the streets everybody
recognized him.
[speaking Spanish]
[Peter] El Duque had a very impressive
record in the Cuban League.
He ended up with a career
of 728 winning percentage,
won 126 games.
[commentator speaking Spanish]
Up to this date, that
record still stands in Cuba.
When I first met him, he was
supported by the government,
which had given him a house.
He had a wife, two kids.
He was playing on
the national team.
He was a star in his country.
He had a very stable life.
[speaking Spanish]
-[players chattering]
-[calm music]
[Livan speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[Steve] Livan grew up on Isla de la
Juventud, which is an island
off of mainland Cuba.
[calm music]
First of all, Livan and El
Duque, they're half brothers,
so they share the same father.
Growing up they
weren't super close.
El Duque was 10 years older.
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] Livan and El Duque,
they're like total opposites as people.
El Duque, he had an incredible
dedication to training.
He was a serious man.
Livan, he never had the
discipline that his brother had.
He was also very young.
The one thing I
would say about Livan
is he's just an
incredible athlete.
Livan's pitching motion
is just a thing of beauty.
He had a kind of ferocity.
It was just unbelievable
to watch him.
[commentator speaking Spanish]
Livan played for Isla de la
Juventud, the Isle of Youth,
in the National Series.
He was just a natural.
He actually had a great
sense of the strike zone.
He was a very
efficient pitcher.
[commentator speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
Of course, this overlapped
with the special period
at the end of the 1980s
and things were very rough
in Cuba economically, which
had a very definite impact
on Cuban baseball.
[audience clapping
and chanting]
[Fidel speaking in Spanish]
[Ray] It was around 1990 that
Cuba learned that the Soviet Union
would stop subsidizing Cuba.
Billions of dollars stopped
coming into the island.
[Steve] You had the U.S. trade embargo
still very much in effect
so when the Soviet
Union ceased to exist,
Cuba's economy effectively
ceased to exist and it plunged
the island into an era
of incredible deprivation
and poverty.
[Ray] That's when Fidel
came up with the term,
"The special period
in the time of peace."
[Fidel speaking in Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[Ray] The lines at the government-run
stores got longer...
Transportation was abysmal.
It was a very dark period.
Baseball was hit in
the same way
that the special period
hit the entire economy
so the players had nothing.
[speaking Spanish]
[Peter] It's the desire of
every talented player in Cuba
to play for the national team,
simply because of their
ability to travel overseas.
These players take
boxes of cigars,
which they can sell to fans.
They often sell their
uniform jerseys,
or their practice jerseys.
[speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
It speaks to the sort of
level of humiliation, really,
that existed during that
It would be impossible for
those guys to not be seduced
by what they were seeing,
which was a much more
comfortable way of life.
For a young Cuban baseball
player, a childhood dream
to pitch in the U.S. is
suddenly within reach.
[Reporter] On Sunday, he
was pitching in Memphis.
Three days later, Cuban
baseball star, Ren Arocha,
was defecting in Miami.
Friends say Ren Arocha's dream
is to play baseball,
When Ren Arocha
defected and signed
a Major League contract
that pretty much opened
the floodgates and all of
a sudden you had all types
of sports agents trying
to get players out.
The most high profile person,
the most notorious agent,
was a guy named Joe Cubas.
[upbeat music]
Well, I think it started
when I saw Ren Arocha
be the first one to
make that decision.
I think as soon as that
happened, it opened my eyes.
[Ray] Joe Cubas was born
in Miami.
His parents came here
from Cuba at the beginning
of the Cuban Revolution.
[Steve] Joe Cubas was
a market maker.
He recognized, very early
on, that if you could get
these baseball players
out of Cuba and sell them
to the Major Leagues
that he, himself,
could make a great
deal of money.
Castro has hurt the
Cuban people too long.
If this is something that
hits him where it hurts,
then so be it.
For somebody like him,
whose parents ended
up leaving Cuba,
anything he could do to
tweak the Castro government
was gonna be regarded
as a positive thing.
But that wasn't his
primary motivation.
His primary motivation was
to make a lot of money.
[upbeat music]
At first he borrowed
money from a cousin of his.
[Man] I got involved
in this situation
because he don't got no money.
I said, "Cuz, don't
worry about it.
"I put my money, go ahead,
cuz, do your dream, do it."
And then he put the
whole thing in motion.
He had a small army of
associates who would stalk
the Cuban team around
the world.
We would follow the
Cuban national team
for all the places they played,
Tennessee, Mexico,
Japan and Venezuela
and made contact with
all the ball players.
[Man 2] Some of the
quote-unquote trainers
were actually bodyguards,
and there were a
couple of occasions
where Joe was confronted.
I mean, in Albany, Georgia,
security forces recognized
Joe Cubas and they
wanted to go after him
with a baseball bat.
I have had to check into
hotels under different names.
[Interviewer] Have you
ever worn a disguise?
We've changed our
appearances, yes, yes.
[Interviewer] Do
you use hand signals?
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
By 1994, the special
period in the time of peace
had actually become
an economic crisis.
Life became tougher.
Baseball players, everyone
was trying to figure out
how to make a living.
[Reporter] In early August,
the Cuban capital, Havana,
saw its first street
disturbances since the demise
of the Soviet Union.
The endurance of some
Cubans in the face of severe
economic hardship had
reached breaking point.
[Ray] The deprivation
of the special period
was just totally overwhelming,
and so people started leaving
in makeshift rafts,
in fishing boats,
trying to make their way
to the United States.
[Rene] Once the special
period came into play,
that really impacted the
ability for those baseball players
to start thinking
about defecting and
making good money.
That became extremely
appealing to them.
To be honest with you,
I think, at the time,
we were gonna be able to get
whoever wanted to defect,
and Livan was one of those
guys that wanted to leave.
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
[Juan] What really makes Livan
was that they
intimidated him in Tokyo.
[speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] To defect wasn't
an easy thing.
Think about it, I mean,
leaving your country
to go play baseball,
making more money
but also leaving your family
behind, with no guarantee
that you're ever
gonna see them again
is just an excruciating
decision that is so personal.
[calm music]
Livan called me and he said,
"I'm in Monterrey, Mexico
and I'm ready to stay.
Make reservations for
me and Joe and we catch
a plane to Monterrey.
[Juan] The Cuban team was
in Monterrey, Mexico
for one of the world games.
Routine tournaments that
they do around the world.
[Steve] On that trip, Cubas had
a woman go get Livan's autograph
and when she handed
Livan the piece of paper,
it had Cubas's
phone number on it.
And so, then, Livan
reached out to Cubas
and they set up a
meet that night.
[Livan speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[Juan] Joe was in a
van outside the hotel.
Livan was gonna walk out.
[speaking Spanish]
And I put him in the car
and I drove it to my hotel.
[Juan] Livan was 20 years old.
Started crying the whole
way and he said his life
was gonna change forever.
He was never gonna be able
to see his family again.
[speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[Steve] After Livan defected,
Cubas executed what became known
as the Joe Cubas plan.
International players
are not subject
to the Major League draft,
and so he figured out
that if you got these guys
to defect and you took them
to a third country, like Costa
Rica, the Dominican Republic,
or Mexico, that you
could then open it up
to the highest bidder.
If he could obtain
residence, permanent residence
in a foreign country, they
could come in as free agents.
That was the one key element
that Joe Cubas discovered
during all of this,
this whole process.
[Steve] So, Cubas took Livan
to the Dominican Republic
and he showcased him.
[speaking Spanish]
I remember our people
in the organization
tell me on how talented he was.
They projected Livan to be
a number one type starter,
so we needed to sign this guy.
Dave asked me,
"Okay, what do you need
to get this deal done?"
And I said, "Well, we're
gonna wine and dine this guy.
We're gonna take him to Miami."
[upbeat music]
[speaking Spanish]
[Al] We took him to
Victor's Caf, which is,
at that time, was the
trendy place to go.
And we flew him to our
spring training site.
We offered him an opportunity
that other people
didn't offer him
because there wouldn't
be the language barrier
living in South Florida,
and then also the warm weather.
Sure enough, the
negotiations were intense.
We were facing the challenges
of the New York Yankees,
the Toronto Blue
Jays actually had
a lot of interest,
multiple teams.
Fork over the millions, buddy.
-Show me the money.
-Show me the money.
[speaking Spanish]
[reporters chattering]
[speaking Spanish]
They were chasing
him certainly,
the Cuban demographic, the
Cuban fan base in Miami,
and so to have a guy
who was a Cuban defector
pitching for the Marlins, yeah,
it was just like a no-brainer.
I mean, the Marlins
had to get that guy.
The price was a lot more
than we were expecting.
The total contract, I think,
was like $6.5 million,
which was, at that time,
the biggest contract given
to a Cuban baseball player.
[calm music]
-[Livan humming]
-[upbeat music]
[Rene] Livan had a $250,000
signing bonus.
That's a lot of money for a
young man like that to have
in his hands without
any real assistance,
without anybody really sitting
there and explaining to him
that that money can go
away very, very quickly.
[men speaking Spanish]
[Juan] Livan was a kid. You'd drop Livan
in a mall and he'd buy anything.
I realize he hadn't had
anything in his life
and he's got the money, he
wanna buy whatever he can.
[Man] He just started buying
like a car a week, it seems.
[Man 2] He did some of the
typical dumb, young,
rich athlete clich
things that you would do.
He was spilling money and he
was attracted to the lifestyle.
It's very difficult for a
young guy who's had nothing,
now he has everything, to
have the self discipline
not to let that get in the
way of physical preparation
he has to do to play baseball.
[Juan] And he was eating a lot.
He loved every type of junk
food you could imagine.
[upbeat music]
Fast food wasn't helping
his conditioning very much
because he was gaining
weight at that time
and he was losing a
little velocity when
And we would work him, bring
him over to the ball park,
he'd work out, but we
weren't working him out
enough to shed the
pounds at that time.
["The Star-Spangled
Banner" playing]
[Man] It's a cultural
shock at first,
especially you throw in
a large signing bonus,
freedom for the first time.
It was a challenge for
him the first year.
We ended up sending him
down to the minor leagues
to be with Carlos Tosca,
who was our manager.
[Steve] Tosca was Cuban
and so he understood,
like no one else in the system,
what Livan was going through.
He was able to relate to Livan.
[Carlos Tosca] It's a culture
shock when they come over here.
I think that
freedom is something
that people don't
know how to accept,
sometimes don't
know how to handle.
[speaking Spanish]
He got in a lot better shape.
He lost a lot of weight
which helped him.
He just needed the motivation
and needed to know
which direction to go
because certainly anyone
could see the stuff.
You could see his
confidence coming.
You could see his
control coming.
And I think right now, he's
on the verge of becoming
a major league pitcher.
At some point in time
this year,
he will go to the big leagues
but he won't come back.
[calm music]
[shoes thumping]
[calm music]
[car engine roaring]
The Cuban government,
rightly or wrongly, felt,
after the defection of Livan,
that El Duque had
also been approached
and that his defection
was imminent.
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
This is a guy who was
an icon on the island
and even though
Livan had defected,
there were never any
signs that El Duque
was gonna defect.
But then, of course,
I don't think anybody
really anticipated what
was about to happen.
[commentator speaking Spanish]
[ominous music]
In the summer of '97, Juan
Ignacio Hernandez Nodar decided
to go into business for
The association with Joe Cubas
ends the minute he collects
the money from all the
players and he cut me a check
for 30% instead of
50% of the business.
[Steve] His whole plan was
actually going into Cuba
and recruiting ball
players on the island,
which is a step that Cubas
was never willing to take.
[Ray] He arrived in Cuba
carrying false travel documents
that he hoped to use to
get El Duque to defect.
[Steve] And as many risks
as Cubas was taking,
Juan Ignacio was always
the guy who would take it
a step further.
He seemed to not totally
realize that it wasn't a game.
He was driving around the
island, very conspicuously,
with huge amounts of cash.
[speaking Spanish]
He attracted so much
attention to himself
that he ended up
getting arrested.
[Juan] I was watching a
game in Santo Espiritu.
There was a
tournament over there.
And a cop came to me and
he said, "Follow me."
They took me straight to the
police station over there.
I'll be honest, I never
they were watching me so bad.
[speaking Spanish]
[ominous music]
[Steve] When they found
those passports on him,
they immediately focused
their attention on El Duque.
At one point, El
Duque was brought in
by the local authorities
and interrogated.
[speaking Spanish]
They charged me
incitation to illegal exit
of the national territory.
That's what I was charged for.
I went to trial from there.
They called it a summary
trial. They did it in 3 hours.
Before I got there I knew
my sentence was there.
They were asking to 20 years
then they'll give me 15,
which I serve every single day.
[speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
He was playing baseball on
these unofficial pickup games
that they would throw together
with makeshift umpires.
[players speaking Spanish]
Of course, he couldn't
pitch 'cause he was better
than everybody else so he would
just play the field and hit.
It was crazy.
[ominous music]
[cheerful music]
Starting things off,
the young Cuban defector,
Livan Hernandez, a rookie.
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] A very
talented young pitcher.
Throws a fast ball
93-94 miles an hour.
I don't think anybody
really knew what to expect
until he actually got here
and got on that
Major League mound
and showed us what
he could really do.
[Commentator] Two
balls, two strikes.
Struck him out on
a breaking ball.
He was really beyond his
years as far as being a pitcher.
He had a great idea
of how to pitch.
He wasn't a thrower.
He knew what he was doing.
[Commentator] Brings him up.
[Dan] The place he felt safest,
the place that he
was most comfortable,
it wasn't on South Beach,
it wasn't in a club,
it wasn't even in the club
house, it was on that mound
because there he was fluent.
There was nothing in his life
that he was quite as
confident about as that.
Anytime you have a young
pitcher come to the big leagues,
you're always hoping they
get off to a good start.
In Livan's case, he comes up
and wins nine in a row for us.
[Commentator] Good
fast ball, good location.
This kid is really a
great young talent.
And really gave us that
huge second half boost
that every team's looking for.
-[calm music]
-[fans cheering]
All of a sudden you
could see the interest
just continue to build in
South Florida with Livan.
He became somewhat of a
celebrity at that time.
[fans cheering]
[Jeff] The Cuban population
obviously was attracted to his story,
he being able to
come to America.
[fans chanting]
The nights he pitched,
you could tell in the ball park
there was a little
different energy.
[fans cheering]
[Dan] He was telling a
uniquely Miami-Cuban tale,
the idea of leaving
loved ones behind to come
and chase freedom and chase
possibility and chase dreams.
That's something that
every exile understood.
I mean he was the
of the American
dream for an exile.
[calm music]
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] In a few
moments, Livan Hernandez
will take to the mound.
[Livan speaking Spanish]
[Man] I can remember
the first inning.
I'm behind home plate
and I'm saying to myself,
the strike zone
seem to be open.
I told Livan, I said,
"Livan, we staying away,
away, away, away
the whole time."
And he was like, "Yeah.
I think we should."
And I was like,
"Let's go do it."
[Commentator] Struck him out!
During that game, Livan ended
up striking out sporadically
the first 6 or 7.
[Commentator] Number 7.
But then, it seemed
like in the sixth inning
he started striking
two an inning.
[Charles] I had no idea he had
that many strikeouts
until like eight, nine,
I started noticing those
Ks building on the side,
and I said, wow, he's building
up a lot of strikeouts this game.
[Commentator] Did he get it?
They're checking 3rd,
and Charlie Williams
Nine for Hernandez through six.
[Dan] You could feel everything
building in the stadium
because you had this
uniquely Hispanic Miami story
on the mound dominating the
champion Atlanta Braves.
[Commentator] A 2-2 pitch.
-[fans cheering]
-That is his 10th strikeout.
And look at this crowd.
Everybody in this
stadium is on their feet.
[Jeff] They just kept on
nodding him.
With every pitch,
with every strikeout,
they got louder and louder.
[Commentator] There
it is! Number 13!
He is one behind
the National League
Championship Series record.
[Jim] I knew he wasn't
gonna get stage fright.
You could just tell
that was his demeanor.
He had no fear.
It was kind of uncanny, really,
the way he went after hitters.
[Commentator] There's his 14th
tying the National League
Championship Series record.
[Jim] That performance
was unbelievable.
He just had everything going.
He just totally
overmatched them.
[Commentator] Boy,
this is goosebump time,
what this kid's doing.
Full count.
Got him! It's his 15th!
[cheerful music]
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] I was hanging out with
and Osmany when Livan struck
out a record 15 batters.
And I remember
looking at El Duque,
the expression on
his face was so odd.
It was sort of a mixture
of pride in his brother
and the sort of pain and
loss of what he was missing.
-Very bittersweet.
[speaking Spanish]
[interviewer speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] During that time
the state apparatus
began to make El
Duque's life impossible.
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] He knew that he
was being watched
and he was warned at that
that every move that he made
was going to be scrutinized.
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] They saw him
frustrated a number of times.
He and his wife split
up during this period.
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] He was now in that
limbo of the people
in these kinds of countries,
who are officially spurned.
Dissidents and human
rights activists
and now baseball players
who are suddenly equated
with people who are actively
fighting against the state.
And that's a very cold place.
[calm music]
[Juan] The Marlins ended up
going into the World Series
through the wild card.
They were going to play
the Cleveland Indians.
Everybody really thought it
was gonna be a great series.
But I don't think there
was too many people
that thought the Marlins
were going to win.
The Cleveland Indians had a
lot of experienced veterans.
[Commentator] When Oral
Hershiser was dominating
the playoffs and world
series' for the 1988 Dodgers,
Livan Hernandez was
just a 13-year-old kid
in Villa Clara, Cuba on
that baseball-mad island.
Tonight, they hand him
the ball for Game 1
of the World Series.
[Jeff] The first game
of the World Series
is probably the biggest
game you're ever gonna pitch
in your life, I think
because it's so important
to win that Game 1.
And Livan, he just
went up there,
he got with CJ, they had a
game plan, they stuck to it,
and he executed.
[Commentator] Call, strike 3.
[Man] And it was Livan who
put us in that situation
to go to the World Series.
You're like, "Hey,
okay, he got us there."
But, no. He wasn't done.
[Commentator] And
the fans reacting,
in anticipation of Hernandez
striking out the side,
which he does!
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] 3-2 pitch.
Hernandez somehow came
up with that ball!
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] And it's
a start for the ages,
matching up very well
with the game's best.
[ominous music]
[Commentator] Well, it's
a rematch of Game 1, Bob.
Orel Hershiser, the
veteran against the rookie.
It's going to be
interesting tonight.
Game 5, Livan was focused.
He proved to be everything
that we thought he could be.
[Commentator] David
Justice strikes out.
I don't know if
anyone imagined
that he would step
up that quickly.
[Commentator] Round of
the third, Bonilla has it.
His long throw gets Ramirez.
Livan, he goes out and
pitches us the two victories.
It was amazing to watch
and to be part of.
[Commentator] Marlins are
in the win column,
and they have gone ahead
in the 1997 World Series,
three games to two.
That series had a
hugely dramatic ending.
Game 7 is the best
thing in sports.
Game 7 goes extra innings.
The tension was off the charts.
[Commentator] The 0-1 pitch.
A liner! Off leg it's
gone into center field.
The Florida Marlins have
won the World Series!
For me, the most memorable
point in that series
was Livan winning
World Series MVP.
[Miami Marlins cheering]
I love you, Miami!
[Dan] And what fluttered
over me is what fluttered
over a lot of Miami, which
is my parents struggled
and sacrificed so that I
would never have to struggle
and sacrifice and
what fluttered over me
was just hugely personal,
seeing him do that
at the height of sports.
[Steve] Back in Cuba, El Duque
was listening to the World Series.
I just thought that
was amazing, really,
just the juxtaposition of it,
the injustice really of what
was happening to El Duque.
[speaking Spanish]
[Ray] He was concerned
about his daughters.
He was concerned about
Noris, his new girlfriend.
Orlando felt he could probably
deal with what's going on,
but he didn't know
what the repercussions
would be for his family.
[speaking Spanish]
[Ray] In 1997, the Pope announced
that he was going to Cuba,
and then Castro simply
that Christmas would
be celebrated again.
[Reporter] Christmas in Cuba.
Now, with the Communist
government's official blessing,
a permanent return to
public celebrations
have been authorized.
[Cubans chanting]
[Ray] El Duque's escape from
Cuba was set to coincide
with the first legal Christmas
on the island since 1960.
That day members of
the Cuban Coast Guard
would be drinking
and celebrating
and probably would be
less likely to be as alert
when he departed.
[cheerful music]
El Duque's escape
was kind of elaborate.
He and his good friend,
Osmany worked together
to try to get this
plan in effect.
First, Osmany located a
fisherman who, for a price,
would take them to the Bahamas.
And then El Duque talked
to his uncle Ocilio,
who was in Miami, and
he arranged a boat
that would pick them
up on a Bahamian Island
called the Anguilla
Cay, and then ferry them
to the United States.
[speaking Spanish]
[interviewer speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] At that time,
the Florida Straits
were littered with people
trying to make their way
to the United States.
Many perished along the way.
I mean, we know the
Florida Straits,
particularly in bad weather,
can be extremely treacherous.
[ominous music]
And so, on Christmas, under
the cover of darkness,
they all set off for a
town called Caibarin.
It's a place where a lot
of people have set off
for the United States.
[ominous music]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
-[engine roaring]
-[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[Orlando speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] Day passes, another day
passes, and still nothing.
They began to quickly
realize that the back end
of this plan, which
was just as critical
as just getting out of Cuba,
was not being executed.
There was no boat.
There was no way
off this island.
Nobody knew that
they were there.
[speaking Spanish]
The story goes that the
boat took on water shortly
after it departed and it sank,
so that boat never arrived.
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[man speaking indisctinctly
on radio]
-[Man 1] Roger that.
-[Man 2] He's waving at us.
[speaking Spanish]
[Man] Boats away.
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
Obviously they've been on
that island for a couple days
without any water so we
brought them on board,
we set them up with food and
water and medical attention.
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[upbeat music]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
These guys are willing
to risk their lives
with no security at
the end of the tunnel.
Imagine how bad it must
be living inside Cuba.
[Ray] This is one of Joe
Cubas's finest moments.
He staged this press conference
to let the world know
that the Duke of Havana
could conceivably be
taken back to Havana
and spend the rest
of his days in jail.
[speaking Spanish]
[interviewer speaking foreign]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
The new year brings
a new beginning
for two Cuban defectors:
Cuban pitcher Orlando
and a teammate, are
now in the Bahamas
but they've been cleared
by the State Department
to come to the U.S.
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[Rene] Joe Cubas' father had
contacts within the government
in Costa Rica and after
several days of attempts,
finally visas arrived for all
of them to go to Costa Rica.
[somber music]
[speaking Spanish]
Joe called me up and said,
"Get me a Leer jet.
I need to get these people
off the Bahamian Island
as quickly as possible
because the longer
they stay on this island
they risk the chance
of being sent back to Cuba."
[speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[speaking Spanish]
[Rene] Immediately, the next
Joe Cubas went to visit with
local government officials.
[speaking Spanish]
[Rene] And started the process
of getting the paperwork started
to obtain residency
there, which was, again,
the number one goal,
coming in as a free agent.
Then Joe could negotiate
for a much better contract.
[speaking Spanish]
So, Cubas staged
this tryout with scouts
from some big league clubs.
[speaking Spanish]
[Rene] It looked like a
firing squad
because if you looked
up at the bleachers
the only thing you saw were
radar guns pointing at Orlando.
He was throwing strikes but
he wasn't throwing very hard.
The reality was that
he was 32 years old.
I remember interviewing a
lot of scouts who were like,
"At best, he might
be a fifth starter,"
or "I don't really see it."
That was the general sort
of thrust of the day.
[Man] I think most of
the scouts there was,
thought "What do you wanna
do, sign this old man?
He's only throwing
88-90 on the gun."
We knew that he had
more in the tank.
[Steve] Gordon Blakeley,
he had been watching
this guy for forever
and he just loved him.
We already knew what kind
of pitcher he could be.
He had led the Cuban
leagues in wins and innings,
pitched and strikeouts.
The workout for us was to
determine whether he was healthy
and what kind of
shape he was in.
[Man] At that time we just
had a big failed effort
with Hideki Irabu from Japan
and it wasn't really keen
on going crazy on another
international free agent
and having it bust, but I
do remember Gordon Blakeley
especially telling me,
"Cash, you know, you
can't get gun shy
or you might swing a miss on
the next Cy Young Award winner
or the next MVP."
Brian, being the
General Manager, is
And he said, "Hey, if you
think you can get a pitcher
that'll help us by midsummer
let's go ahead and do this."
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[interviewer speaking
[speaking Spanish]
[interviewer speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[interviewer speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[audience cheering]
[speaking Spanish]
[reporter speaking
foreign language]
-[speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[Commentator] It's going to be
a perfect final scene
for what should easily
be turned into a movie,
the life of El Duque,
Orlando Hernandez,
having survived his escape
on the high seas from Cuba
to now finally be a pitcher
in the American Leagues,
in Major League baseball.
[victorious music]
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
Everybody's gonna
be pulling for him.
He's been through a lot.
He's fulfilling a
dream right now,
so we all wish him the best.
[reporter speaking
in Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[victorious music]
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator 1] There certainly is
a buzz in the air when El Duque makes
his Major League debut.
Remember, he has not
pitched competitive baseball
for a year and a half until
the Yankees signed him.
At the time, I think
a lot of people felt
like it's a great story
but how good is this guy?
When we put him out there
I was a little skeptical
because I didn't know what
kind of command he had.
[fans cheering]
[Commentator] El Duque has
made his Major League debut
with a fast ball strike.
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] Nice, good fast
ball sinking down and away.
He could pretty much put the
ball wherever he wanted to,
which is a pitcher's dream.
[Commentator] He got it.
He got him to go fishing.
You could see right
away that this was a guy
that didn't rattle
under pressure.
[fans cheering]
Breaking ball, spot on,
strike three.
What a debut
by Orlando Hernandez!
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] Just
as the curtain call
for Orlando Hernandez,
welcome to Yankee Stadium.
First of all, Jorge, I
offer a congratulations,
I mean, for all the pressure
and attention placed upon him,
he was outstanding tonight.
[speaking Spanish]
[Jorge] He said he wants
to dedicate this game
to his mom and his...
his two daughters and
my family in Cuba.
And we hope that
he is reunited
with his daughters very soon.
[upbeat music]
We had a very big
group of Latin guys.
Bernie Williams, Ramiro
Mendoza, Ricky Ledee.
El Duque, he fit right in.
I was trying to
be there for him.
I was always watching the
games when he was pitching.
After the inning,
he comes to me,
"What do you see what
I'm doing wrong?"
I was able to share
that with him.
He wasn't easy to catch.
You call a pitch, fast
ball, he would shake.
Curve ball? No.
Slider? No.
Change up? No.
There's nothing else.
So I go out to the
mound and I say,
"Orlando, what do
you wanna throw?"
Fast ball."
"But I called that
twice and you said no."
"Call it again."
He didn't wanna throw
it when I called it.
It's whenever he
wanted to throw it.
He wanted to get in
the hitter's head.
It was nothing about me,
and once I realized
this it was easier.
Once he got two or three
starts he started rolling.
I mean, he started pitching.
He knew what we wanted to do.
[fans cheering]
[Commentator] Got him! Wow.
What a big out for El Duque.
He was a winner,
no doubt about it.
[Commentator] Yankee
fans are on their feet.
They want another strikeout.
And they'll get it!
He certainly endeared
himself to the fans
here in New York, and they're not easy
to satisfy, trust me.
[Commentator] Hello
Orlando Hernandez!
[speaking Spanish]
El Duque became part of
the identity of that team.
The team was a juggernaut.
They were kind of like
those old Yankee teams
where it was almost
hard to root for them,
they were so good.
[upbeat music]
[Commentator] The
1998 American League
Championship Series.
Tonight, it's Game 4,
the New York Yankees
versus the Cleveland Indians.
[speaking Spanish]
[Brian] We obviously could
not go down three games
to one with the Indians.
The Indians were a powerhouse.
They were the big
rival at the time
and I would say
odds on favorite.
So going into their place down
2 to 1, we needed a stop gap.
When you needed
to win a big game,
that's the guy that
you go to, El Duque.
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] Ramirez walks.
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] Now
he's working himself,
speaking of Hernandez, into
an uncomfortable situation.
Two on, two out.
Here it comes. And a
long drive to right.
[speaking Spanish]
O'Neill, back to the wall
with just enough room.
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] Ramirez,
he goes down swinging.
Down goes Alamar and
Hernandez settles in.
[Mariano] El Duque was
special in that game
but he didn't have
a lot of experience.
He looked like he
was, I mean, a veteran
for 15-20 years in
the big leagues.
[Commentator] Struck him out!
Huge strikeout for El Duque.
Here comes El Duque and he
just sticks it right to them.
Shuts them out
over seven innings.
[Commentator] And the Yankees
draw even in the Series.
I think you
could make the case
that that was the turning
point of that whole series.
[fans cheering]
[Commentator] A bouncer
out in front of the plate.
Rivera pounces on it,
on to the World Series!
[speaking Spanish]
[Steve] On the one hand,
his career was beyond
anybody's wildest imagination,
but at the same time, he
was completely ruptured
from his family.
[speaking Spanish]
[speaking Spanish]
[Rene] I was getting phone
calls from Orlando
just to tell me how much
he missed his family,
how much he missed
his daughters,
how much he really
desperately missed his mother.
So it occurred to me that
there had to be a way
to get them here.
So I started the process
and I wrote everybody
and anybody that I
could, from politicians
to the White House,
you name it.
That was happening
while Orlando
was pitching his way
through the World Series.
[calm music]
[Commentator] Tonight,
the right-hander El Duque,
Orlando Hernandez, a guy who's
fun to watch and hard to hit.
[speaking Spanish]
[calm music]
[Commentator] Pitch
1 of Game number 2.
Good start for El Duque.
-[fans cheering]
-[speaking Spanish]
Finley strikes out.
He just seemed to
rise to the occasion.
The bigger the audience,
the bigger the game,
the tougher the situation,
he seemed to pitch well.
[fans cheering]
[Commentator] Back to back
strikeouts-six on the night.
[Gordon] He comes in there and
just blows them away
for seven innings.
I think you could
say that probably
that was a back
breaker for the Padres.
Orlando Hernandez
is tonight's Chevy Truck
Player of the Game.
[Gordon] Here was a guy who
really cared about his family
and he was doing all of this,
at the same time he was trying
to get his family over here.
[Rene] Orlando truly missed
his family back home.
They would call me
everyday, what's happening?
Keep me posted.
If I didn't get a
call from Orlando,
I would get a call from Noris.
Then, one day, I called a lady
by the name of Pamela Falk.
Rene Guim called me and he
started to tell me the story
about these two young
daughters and I thought
how can you be separated
from your children?
All of my maternal
instincts really kicked in.
And so I said,
"Okay. I'll help."
To get that to happen was
not an uncomplicated thing,
logistically and politically.
Pam teaches, she does
media, she's well connected
with the State Department.
She's one of these people who
knows how to get [beeps] done.
She quite rightly recognized
that one of the benefits
of all this opening
that was going on
between the Cuban government
and the Catholic Church,
and the Pope's visit,
which had now taken place,
was a better relationship
between the Church
and the government.
[Reporter] The Cuban
government has tried hard
to please the Vatican, rolled
out its biggest red carpet,
put the Pope's Masses
on Cuban television,
even brought back the
Christmas holiday.
[Steve] So, if they were
gonna get this done,
that maybe the Catholic
Church was a way to do that.
Pamela approached the
Cardinal Archbishop of New York,
John O'Connor, and made
an especial request.
The Cardinal called
me to his office.
Discussed the request
with me and he told me,
"Tonight, go to Cuba and
speak to Fidel Castro.
I already called him,
and take this letter
and give it to him in person."
[Steve] That night Mario
Paredes traveled to Cuba
and arranged a
meeting with Castro
in what turned out to be the
middle of the World Series.
[calm music]
[fans cheering]
The Yankees, of course, are
steamrolling the Padres.
El Duque wasn't
playing in that game.
[Commentator] Back to Brown.
An eternity, as he waits for
it-throws to first for the out.
The run scores and the Yankees
take a one to nothing lead.
[speaking Spanish]
[Mario] So I went to see Fidel.
I met with him for
30 minutes or so.
And he was watching
the game to begin with.
[bat cracks]
[Commentator] A flair
into shallow right.
Might drop, will drop.
Ricky Ledee, another base hit.
And so he just
came to greet me
and I had handed the
letter of the Cardinal.
And he spoke highly
about El Duque.
He said this is a good muchacho,
you know, a great player,
one of the glories of Cuba.
I was taken by that.
And finally, I was authorized
to take the family.
[Pamela] It was unbelievable.
The Cuban government
authorized the children,
his ex-wife, and
his mother to leave.
I called Yankee's Press Box and I said,
"I need to talk to Joe Cubas."
Joe Cubas was in San Diego.
And I got Joe Cubas on
the phone and I said,
"They're coming."
He couldn't believe it.
[speaking Spanish]
[Commentator] Broaches.
And the Yankees
have done it again!
Number 24.
They are the World Champions
of baseball in 1998.
[speaking Spanish]
[players cheering]
[Steve] The World Series ends
and then the word comes
from Rene and Cubas and Orlando
that the family is coming in
and they're gonna
land at Teterboro.
This is a small commuter
airport in Jersey.
[interviewer speaking
[speaks Spanish]
[calm music]
[Pamela] It was like he didn't
know there was an airport.
He just walked through
onto the runway.
No one stopped him,
airport security, no one.
It was like a vision.
He was walking to his children.
The plane door opened and
then the children came
and it was just this
unbelievable grand hug.
[speaking Spanish]
[victorious music]
[speaking Spanish]
[Jorge] During the parade
he was so happy
that his family was there
to celebrate with him.
He was so emotional
during that time.
We won, but more important,
his family was there.
[Steve] This is just the
stuff of fairytales.
Seldom does life kind
of work out that way.
But his did.
To have the strength
of character,
to have the will
to do what he did,
to me was always just such
an extraordinary thing.
[speaking Spanish]
I love you Miami.
[speaking Spanish]
[audience applause]
[calm music]
[upbeat music]