It’s no secret that the Caribbean is home to some of baseball’s best talent. Players from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have long dominated in the major leagues, and more recently Curaçao and other Dutch Antilles islands like Aruba have started to gain international recognition for their outstanding players.
But, in such a small community (the population of Curaçao hovers around 150,000), how and where do players find the means to develop major-league skills? Well, just like in the U.S., Little League. The documentary Boys of Summer (2010) follows the Curaçao team as they prepare to attend the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Curaçao, at the time of filming, had won the Caribbean regional championship nine times in a row, cementing their status as the team to beat even within the intensely competitive division.
As you might expect, however, the story is also one of the underdog triumphant—the success of the team is largely due to the tireless dedication of manager Vernon Isabella, as well as the close-knit island community. Baseball is “the only after-school activity,” as one Curaçaoan describes in the trailer. The team’s international success has become a cause that residents from the Prime Minister on down can support, bringing both the team members and the community together.
Check out the trailer and an interview with filmmaker Kevin Aumont below to learn more. Just in time for the upcoming start of baseball season, Boys of Summer will be airing as a part of the Afropop! series on PBS all this week — check your local listings for times. It is also available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon Instant Video.