I can remember as a child trying to mimic the unique pitching style of Luis Tiant. I would stand as straight and tall as I could, slowly bring the ball and glove down to my chest, and then suddenly look back and away from the batter before flinging my pitch. Using this style, my pitches flew wildly in all directions since I could never swing my head back around in time to aim the ball. Nevertheless, as a child, my friends and I all wanted to pitch like Tiant.
In today’s Herald there is an excellent article written by Dan Le Batard about his experience after watching “The Lost Son Of Havana,” the new movie about Luis Tiant. It is a heartfelt and moving piece and one everyone should read.
For Luis Tiant, home is where the hurt is
BY DAN LE BATARD
This pain is not really mine. I didn’t earn it; I inherited it. But it still hurts. My parents, so much braver and stronger than I will ever be, suffered so I never would. But their pain was nonetheless hand-me-downed. Growing up in a Cuban household, I saw it in my mother’s tears and felt it in my father’s stories and heard it in the cracking voices of my late grandparents. They paid — my God, did they pay — so that I would always get everything free.
All that came rushing up on me watching The Lost Son Of Havana, and trying to push it down kept making my eyes sting. You don’t have to care about baseball or Luis Tiant or Cuba to be moved by it. It is a story about family and sacrifice and love and mortality and haunting loss that just so happens, this time, to be wrapped in a Cuban flag. But there are so many people in this, a country founded by immigrants, that it reaches and moves.
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The film chronicles his return to the island after 46 years in exile. He always was afraid to go back because he didn’t want to be turned into a political pawn by Cuba’s propaganda machine. But he’s approaching 70 now. He’s tired. He just wanted to see his homeland once more before he died.
The best part?
“Seeing my family and my country,” Tiant says.
The worst part?
“Seeing my family and my country,” he says.
He always had wanted to see what he left behind . . . until he saw it. The rotting island’s poverty left him broken.