Sport have always been seen as a way out. A way for young adults from poor backgrounds to escape a lifetime of poverty or crime. A way to earn money when there are a few other prospects. A means of escaping a relatively poor country and moving to a much more affluent one. In much of the world, that would be football, but for those living in the Americas, looking north, it’s a career in American football, basketball or baseball.
Cuba has historically had a difficult relationship with the United States. There is still a blockade in place so relations between the two countries are frosty. Indeed, baseball scouts are unable to visit the island nation to identify talent. In order to circumvent these rules, talented young men are brought to Costa Rica by sporting agents with the promise of a chance at the major league. The Last Out focuses on three hopefuls as they’re put through their paces.
While these ‘camps’ might seem to offer an opportunity to make a better life in the US, The Last Out highlights just how unlikely and precarious their chances are. Michael Gassert and Sami Khan’s film also raises questions around the role of the ‘agent’, which seems to have less to do with helping sportsmen achieve their dreams and more about making money. The Last Out is an eye-opening documentary which highlights abuses within the world of multi-billion-dollar sports.
The Last Out screens on PBS POV on 3 October.