On Tuesday night, ComCast SportsNet Original Production will air a new documentary profiling Cuban-born and Major League Baseball player Jose Abreu’s return to Cuba as a part of MLB’s first goodwill trip to the island since 1999.
“Going Home: Jose Abreu” is a 30-minute documentary that records the Chicago White Sox first baseman’s trip back to Cuba since he defected 3 years ago.
Mr. Abreu was one of several Cuban-born MLB players who took part in a four-day goodwill tour to Cuba in December 2015, along with several other MLB superstars and executives.
“What we are doing is a historic,” Mr. Abreu said in a press release for the documentary.
“This is something that has brought us tears many times. From the first moment that we found out the news that we were going to be doing these things in this country, believe me, it’s so important.”
In December, Comcast SportsNet was one of a dozen U.S. media outlets that accompanied MLB representatives on the historic trip to Cuba.
According to MLB representatives, the purpose of the trip was to establish a working relationship with the Cuban baseball system to create an effective system for Cuban players to join the MLB.
In addition, MLB has proposed conducting a 2016 spring training game in Havana. However, it is still uncertain that the game will happen as more negotiations are still necessary.
The tour also included stops to children’s clinics and charity events.
Mr. Abreu, like many other Cuban players before him, had a lucrative career in Cuba, where he set the Cuban home run record in 2010 – 2011 and was named Cuban National Series MVP.
Mr. Abreu defected from Cuba in August 2013 to test the MLB free market and, in October of that year, he signed a six-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.
In 2014, he was named MLB Rookie of the Year.
Typically, when a player defects from Cuba, the Cuban government prohibits the player from re-entering the country until eight years have passed in an effort to discourage Cuban players from leaving the island, the New York Times detailed.
“In general, many people thought that when I made the decision, they never thought I would come back to see them,” Mr. Abreu said.
“With the grace of god, I am seeing them thanks to the Major Leagues and the Players Association for filling a space where I had a dark void in my heart.”
“Going Home” also includes interviews with Hall of Famers Joe Torre and Dave Winfield and MLBPA president Tony Clark who also took part in the trip.
“Going Home: Jose Abreu” debuts on Comcast SportsNet on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 9:30 p.m. CT.
It will also be available in its entirety on CSNChicago.com, following its on-air debut.
(Featured Image Courtesy of David T. Boven)