One that I recommend highly for ALL baseball fans — but in particular, those who happen to have Irish ancestry — is The Emerald Diamond.
The Emerald Diamond is a 90-minute documentary of the formation of the Irish National Baseball team, produced by my good friend and occasional MetsToday contributor John Fitzgerald. But I’m not hawking the DVD because John is my friend — but because it is a damn good documentary and indelibly entertaining.
Yes, they DO play baseball in Ireland, and their beginnings will remind you a bit of the original Rocky movie — playing on soaking wet makeshift diamonds located on soccer fields, using outdated and damaged equipment, attempting to transfer rugby skills to baseball, and the like. Whether you are Irish or not, you have to appreciate the lengths that the first men (and women) took, and the conditions they endured, simply to play baseball. It’s both fascinating and inspiring.
This quote from Jack Curry of the New York Times puts it succinctly:
Fitzgerald’s movie is a charming look at how baseball captivated some dedicated Irishmen. Those young men, supplemented by American-born players who had a parent or grandparent born in Ireland, transformed themselves from bumbling weekend warriors into respected competitors. Think of Rudy, the Notre Dame walk-on, and multiply it by about a dozen.
The cost is $9.95 from Amazon, but the experience of watching it is priceless. Where else are you going to find a really cool Christmas gift for less than ten bucks?
Buy it here: The Emerald Diamond – Deluxe Edition DVD