Under Review

March 08, 2004

DIAMOND DREAMS As the director of 1994's Hoop Dreams, Steve James
gave us the stories of William Gates and Arthur Agee, young
Chicagoans attempting to raise their fortunes by playing high
school basketball. Now, as producer of The New Americans--a
seven-hour documentary that took four years to film and airs on
PBS from March 29 to 31--Jones brings us Jose Garcia and Ricardo
Rodriguez attempting to rise from deep poverty in the Dominican
Republic to the major leagues. As kids, Garcia and Rodriguez,
whom we first see at age 18, grew up playing with balls made of
socks and gloves made of cardboard. They are signed cheaply by
the Dodgers (Rodriguez, a pitcher, for $5,500, Garcia, an
outfielder, for less) and they struggle to adjust to rookie-ball
life in almost-all-white Great Falls, Mont. When a fellow
Dominican player is accused of sexual battery, the pair, whose
English is limited, feel the cold glare from the community and
their U.S. teammates. This is a rich, compelling story of
adaptation, with the baseball field as the stage--one of five
stories about recent immigrants in the film. Rodriguez's debut
for the Indians in 2002 only seems complete when, afterwards, he
sprawls out on a hotel bed and watches highlights of himself on
ESPN.

THE NEW TONY To focus on his other gigs on ESPN--primarily
sparring with Michael Wilbon on Pardon the Interruption--Tony
Kornheiser is giving up his 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekday slot on
ESPN radio after a six-year run. In steps Colin Cowherd, 40, who
had been a morning-drive talk show host in Portland and whose
high-energy show, The Herd, debuts March 29 on ESPN. "It'd be
easier if I'd be replacing a stiff," Cowherd says. "Guys will
change girlfriends four times a year, but if you change their
sports talk show host, they want to draw blood."

--S.P.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)