[09/08/05 - 12:00 AM]
Spike TV Presents 'Viva Baseball,' a Celebration of the Latino Influence on America's Pastime

[via press release from Spike TV]

Spike TV Presents 'Viva Baseball,' a Celebration of the Latino Influence on America's Pastime

Two-Hour Primetime Event Premieres Friday, September 23 at 9:00 pm ET/PT With Limited Commercial Interruption and Available in SAP

Featured Interviews With Alex Rodriquez, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Tony Perez, Rod Carew, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and Luis Tiant

NEW YORK, Sept. 8 -- Spike TV and award-winning filmmaker Dan Klores present Viva Baseball, a film that celebrates the astonishing achievements of Latinos in Major League Baseball, and how they enthralled millions of fans and captivated a nation. Viva Baseball, a two-hour primetime film, focuses on the triumphs as well as the struggle and conflicts of Latino baseball players in the U.S. -- premieres Friday, September 23 (9:00 -11:00 pm ET/PT), as part of the network's tribute to Latino Heritage month. Viva Baseball, narrated by singer/actor Marc Anthony, will be presented with limited commercial interruption, and will be Spike TV's first ever original presentation available in SAP.

Viva Baseball features interviews with today's superstars David Ortiz, Alex Rodriquez, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Miguel Tejada as well as renowned Latino members of Baseball's Hall of Fame -- Rod Carew (inducted 1991), Juan Marichal (1983), Orlando Cepeda (1999), and Tony Perez (2000), plus footage of the great Luis Aparacio (1984). In addition, Mr. Klores' poignant segments with the widow and children of the great Roberto Clemente helped to make the film an emotional juggernaut. Klores makes use of more than 100 hours of interviews that he and producer Charles Stuart conducted, plus rare archival footage and a soundtrack of 30 songs.

The film reveals the plight Latino ballplayers had to overcome in order to succeed in a new country. Many of them grew up poor, and learned to master the game simply by using a stick for a bat and a cardboard box for a mitt. When they finally reached the major leagues and achieved success on the field, the players endured ruthless discrimination off and on the field. Viva Baseball tells how these young men coped with intolerance while playing on a national stage.

Other baseball legends featured and/or interviewed are Felipe Alou, Fernando Valenzuela, Orestes "Minnie" Minoso, Vic Power, Dennis Martinez, Preston Gomez, Cookie Rojas, Tony Taylor, Keith Hernandez, and Tony Gonzalez.

"I've tried to make a film about love and pride," says Mr. Klores. "Baseball became the love for these young men, and therefore we feel all of their ups and downs."

Viva Baseball is produced by Shoot the Moon Productions with Dan Klores as director and producer. Charles Stuart is writer and producer. Lou DiBella serves as executive producer. David Zieff and Gary Levy edited Viva Baseball. New York Mets' General Manager Omar Minaya serves as consultant. Keith Brown, Vice President, Documentaries for Spike TV, is executive producer for the network.

Spike TV, the first network for men, is available in 88 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), owns and operates the following television programming services -- MTV: MUSIC TELEVISION, MTV2, mtvU, VH1, NICKELODEON, NICK at NITE, COMEDY CENTRAL, TV LAND, SPIKE TV, CMT, NOGGIN, MTV INTERNATIONAL and THE DIGITAL SUITE FROM MTV NETWORKS, a package of 12 digital services, all of which are trademarks of MTV Networks. MTV Networks also has licensing agreements, joint ventures, and syndication deals whereby all of its programming services can be seen worldwide.

Web Site: http://www.spiketv.com

  [september 2005]  

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