Sugar (I) (2008)

R  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  24 April 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,956 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 33 user | 97 critic | 26 from

Dominican baseball star Miguel "Sugar" Santos is recruited to play in the U.S. minor-leagues.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jose Rijo ...
Walki Cuevas ...
Santo Silvestre ...
Umpire #1
Emmanuel Nanita Carvajal ...
Cesar Emilio Minaya C. ...
Joendy Pena Brown ...
Kelvin Leonardo Garcia ...
Marcos Rosa ...
Zaida Alexandra Hernandez ...
Lilin Soto Gonzales ...
Dioni Feliciano ...
Teodosia Sanchez Reyes ...
Walky Alvarez ...


By 2008, more than 25 percent of major league baseball players were born in Latin America. At 19, Miguel "Sugar" Santos, a serious kid from the Dominican Republic, signs with Kansas City. He flies to Phoenix for tryouts and is sent to the Class A team "The Swing" in the fictional town of Bridgetown, Iowa, where he lives with a farm family. Thus begins his odyssey: leaving his mom and girlfriend; living in an alien culture; learning English; overcoming jitters; working hard; achieving early success; navigating friendships, occasional racism, and a woman's mixed signals; dealing with an injury; trying performance-enhancing drugs; and, searching for his place in the world. Will he make it to the Majors; will he play in New York? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexuality and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

24 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Dominican Project  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$60,140 (USA) (3 April 2009)


$1,081,922 (USA) (7 August 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Some of the last names of the Quad City Swing players in the film were those of actual players on the team. However, they were not portrayed by the real Swing players. During filming, the real players were still in their regular season and then post-season. See more »


When Miguel is pitching to the Loons in the top of the fifth, the scoreboard already shows 0 runs. The score for a half inning is not registered until the half inning is completed. See more »


Earl Higgins: No drinking. No cervezas in the casa. No chicas in the bedroom.
See more »


One Leg
Written and Performed by Michael Brook
Courtesy of Canadian Rational LLC
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User Reviews

This truly *is* a baseball movie
16 January 2010 | by (Boulder, CO) – See all my reviews

If you have no knowledge of, or appreciation for, the sport of baseball, then I think you will likely not enjoy this film as much as those who do. It is more of a baseball movie than many such movies, such as "The Natural," since it plays almost like a documentary rather than the usual script of "talent, obstacles, ultimate fantastic success." I can imagine that the box office receipts for this in the United Kingdom would be about what they would be in the U.S. for a movie about cricket. In "Sugar" we follow Miguel "Sugar" Santos from a U.S. major league baseball training academy in the Dominican Republic to his move to a small city in Iowa to play minor league ball. We get to know Miguel's family and humble living conditions in the Dominican Republic and then the formidable difficulties he faces in being inserted into a foreign culture where he does not speak the language.

I will never look at foreign-born baseball players the same way after having seen the discipline, arduous training, perseverance, and sacrifices they make to get where they are. And the pressure is ever-present--if you fail there are many others who can and will take your place.

Casting the native Dominican non-actor Algenis Perez Soto as Miguel is a small stroke of genius. He had played some ball (as shortstop) but had to be taught how to pitch for this movie. Perez is such a natural both on and off the field that it's impossible not to be taken by him. He has a great ability to capture emotion with facial expressions. A lot of effort must have gone into the casting, since every role rings true.

Sure, this film makes incisive comments about the immigrant experience in the United States, but, even if you are a baseball fan I think you will learn details you did not know about how the sport recruits many of its players and what they go through. Many are called, but few are chosen, and it's not necessarily clear sailing for the chosen.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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