In the summer of 2001, the kids from the Bronx were the feel-good story of the Little League World Series. Most of the attention went to their quiet, record-setting ace, Danny Almonte, who had recently moved to New York from the Dominican Republic. They didn’t win the title, but they were the toast of New York, meeting their neighbors the New York Yankees and receiving keys to the city from then-mayor Rudy Giuliani. The problem was, Almonte’s story didn’t hold up. A Sports Illustrated investigation revealed that he was a full two years too old to participate in Little League. The story instantly caught international attention, as Almonte was accused of cheating in the most sacred of all amateur sports. Twelve years later, the reclusive Almonte finally tells the truth about one of the strangest chapters in youth sports history.
I, like many in the Bronx, followed Danny’s rise and fall very closely. I’m still torn. 90% of me feels that the adults in his life really fucked him over. 10% of me, though, felt then and still feels now, like his teammate that is featured in the doc: he knew how old he was and how old he wasn’t. I also can’t help but think about just how much life in New York City, and in the United States, was about to change very soon after this all took place.