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Cormac Eklof

Baseball meets the green fields of Ireland

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Cormac Eklof

Baseball may be America's National Pastime, but the Irish have been playing baseball for over a decade. "The Emerald Diamond" is an award-winning documentary that tells the story of Ireland's new found obsession with the game.

Originally released in 2006, "The Emerald Diamond" is being re-released in March 2011 as part of a national screening tour to raise funds for non-profit groups and youth baseball leagues in Ireland and America.

Ireland began its love affair with baseball at the 1996 European Championships. The inexperienced Irish were comically unsuccessful in their earliest games, but their national pride was unshaken. The film explores the themes of pride, volunteerism and cooperation between Ireland and America that were necessary for the Irish to improve. Fitzgerald hopes these themes resonate with viewers and help fundraising efforts.

"The Irish were the ultimate underdogs when they started playing baseball - they had no fields, no equipment, no uniforms and no experience," explains Fitzgerald. "It took a special kind of pride and teamwork to grow the Irish baseball program to where it is today. It is a theme that many non-profits and youth baseball leagues can relate to."

Today, baseball is played all over Ireland, with youth and adult teams in Dublin, Cork, Kerry and Belfast. The Irish National Baseball Team has won several medals in international championship tournaments.

The latest round of film screenings will raise money for non-profit groups and youth baseball programs in the US and Ireland. Fitzgerald and others will be available for a post-screening Q&A session, via Skype.

About The Emerald Diamond:

The Emerald Diamond was produced and directed by first-time filmmaker John Fitzgerald. The film was financed with credit cards and it has been screened in 30 theaters in the US and Ireland. In November 2006, it was chosen by film critic Jeffrey Lyons to receive the Critic’s Choice Award at the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s film festival.

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