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Baseball: The Tenth Inning

Sports movie directed by Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

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Not worthy of Ken Burns...

  • Oct 2, 2010
Rating:
+1
This will likely be an unpopular review, but I must be honest. "Baseball: The Tenth Inning" does not hold a candle to the original series. While the "Top of the Tenth" is pretty good - "The Bottom of the Tenth" is essentially a retelling of the steroids controversy and the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry. I will admit that these are the two biggest stories between 1999-2009 but it certainly is not the only stories -

Things that were neglected

- Only 10 seconds devoted to the White Sox World Series victory in 2005 breaking their 88 year drought between championships.
- No mention of the Detroit Tigers - One of the most interesting stories of the decade was how the Tigers went from an 119 loss season in 2003 to a World Series appearance in 2006? The 2006 series between the Tigers/Cardinals was a rematch of the classic '68 Fall Classic - however, less than 5 seconds of the 2006 World Series is shown.
- Never mentions the rise of Tampa Bay as a powerhouse
- Excludes the Minnesota Twins.... and their stars Joe Mauer, Johnan Santana, or Justn Morneau. The Twins and Oakland A's of the 2000-2010 were the antithesis of the Yankees and Red Sox , and despite not winning a World Series they should be considered as two of the dominant teams.
- No mention of Miguel Cabrera, Carl Crawford, Paul Konerko, Trevor Hoffman, Jim Thome, any of the Twins, or really any player who was unfortunate enough not to play on one of the coasts.
- The only player interviewed is Pedro Martinez... which is a great choice... but why couldn't players be interviewed?
- Why not have a segment on the announcers of the period... no Harey Caray, Ernie Harwell, Vin Scully, or Jack Buck

While it is missing many key ingredients there are moments that help you remember the magic of Ken Burns. The highlight of the 4 hours is the McGwire/Sosa homerun chase of 1998. Burns is able to tell the story with passion and reminds us how exciting September 1998 really was. Burns also does a great job in the telling of the 1994 strike and the angst that it created. I certainly do not have an issue with the time spent on the Yankees (they are unquestionably the team of the period) but it seems like 50% of the time is devoted to the Yankees and their rivals ...the Red Sox. I agree with one of the over-riding themes of the documentary - this was an golden era for baseball, but why wasn't more time given to what truly made it a golden era?

Final Verdict - Maybe my expectations were too high, but I can help but be disappointed in the amount of material that Ken Burns left out of the documentary. It is interesting but it is far from being the definitive documentary of this period... at least I hope so!

2 1/2 stars

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About the reviewer

Ranked #211
At one time, I may have been the world's biggest baseball fan. However, now that I have a family I amin danger of falling out of the top 100. In addition to my beautiful wife and lovely daughter (and … more
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Wiki

Unlike his usual long forays into our nation's distant past, Ken Burns turns his eye to recent history with this engrossing four-hour addition to his popular 1990s documentary seriesBaseball. Spanning the last 20 years,Baseball: The Tenth Inningchronicles the memorable and infamous personalities, teams, games, and scandals that make the national pastime such a topic of significance beyond sport.

Disc 1 examines the labor stoppage of the '90s, the rise of Latino players from countries like the Dominican Republic, the resurgence of the New York Yankees, and Mark McGwire's and Sammy Sosa's pursuit of the single-season home-run record in 1998. The coverage of the home-run chase is particularly effective in showing how baseball simultaneously serves as an escape from and a reflection of the era in which it is played. A country weary of the scandal of President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky eagerly turned its attention to the two men hitting towering home runs. And yet there was scandal, too, at the heart of their exploits, the truth of which would be avoided by owners, players, the press, and fans for many more years.

Disc 2 spends a significant amount of time on the way the steroid scandal fully came to light in the 2000s. The sour reception to Barry Bonds's pursuit of Hank Aaron's all-time home-run record was not just a reaction to how fans felt about Bonds but also how they perceived what they saw on the field with either greater knowledge or less willful ignorance of ...

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Details

Cast: n, a
DVD Release Date: October 5, 2010
Runtime: 240 minutes
Studio: PBS
First to Review
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