Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reds Back in Playoffs; Watching the Ken Burns Baseball Sequel


I am looking forward to tonight. My Cincinnati Reds, the team I fell in love with as a child (the Big Red Machine) is back in the playoffs, taking on the favored Philadelphia Phillies. First pitch is at 5 pm.

I watched Ken Burns' "10th Inning" update to his highly popular baseball documentary. It wasn't nearly as sharp as the original. I thought he got too involved in play-by-play happenings in the big games played during the past two decades plus.

Nonetheless, I did make note of the documentary's coverage on the classic World Series between Arizona and the Yankees and the playoff comeback by the Boston Red Sox versus the Yankees, when the Sox rallied from being down 3-0 in the series. The documentary in passing noted that many of these games ended past midnight, some even went past 1 a.m. That, folks, is a problem. It is hard to cultivate baseball's popularity with the youth when these games are going on so late.
Finally, Burns' documentary does a good job of covering the steroid era in Major League Baseball. For a sports that so warmly embraces history and comparisons between players of different eras, the steroid era, where players put up unheard of statistics, will always stain the legacy of the sport. What was remarkable to me living through the era was how players changed in size from the pre-steroid era to the steroid era. For example, the documentary noted that the shoe size of Barry Bonds, who became the major league home run king during the steroid era, changed form 9 1/2 to 13. His head also increased a few sizes. Generally people in their late 30s don't have a growth spurt.
While the documentary reports baseball regaining popularity the past couple decades, unfortunately I don't believe that's true.

No comments: