Remember ‘The Last Dance,’ ESPN’s 10-part Michael Jordan documentary that aired at least a couple of years ago now, smashing viewership records left and right? Well, we have good news, beleaguered Americans. On Sunday ESPN is poised to drop it’s spiritual successor ‘Long Gone Summer’—a new 30 For 30 chronicling Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s 1998 home-run race—and judging by the trailer, it’s also going to be smashing things left and right.
Baseballs that is. Lots and lots of baseballs.
If you didn’t just get a phantom waft of hot dogs and dad’s Budweiser breath drifting through your living room, perhaps this isn’t for you. A re-telling of one of the most quintessentially American sports stories of all time, ‘Long Gone Summer’ takes a long, hard look at our generation’s space race, which, like most quintessentially American things, doesn’t exactly hold up to deeper inspection. For a fourth-grade SI Kids subscriber in 1998, McGwire and Sosa’s great HR chase was the coolest thing ever. For a 31-year-old man watching the MLB tear itself apart yet again knowing full well why McGwire and Sosa were able to hit so many baseballs as far as they did that summer, it takes on a decidedly different feel.
But that’s what promises to make this such good TV. The heroes and villains are one in the same. “It was a feel-good thing throughout the country,” muses Bob Costas, a man having a pretty big summer himself, in the trailer. “But in retrospect, there was a price to pay for it.”
That may be true, Bob, but at least we got this sweet documentary out of it.
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