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Quick Daily Review #91: Baseball (1994)

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 Baseball (1994)

Ken Burns has built up quite an impressive slew of documentaries over the years, quietly churning away. Not all of them have been winners, but for my money, this one may be his crowning achievement. This is a documentary that will take some time to finish. It is a very, very, very long documentary. It has nine different sections that all last for two hours a piece. Each episode typically covers a ten year period of baseball history. The exception is the first episode which covers the first forty years from the mid 19th century in two hours. There is also a two part addendum produced a few years ago that covers the 90s through the mid 2000s and all the steroid controversy. For me the strongest episodes are the early ones from the pioneer period, up until the glory period of the 1920s and Babe Ruth. There are so many people interviewed here that to list them would make this an unreadable review, but suffice to say a good mix of athletes, coaches, historians, and celebrities to offer a mix of narrative, insight, and the occasional yarn. Billy Crystal of course shows up in the section about the 50s telling stories of old Yankee Stadium and his dad taking him to see games. There’s a million fun stories from the psychopathic Ty Cobb to lovable losers like the old Brooklyn Dodgers and my own Chicago Cubbies. Even old Shelby Foote, from Burns’ career launching Civil War documentary pops up here and there. For those of you who don’t really care about baseball aside from a particular era, I would recommend you perhaps just cherry pick an episode or two of this at your leisure, because as said, most people nowadays can’t even be bothered to watch an entire ballgame, let alone a twenty hour documentary about the game itself.

4-5stars

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About William McPherson (382 Articles)
Professional freelance writer, who also writes blogs, reviews, and assorted nonsense at www.vortexeffect.net

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