Since I went to the screening to The Tenth Inning it is right of me to do the full review. Let me say start on the negatives:
- There was only one mention of baseball in Washington D.C. I’m amazed they didn’t profile Peter Angelos and how it was handled. I’m bias here, but Angelos fight to not have a team in D.C. plus the whole stadium fight would have at least 10 minutes of material.
- You might be stunned by this, but they didn’t tell enough about the Yankees dynasty era from 1996-2001. They told the Joe Torre story, which was great, but I wanted them to expand on how great they were in 1998, which was the second best story behind the home run chase.
- One big omission was when Mike Piazza hit a walk-off HR on the first game back from 9/11. I thought that home run tell us “We’re Back in Business” throughout the country.
However, the miniseries made an important point throughout the 4+ hours that from the strike and the steroids scandal, there’s a romanticism between fans and baseball that would never be explained. You understand why people like football, basketball, and hockey, but if you ask people why they like baseball, you get a variety of answers.
The most stunning revelation about the film is how much people love baseball. During the home run chase, Steve Wilstein discovered Andro in Mark McGwire’s locker and people were attacking on Wilstein, who was just reporting the story, and the fans and media covered their ears and did not want to hear any bad stuff during the chase. The steroid scandal grew after 1998 and when people realize it was a fantasy, baseball lost its innocence, but an unexpected source help baseball back to its feet.
The steroid hearings from Canseco, Palmeiro, McGwire, and Sosa and the Mitchell Report were two of the darkest days in baseball, but it was watching a public confession and it had to be done to cleanse the sport physically and spiritually all guided by the Federal Government. The Federal Government played a big role in baseball as they healed the relationship between the owners and the Union. If there were no Congressional hearings, would we be seeing another strike in 2002? Personally, that was going to happen, but I guess Congress sees baseball as the true America’s sport and does not want baseball to sink to despair, so they have to step in so baseball doesn’t lose anymore fan support.
In the viewpoint of Ken Burns, the media, fans, and government were in a dream during the steroids era no one want to escape, but someone had to pop the bubble. When reality set in, the game went from a video game to the real game people still love because although the players and technology change, the game hasn’t change.
For that, The Tenth Inning truly tells why people still love baseball in its darkest days and why baseball will still exist: the romanticism of the game from all corners.