I’m on my second viewing of The Last Dance; I want my kids to see the dedication it takes to play professional sports. The show is easily one of the best sports documentaries made. It got me thinking about what else I want to see. Here are my top 5 documentaries I’d like to see ESPN tackle.
5. The Rise and Fall of the Houston Astros – This one probably won’t happen for a while, and I know other places are working on similar documentaries. I want more than just sign stealing; I want to start at Jeff Luhnow coming in, the controversies around their spending early on, analytics, the Cardinal’s hacking scandal, the Roberto Osuna trade, everything. It was an incredible story in baseball about how they were able to build a potential dynasty, but at what cost.
4. Tiger Woods: Downfall of an Icon – Woods was on the level of MJ as one of the most well known sports icons, and it all crumbled quickly. Look at the injuries, the fidelity issues, and how he’s come back from it all. Bonus points if you can track down some of the Perkins waitresses. You could also touch on the failed pay-per-view with Phil Mickelson.
3. The Unofficial Banning of Barry Bonds – When Barry Bonds “retired” from baseball, he was still at the top of his game (whether it be because of talent or an unapproved substances). There is speculation he’s been black balled from the game, which has been supported by his lack of activity outside of 1 year as a hitting coach for the Marlins. This is one where you show early in his career, talk to trainers/doctors about the changes in his body, and talk to people in the industry about why teams won’t touch him. I guarantee he’d be willing to talk about it too; he’s been vocal about his blackballing.
2. Game 162: 2011 MLB Playoff Picture – The 2011 post-season wasn’t set until the final game of the day ended. While that might not be out of the ordinary, this year was different because this one day held the fates of many teams. You have a quick rundown of the last month of the season, then look at that day. Focus on the players involved and what the games and waiting was like. Talk to reporters about the how this was impacting reporting. Talk to fans about watching all of these different games to see what would happen to their teams.
1. St. Louis vs Stan Kroenke – Like the Astros story, this is one we won’t see for a while; unlike the Astros, it’s because there is litigation involved here. But this could be an amazing story. Look at the Rams leaving LA for St. Louis in the 1990s, Kroenke taking over ownership after the death of Georgia Frontiere, and the process of moving the team. You can explain the rules of moving a franchise and what happened with this one. Then you can look at what the lawsuit is about – was there lying, collusion, and cheating to get the team back to LA? This documentary could be very appealing if they could uncover some of the truths that haven’t made it to the public yet.
A few honorable mentions:
The 2018-19 St. Louis Blues,
What Went Wrong with the XFL (Parts 1 and 2),
Building the 2nd Dream Team,
The Jeff Hardy Story,
Lita – Matt Hardy Vs Edge