Sports fans can’t get enough of ESPN’s 30 for 30 sports documentaries. While the series was already popular before, there’s been a surge in interest recently due to the lack of new sports due to the coronavirus pandemic. The success of the 10-part documentary series The Last Dance about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls certainly helped boost the network’s sports documentary profile, and ESPN Films is planning another multi-part sports documentary, this time looking to the 1986 New York Mets baseball team and their amazing comeback to win the World Series against the Boston Red Sox.
ESPN Films announced production on the currently untitled 1986 New York Mets documentary, which will be directed by Nick Davis, who previously dove into baseball with Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived. Lifelong Mets fan Jimmy Kimmel is executive producing through his Kimmelot banner along with the company’s Sal “Cousin Sal” Iacono (who is actually Kimmel’s real cousin), and Scott Lonker. Also executive producing is Jordana Hochman for ITV and Nick Trotta for Major League Baseball.
The 1986 New York Mets are famous for their World Series comeback when the Boston Red Sox were just one strike away from winning the championship. But the Mets rallied after Mookie Wilson hit a ground ball through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, and the rest is history.
So why is this team deserving of a multi-part documentary if this moment is so easily and quickly described? ESPN films says this legendary comeback “was merely the climax of an epic tale of ambition and swagger set in a city that was synonymous with excess.” They also call the team “one of baseball’s most dominant and iconoclastic teams” complete with “larger-than-life characters whose exploits on and off the field symbolized a unique moment in time for New York City and baseball history.”
Some of those headline-making names include Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez and Lenny Dykstra, some of which stirred up controversy even after the 1986 season was over. In fact, Gooden and Strawberry were already given their own 30 for 30 documentary called Doc & Daryl, which focused on how the top baseball players each dealt with drug addiction and recovery. You can watch the trailer for that doc right here.
It’s hard to say whether this documentary can match the excitement and interest around something like The Last Dance. The Chicago Bulls had worldwide appeal thanks to the presence of superstar player Michael Jordan. And while this documentary about The Mets might be interesting for baseball fans, it doesn’t seem to have the same broad appeal that might bring in more casual sports fans. But then again, maybe the simple fact that the team deserves such a documentary will get people interested.
It’s not clear when the 1986 New York Mets documentary will arrive on ESPN, but we’ll keep you posted.
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