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October 5, 2007

Flashback (OT)

What’s both interesting and a bit disconcerting is watching The Bronx is Burning — the ESPN series about the 1977 Yankees season — in which George Steinbrenner is threatening to fire manager Billy Martin if the team doesn’t win the World Series, at the same time, thirty years later, Steinbrenner is threatening to fire manager Joe Torre if the 2007 team doesn’t win the Series (specifically, Steinbrenner made a public announcement that Torre would be gone if the team doesn’t win the first round of playoffs — but once that round is won, assuming it’s won, there’s no reason to believe Torre’s future employment won’t be dependent on the team going on the win the pennant and series — after all, in Steinbrenner’s mind, it will have been his announcement and the threat that was responsible for the playoff win in the first place).The ESPN series itself is… odd. The source book, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning (review, Amazon), is an overall look at New York City in the truly bizarre year of 1977: Larger-than-life politicians, the Son of Sam killer, a blackout, a race riot, sex clubs, Rupert Murdoch, and of course the George Steinbrenner/Billy Martin/Reggie Jackson/Thurmon Munson Show.

The ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) series, not surprisingly, focuses on the Yankees storyline (and is well done, other than Steinbrenner being portrayed a bit too much like George Costanza’s boss). Problem is, they don’t ignore the other storylines completely, but rather insert snippets of them, with little or no real context, within the “main” story. Cut away from the ballgame for the seventh inning stretch, Son of Sam blows somebody away, and then we’re back for the eighth inning.

Anybody else have any thoughts about this series?

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