Long Gone Summer is an ESPN 30 For 30 released last Sunday, June 14th. Below is what I think of it:
The first thing to know is that this isn't about drugs. This doesn't focus on the drugs, nor do drugs or PEDs play a part in the main plot. The idea of the 30 for 30 is to capture the magic of the summer, and to really step into a fan's shoes to see what it was really like in that magical summer of 1998.
With that being said, I think that it does what it is trying to do very well. It captures the magic, it makes you feel good even though you know that this summer will always have an asterisk. When either one of those guys hits a home run, you knew that it was gone. It captures that feeling of a monster home run in a time where there isn't baseball.
I think that the backstories were well told, although they didn't mention that Sammy Sosa was ever a speedster Billy Hamilton type of guy on the White Sox. He somehow magically skipped from the Rangers to the Cubs. I love how they mentioned Sosa's past and where he grew up. It felt good knowing that a small, poor community had something to cheer about.
With this summer, however, comes the steroid era. And they did not do a good job of mentioning it. They staged Sammy Sosa to be innocent, and barely brought up the fact that Mark McGwire admitted to taking PEDs. And even though this wasn't their intention, they could have just shared the facts, not the opinions.
In conclusion, Long Gone Summer is a great 30 for 30. It brings the magic of the summer of 1998 into your home. And even though it doesn't tell some parts of the story, I'll give it a 4.5/5 star rating. I highly recommend it.
Thanks for reading, and remember Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer interview coming today at 8 PM CT - 8: 30 PM CT!