Thoughts on “Long Gone Summer”

Documentaries continue to give us something to look forward to on Sunday nights. We had the five Sundays in a row with “The Last Dance”. Lance Armstrong had a two part series. Bruce Lee had his time to shine last week. This week, it was time for “Long Gone Summer”.

The documentary detailed the 1998 home run chase between St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire and Chicago Cubs right fielder Sammy Sosa. After watching the full thing last night, a few things stuck out to me.

Mark McGwire’s Humbleness

I know McGwire took steroids, but take that out for a second here. One thing that caught me off guard was McGwire’s humbleness through that season. There’s a lot of physical and mental pressure when you’re breaking a record like that. McGwire never seemed like he was being a jerk with the media. It seemed weird that he almost hated being on camera. A guy like that you’d think would want to talk about it all of time. But that just wasn’t who Mark McGwire was when he was pursuing the record.

Sammy Sosa’s Charisma

I knew that Sammy Sosa was crushing homeruns left and right. But I never really knew how much charisma and personality he had throughout the years. It seemed like Sammy loved the camera and always knew where it was hiding. Sosa isn’t perfect either by any means. But he still loved to just play  baseball. That’s a lesson all ballplayers should learn and put into their game: just enjoy it and have fun.

The Little Time They Had To Talk About It In 1998

McGwire said it best in the middle of the documentary. They never had time to sit down and talk about everything that was happening. The two would answer some questions, get escorted back to their dugouts, and play the game. Keep in mind, the Cardinals and Cubs were divisional rivals, so that didn’t help either. For such a historic season, I personally wish the two could have had a few conversations leak out about what they had to say about that magical 1998 season.

People Will Always Love Ken Griffey Jr.

Everybody thought Ken Griffey Jr. was the best complete player during that time frame. A five tool player with everything at his disposal, Griffey looked to be McGwire’s competition that season. For awhile, that held up. But after a long slump, the race came down to just Sosa and McGwire. But forget about that, Griffey Jr. was something special. It stinks that he had injuries take away a significant amount of his career. Man, what could’ve been!

In Conclusion

Was it a good documentary? Yes. Do I think it could’ve been better? Also yes. I think more Sammy Sosa couldn’t have hurt this documentary. Maybe there could’ve been more about the steroids and what not going on in that time frame. But overall, pretty solid job on the documentary. It’s cool to relive childhood memories like that. I was five years old when this was going on, so I don’t remember a lot of it when it was actually happening. But watching last night did put a smile on my face. What are your thoughts? Tweet at me or the CGS twitter account, @CouchGuySports, and tell me what you think!

-Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793)

Photo courtesy of cbssports.com/

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