Saturday, October 01, 2011

Catching Hell – a decent first draft

First, I want to say that all sports fans will enjoy Catching Hell. You don't have to be a baseball fan to get something out of the ESPN (@ESPNAmerica) documentary.

Having said that, Catching Hell is far from flawless. It's part of the story, but ultimately incomplete. That the those who made the film didn't get the main subject – Steve Bartman – to talk to them isn't the primary flaw.

No, the biggest problem I have is with the non-participation of the Chicago Cubs. To my mind the biggest culprits in the story were the Cubs. The Cubs – the players, the manager and those in the front office – allowed Bartman to be turned into a villain. They let it happen. In fact, they caused it to happen.

We got a short interview with the lead supporting actor in this play, Moises Alou, but that was unsatisfactory too. He was never asked if he felt that he could have done more to save Bartman from the fans' ire I wanted to know if looking back at it if he wishes he'd done or said something more.

Other than Eric Karros we heard nothing from anyone else associated with the Cubs. Why?

Maybe they know now that they should have said or done more for Bartman. Maybe they're ashamed. Or maybe they defiantly believe that Bartman did really cost them Game 6 of the NLCS and maybe they still blame him. Whatever the players, manager and front office folks feel today is still a mystery.

There are other problems with the documentary. At two hours it's too long thanks to an excessive amount of Boston Red Sox stuff. It's unnecessary for the story. And as for the lengthy theological treatise on scapegoats ... that should have been cut to a sentence. Without Bartman, without his friends or family, without the Cubs an hour would have been better.

It's too good a story to remain only partially told.