Dear Ken Burns
I started writing this email three times while watching part 2 of the Tenth Inning and deleted each one because I thought I was being ridiculous, but screw it. I’m a graduate student at Columbia College Chicago on the Documentary Film Track, so I really do know a thing or two about doc films. I was 13 years old when the original Baseball documentary came out and I have been looking forward to the 10th Inning since the moment I heard you working on it years ago.
Literally, and I mean this as a compliment, I would fall asleep to the Baseball doc series on VHS since I watched it so many times. I am not only a big documentary fan, but calling myself fanatical about sports would be an understatement. Really, I am trying to follow not only in your footsteps, but the footsteps of Steve James, Errol Morris, the Maysles Brothers and countless more.
All that being said, wtf? I know you’re a Red Sox fan, but the 2003 Cubs get 2 minutes tops in the 10th Inning? Okay, okay! I get it, but do me a favor. Years from now, after the Cubs are 2015 World Series Champions, I may or may not be known by the general public, but when you do another sequel in 2020 or 2025, please look me up.
I’m sure this email will be long lost by then and no interns will want to dig it up, but trust me, put this one aside. When the Cubs in fact do it, I will email you again. I’m a third generation Cubs fan. I have stories about 2003 that will really get to the heart of the 2003 NLCS that you completely skipped because you were too busy having Red Sox fans such as Mike Barnicle and Doris Kearns Goodwin gab about past heartbreak and a bunch of other crap. My brother and college roommate might be the ones with the Cubs tattoos, but someone needs to tell the story the right way. Again, this is all in reaction to watching Dave Roberts and the juiced up David Ortiz winning the 2004 World Series, so maybe I’m being a bit of a sore loser right now.
I’m glad it wasn’t Sammy, the acne faced Kerry Wood, or the Rocky Mountain calfed Mark Prior that made it finally happen for us. We’ll get it done soon and when we do, you will remember this email when you need an interview. Hopefully by that point, you will know me as a colleague and it won’t be hard to look me up when you shoot the 11th Inning. In the meantime, go Rays, Rangers, Padres, and even the Giants, because as a Cubs fan, you want the teams who never won one to get it done, and as for the Giants, it’s been long enough San Francisco, you are starting to get to know our pain.
R. Patrick Lile
P.S. You should have used Livan Hernandez and the fact he escaped Cuba through Mexico and ended up winning the 1997 World Series MVP in his first full year to cap your chapter on Latino players. I literally yelled at the tv when you didn’t mention this. And speaking for my White Sox friends…really, just a still frame of Bobby Jenks and a few others to tell the 2005 story? Just a reminder, 1917 was longer ago than 1918 you freaking Mass-hole!!! You freaking self-centered East Coaster! Seriously, I’m usually not this critical, but when talking baseball, I get emotional.
Very good review, I have lived long enough to have seen the East Coast bias at work since TV started showing sports. It is not just Washington Politicians that need to get out amongst the populace; the only thing Miles Brand ever did right was to put the headquarters of the NCAA in the Midwest.
Ken Burns should have been a better journalist and sports fan, but if you are writing or reporting the deffinative history of a subject it should be without bias; take a lesson from Shelby Foote Mr Burns
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