October 17th was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake and the San Francisco Giants are in the World Series again, so it only seems fitting to talk about ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary The Day The Series Stopped. Director Ryan Fleck takes you back to the unforgettable 1989 earthquake that rocked the Bay Area just prior to the World Series Game 3 between the A’s and the Giants. It’s not the best documentary about the Loma Prieta earthquake, but it’s definitely the most sports-focused one.
The documentary begins by exploring the rivalry between the two teams and cities and setting up the atmosphere of the Bay Area at the time. You meet the important players and coaches and characters from each team. You meet a few fans and what their teams mean to them. Fleck does a great job of setting you up for the moment that changed everything. At 5:04 p.m. the ground started to shake as 6.9 magnitude quake roared to life. You experience the quake through the eyes of the players, coaches, broadcasters, and fans in the stadium that day.
At first they are shaken, then relieved, then they want the game to start. But soon they start to hear reports of all the widespread damage and chaos and the scope of the tragedy starts to set in. Baseball takes a backseat to Mother Nature any day of the week. The documentary explores the eyewitness accounts of fans, players, and coaches and even delves into the science of earthquakes. It shows the healing power of sports through escapism. It’s emotional, educational, and entertaining. It’s not the best 30 for 30 documentary but it’s one of my favorites. Although, I’m a little bit biased because I experienced the quake myself and my parents were at that game. It’s worth watching.
Critically Rated at 14/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young
Baseball is America’s pastime and California is America’s best state. I’m not being biased, I’m being factual. There are only thirty clubs in Major League Baseball and five of them are based in California. We have two expansion teams and three of the most storied teams in the MLB. The Oakland Athletics have been an American League team since 1901. They’ve played in Philadelphia, moved to Kansas City, then came to the Bay Area. They have won 9 World Series titles: 5 in Philly and 4 in Oakland. The LA Dodgers and SF Giants are both National League teams with roots in New York City, and they are one of the best rivalries in baseball. The Giants and Dodgers both have roots going back to 1883. The Dodgers have 6 World Series titles, and the Giants have 7 (and are the reigning World Series Champions for the second time in three years). The Angels were an expansion team in 1961. They currently have one World Series title and right now they have one of the most formidable lineups in baseball.
The Giants and the Dodgers have been rivals since the NYC days. The Giants and the A’s have a mostly friendly rivalry, but there’s some tension because A’s swept the Giants in the Battle of the Bay in the ’89 World Series. The Angles also beat the Giants in the 2002 World Series and bitter feelings still linger in San Francisco (we were five outs away, then they had to bust out the damn Rally Monkey). The Dodgers and the A’s have a rivalry because they are both competing for the love of LA.
And then there’s the San Diego Padres. They are the little brother of MLB teams in California. They have no World Series Titles and no real rivalry with any other California team because they’ve never really been a contender. They have 2 NL Pennants that they can raise, but you’re not a team until you have a ring. They have a nice stadium. That’s about it.
The era of the East Coast Bias is long gone. It’s all about the West now. And you have a lot of options for choosing a baseball team in the Golden State. Do you support the NL or the AL? Northern California or Southern California? Do you like winners or losers? No matter what, there’s a team for you. But if I were you, I’d go with the Giants. Can’t go wrong with the best.
Critically Rated at 13/17
Written, Rated and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young