Burns at the bat
Baseball (1994): 6 out of 10: Ken Burns has created a documentary that resembles baseball itself. Overlong with not enough action and everyone around you yapping how owners, players, and fans have ruined the game. On the plus side, disk nine’s coverage of the Red Sox curse is a delight. You can see the pain on the faces of the fans as they discuss Bucky Dent’s home run or game six. This segment also highlights another strength of using non-experts to discuss the sport they love. It is refreshing.
On the bad side outside of sheer length is the constant drumbeat about racism in the game. While Burn’s Jazz miniseries and certainly the Civil War had a place to discuss racism, it seems out of place here. There is not a disk or a segment that escapes the constant barrage of how racist baseball was and is. Truth be told baseball reflected America at the times it was played and was neither significantly more nor less racist than America as a whole.
Too long and slow for its good Ken Burns Baseball sounds like the old uncle repeating the same stories long after he made his point.