Thousands of bats, three home run records and one "curse" have been broken since Ken Burns last explored the history of America's national pastime with his landmark 1994 PBS series BASEBALL. Now, Burns and co-director Lynn Novick update the series with THE TENTH INNING. Beginning with a crippling strike that alienated millions of fans and brought the game to the brink, this new film tells the tumultuous story of our national pastime up to the present. It celebrates baseball's new Golden Age – an era of unprecedented home run totals, popularity and prosperity – and sheds light on one of the game's darkest chapters – the steroid era. The two-part, four-hour film examines the compelling stories of Joe Torre, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki, Cal Ripken Jr. and Barry Bonds and features insightful commentary from an eclectic lineup of writers, broadcasters, fans and all-stars.
"Top of the Tenth" (Episode One)
Encore Presentation Monday, Nov. 8th, 2010 (check local listings)
In 1994, the national pastime faces its worst crisis in 70 years when a bitter and prolonged strike forces the cancellation of the World Series, infuriating fans dismayed by the athletes and teams they once worshipped. Baseball has to rebuild. And rebuild it does, with new stadiums, an infusion of new players from Latin America and the shattering of historic records previously considered unbreakable. Cal Ripken Jr. sets an amazing record of consecutive games played, helping rekindle the country's love of the game. Barry Bonds, son of the great right fielder Bobby Bonds, signs the most lucrative contract to date in baseball history and thrills San Francisco fans. Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux pitch the Atlanta Braves to the pinnacle. Dazzlingly talented Latino players make an indelible mark on the game. The Yankees, led by manager Joe Torre, return to glory after two decades of disappointment. Bulked up sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivate the nation as they chase Roger Maris' single season home run record. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, more and more players are making life-altering decisions about how far they are willing to go to succeed.
"Bottom of the Tenth" (Episode Two)
Encore Presentation Monday, Nov. 15th, 2010 (check local listings)
In the first decade of the 21st century, baseball is booming. In an age of home runs and power, Pedro Martinez and a handful of other superb pitchers still manage to dominate. The astonishingly talented right fielder Ichiro Suzuki becomes MLB's first Japanese position player and a hero back home. As America reels from the horror of the 9/11 attacks, baseball provides solace, and in an incredible World Series, gives the country something to cheer about. As the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox reaches the boiling point, long-suffering Boston fans rejoice in their first World Series victory in 86 years, while Giants and Cubs fans endure devastating losses. Barry Bonds demolishes Mark McGwire's home-run record and sets his sights on Henry Aaron's revered all time mark. The game is more popular than ever, but revelations about steroids cast a shadow on many of the era's greatest stars and their historic accomplishments.