ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: The Deal (2014)

Directed by Nick & Colin Barnicle

Alex Rodriguez has been in the news a lot recently, alongside the decade long battle against steroids in Major League Baseball. Now linked, conceivably, to his legacy forever, the recent steroids scandal that finds A-Rod banned for the length of the 2014 season, meaning his $25+ million dollars will be left on the table, uncollected, is not the subject of ESPN’s latest effort in their 30 for 30 Shorts series. However, Alex Rodriguez does remain at the forefront of attention in it. With their latest effort, the Barnicle Brothers, Nick and Colin, explore Rodriguez’s surprise deal with the New York Yankees.

Amid the largest contract in history at the time, $252 million/10 years, and a series of losing season with the Texas Rangers, Alex Rodriguez sought a winning club with either the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees, two teams who hate each other, and claimed to be, by many sports fans and experts alike, to be the greatest rivalry in sports. The battle for the greatest player in the game set out as a duel between two tradition rich franchises. It goes without saying that the Yankees got their man in the end, but this film focuses in on the how. How did it all come about when at a time, it appeared A-Rod to the Red Sox was a done deal.

This is not a poorly constructed film by any stretch of the imagination. The Barnicle’s even inject a bit of tension and intrigue into a story that, otherwise, is merely an insidious vehicle to promote the interests of ESPN. The Red Sox and Yankees are great franchises, and good ball clubs, but ESPN has had a love affair with the rivalry for as long as I can remember, throwing other great sports and baseball stories under the rug just to plug the two teams a little bit more. With their latest short, I fear they may have taken it even one step further. This film has little to no point in existing at all.

Why is the story of how the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez relevant in the current era of baseball. Certainly there was a time when this would have been an interesting story, but 10 years later, knowing now what we do of the outcome? Who cares? Especially when there is no mention of the fact that Alex’s accolades during his time as a New York Yankee, and perhaps even further back, are forever tainted with the residue of performance enhancing drugs and his poor charade he’s managed to put on pushing his innocence in the matter. But worse yet, the film makes the Yankees out to be the big, bad, “evil empire”, stealing the greatest player in the game from their rival and building a monster, unbeatable team on the field. Since the signing of Rodriguez, the Red Sox have, in fact, won 3 World Series Titles to the Yankees mere 1.

Somebody please tell me why this story carries any weight at all.

* – Woof!

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

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