We had such a good time corralling the AA staff together last week to give our writers' picks for the Joe Morgan Memorial Tournament Final that we've reconvened around the virtual AA roundtable once again. Ryan's article on the new 30 for 30 slate got us thinking about which sports stories we'd like to see given the 30 for 30 treatment. I'm sure the higher ups at ESPN take note and these ideas will hit the small screen soon...
Question: What sports story of the last 30 years would you love to see made into a 30 for 30 documentary and how would you tell it?
Matt Yoder: As an insane Saints fan, my choice is a bit biased. The story of the New Orleans Saints and the city of New Orleans, from August 29, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana to February 7, 2010 when the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV is one of the most remarkable in sports and would be perfect for ESPN's 30 for 30.
The central narrative would be the relationship between the team and the community and how the building of the Saints championship team paralleled the rebuilding of New Orleans. The Saints and their city have a unique relationship that is rarely seen in the days of franchises continually turning their backs on fans, free agency, and the gulf between fan and athlete becoming wider. With the Saints returning to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, an already passionate fan base became irrevocably intertwined with their team. The Saints' uplifting Super Bowl victory may have been one of the most meaningful to a particular community in history. Because let's face it, if the New Orleans Saints can win the Super Bowl, then anything is possible.
Brady Green: I would really like to see a documentary on Bill James and the rise of sabermetrics in baseball. For better and worse, baseball hasn’t changed much since its beginnings. Out of all sports, baseball places the highest importance on stats when assessing a player’s value and up until somewhat recently, only a few stats were usually used.
Bill James didn’t agree with this, and took his obsession of baseball to another stratosphere of nerdom by creating an array of new stats in his Baseball Almanac. These Almanacs were largely made for other baseball tri-lambs that obviously represented an extreme minority of baseball fans. Still, those few fans and even GM’s that took the time to read them started to think about baseball in a completely different way. Personally, this reinvigorated my interest in baseball, once again making it my favorite professional sport. I love hearing the debate on both sides (I’m still somewhere in the middle) and I crack up whenever SportsCenter compares a player's WAR (wins above replacement) stat every couple of months. GM’s all over the league (not just in Oakland) have been influenced by sabermetrics. It even landed James a job in the Sawks front office in 2003, which he still has today.