Wednesday, September 20, 2006


ESPN is mounting a mini-series next year timed to the 30th anniversary of the Yankees winning their first World Series under the ownership of George Steinbrenner.

This should be welcome news to Denis Leary......

It's called "The Bronx Is Burning", based on Jonathan Mahler's "Ladies And Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning". Personally, I think it should be called "Da Bronx Is Burning".

Based on what I've read in Roger Catlin's blog "TV Eye", I'm hoping the quality of the acting and the skill used in editing and camera angles will overcome my suspicions about the mini-series' believability. Of the three main actors I've seen mentioned, (and I've yet to check the, John Turturro comes closest to fitting my mental image of his real-life inspiration.

Turturro is playing Billy Martin. Had Harry Dean Stanton been a younger man, I might have gone with him in the role of Martin. Funny thing is, five nights a week I have to see Billy Martin's mug across the lobby where I work - there's a picture of him and Mickey Mantle standing outside the hotel. But it's far enough away that I can't make out the details and it's been years since I actually studied it up close. So I can't really say for certain that the casting is a good match.

Not that it matters in Toobworld. Ryan White's Mom looked nothing like Judith Light, and yet that's who played her in a made-for-TV movie. And Richard Crenna as H. Ross Perot? Puleeeze!

Daniel Sunjata is playing Reggie Jackson and that seems like it's going to be a stretch. But then again, it could come down to make-up, with a fake mustache probably carrying the load to pull off the look.

It's the idea of Oliver Platt as George Steinbrenner I find the strangest bit of casting. I can't see where the producers saw a common link in resemblance from which they could splain the notion of casting Platt. 'f I was king of the forest, I'd have gone with Daniel Roebuck, former co-star of 'Matlock', who portrayed Jay Leno in "Late Shift" and who played the unfortunate Arzt on 'Lost'.

Regarding the need for editing and cinematography skills, New London, Connecticut, is standing in for New York City; and a small stadium in Norwich named for the late Thomas Dodd will be representing the House That Ruth Built.

I'm sure it has to do a better job than the set used on the season premiere of 'How I Met Your Mother' - they couldn't even get the look of the stadium security right!

But I hope it's a success and that ESPN will take a chance on more mini-series of a similar vein.

Because the story that should be told is of the 2004 season for the Red Sox!


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