I’ve been watching the ESPN documentaries “30 for 30” on Netflix lately. Some of them are very good — “Without Bias,” about the death of Len Bias, for example. Some of them are not so good — “Silly Little Game,” a great story about the birth of Rotisserie Baseball that was extremely poorly told.
Last night I watched “Fernando Nation,” about Fernandomania that swept the nation in 1981 when Fernando Valenzuela came up with the Dodgers. This was of particular interest to me because I attended the game at Shea Stadium that he won 1-0 to run his record to 7-0 with an impossible 0.29 ERA. It was a very exciting game.
In any case, in the film they talked a bit about Dodger history back in Brooklyn. They referred to Ebbets Field, so they showed the requisite shot of the famous rotunda (this a screenshot from the movie):
Then they went to a few old-time Dodgers shots, and then, while still referring to Ebbets, they showed this:
I was shocked. This was an angle of Ebbets Field that I had never seen. I rewound it and paused it, and I said to myself, “That’s not Ebbets Field.” I checked my favorite ballpark website and indeed I was right; it was Shibe Park, also known as Connie Mack Stadium, in Philadelphia.
How could such a mistake happen? Perhaps the director, Cruz Angeles, is not much of a sports fan and wouldn’t know Ebbets Field from Strawberry Fields. Then why is he making a “30 for 30” sports documentary?
But even if the director, the editor or the film archivist could not tell the difference, you’d think one of the ESPN suits who surely watched the documentary before it went to air would have noticed. Apparently not.
Maybe you think I am being nitpicky; after all, it was just one quick shot in an hour-long film. I say no — this is inexcusable, especially considering it involved a stadium that is as iconic as Ebbets Field.