For years, whenever I’ve had a bad day, I’ve watched a Red Sox film to cheer myself up. I watch them for fun, too, but there’s nothing better when I need to escape real life and bask in the magical glow of baseball. Sometimes it’s the 2004 movie for a little curse-reversal, or the 2013 film to relive Boston Strong. Other options include 4 Days in October, Fever Pitch, and the movie they made when Fenway Park turned 100 years old in 2012. When the Red Sox lost the first game of the 2013 ALCS, I watched the 2004 movie to distract myself from the fear that the Boston Strong season might not end in championship. These movies have gotten me through some very tough times, and clearly mean a lot to me.
So after such an incredible season, I was beyond excited to preorder the 2018 World Series film and add another movie to my collection. My anticipation only intensified when I found out that it was being narrated by a woman for the first time ever.
I watched it for the first time yesterday, and I have a lot of feelings about it, both good and bad.
Maybe I’m wrong about how other teams’ World Series films usually go (I don’t care enough about other teams to watch theirs), but based off the three made about the Red Sox, I was expecting the story of 2018. And considering the incredible season and postseason we just witnessed, it could have been a great story. Instead, we’re treated to an in-depth recap of the five World Series games, and almost nothing else. Not nearly enough about our magnificent rookie manager, and nothing about the way JD Martinez made his teammates better hitters, or the renewed rivalry with the Yankees, or so many other big parts of what made this season what it was.
The movie is called Damage Done, and yet I don’t think the word ‘Yankees’ is said more than once, nor does it even explain the joke that turned into the season slogan. Nothing about Joe Kelly’s brawl with Tyler Austin, the midsummer four-game sweep, or even Aaron Judge cockily blasting “New York, New York” at Fenway before the Sox sent them packing. It completely ignores the two immense American League teams the Sox had to get past in order to reach the World Series, arguably stronger teams than any in the National League. After all, this was the first time in MLB history that either league had three teams that each won more than one hundred games. But there were only a few short flashback-style clips from either series. I wanted to see David Price and JBJ’s ALCS heroics, more Yankee ALDS soul-crushing, and so much that was left out.
I understand that it’s a feature-length film, and the story of this season could fill a book (and will, because I’m writing one!), but if I wanted to watch recaps of the World Series games this detailed, I’d just go and re-watch the actual games. A film that skipped the entire regular season and 2/3 of the postseason of one of the greatest years in franchise history just feels like an enormous missed opportunity.
It’s the Red Sox winning their fourth World Series in the last fifteen years. It’s Steve Pearce becoming a postseason hero, Nathan Eovaldi becoming a pitching legend, David Price’s redemption, Mookie’s first career postseason home run, Chris Sale pitching the ninth and final inning of the World Series, bringing Manny Machado to his knee to win it all. It’s the Red Sox winning the World Series.
There are moments in the film that truly capture how the World Series felt. You relive the tension of the 18-inning Game 3. It brought back exactly how anxious I felt sitting at Dodger Stadium that night for almost eight hours. Nathan Eovaldi gets the star treatment, his epic relief stint from innings 12-18 is a well-deserved focal point in the film.
You see how much this team loved and supported each other, and how much Cora and his boys became a family this year. But we could’ve seen it more if the movie had been about more of the season. Because 2018 was about the World Series, to be sure, but it was about all of it; the Win Wall, the grand slams, the sizzling strikeouts, the new win record, I could keep going for pages about everything that made this year so incredibly special.
Every season is a chance to start again. But if we win in 2019, it’ll be because of different moments, different players coming up big, different motivations. We’ve closed the book on this season, and we can never truly go back. That’s why I cherish the 2004 and 2013 movies so much; when I watch them, it’s like a time machine to Dave Roberts stealing second base, David Ortiz hitting all those home runs, Boston Strong, and so much more. The 2018 movie will take me back to the World Series, but that’s it, and that’s really a sad way to preserve this season because that’s not all it was.
This season was everything. It’s so disappointing that the film is not.
Photo: Red Sox