'Long Gone Summer' Meant To Put Viewer In Moment

The 1998 home run chase will be chronicled on ESPN on Sunday night.

Dan Bernstein Show
June 12, 2020 - 11:55 am

(670 The Score) In producing the "Long Gone Summer" documentary that chronicles the 1998 home run chase between Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire and Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, director AJ Schnack had a goal that he felt was vital. 

He wanted viewers to initially enjoy the moment as if they were back in 1998. For that reason, Schnack waited quite some time into "Long Gone Summer" to delve into the performance-enhancing drug cloud that has since hovered over players of that era, McGwire and Sosa included.  

"Because of the haze of what we know happened throughout baseball in the '90s, it's hard to remember exactly what that moment felt like at the time," Schnack said on the Dan Bernstein Show on 670 The Score on Friday. "And at the time, it was of course not just in baseball or in sports. It was a huge moment in the country. I really wanted to approach it from a chronological perspective so that you were put back in that moment, that you could feel what the moment felt like at the time. You know what's going on. You know what that era is about, but the you are watching, the people who are enjoying it in that moment, they don't know anything other than how it's affecting them. And that was how everyone experienced it.

"We really tried to take the opportunity that in August (of 1998), when the (androstenedione) story breaks, that an AP reporter finds that McGwire has openly in his locker a bottle of andro, that that's sort of our moment to start a little bit bigger about what the era was. But you know, we do hold off until the final act to really dive into what we're learned since 1998 and how that might affect our lingering feelings about the chase. I wasn't really interested in framing it up top with 'this was a time period when people were doing all of these things' and now let's look at how everyone overreacted at the time. Because I think it's sort of important to put you back in way you felt in that moment."

"Long Gone Summer" premieres on ESPN on Sunday at 8 p.m. CT. Read Bernstein's review of it here.