ESPN's 'Long Gone Summer' 30 for 30 Was Bizarre and Boring: TRAINA THOUGHTS


1. If you missed Sunday night's debut of ESPN's "Long Gone Summer" 30 for 30, but have it on your DVR, don't waste your time watching it—unless you like watching 105 minutes of home runs from the 1998 season. 

It was the first 30 for 30 ever that I can remember that was just flat-out bad and boring. More than bad and boring, it was weird.

The show spent most of the time glorifying Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire and then, in the final 15 minutes, was like, "Oh, by the way, while these guys were busting out of their jerseys and hitting moon shot after moon shot, there was also this little steroid scandal."

Even the talking heads on the doc were boring and added little insight. Noticeably absent from the doc was Joe Buck, who called many home runs that year hit by Sosa and McGwire. I don't know if FOX didn't allow Buck to go on an ESPN documentary or if ESPN didn't ask the FOX star to appear, but his absence was felt and it was odd.

After showing home run after home run after home run, the doc finally got around to addressing the PEDs issue. However, it did so by going after Barry Bonds first. After calling out Bonds, then the doc decided to get around to mentioning McGwire and Sosa's issues with PEDs. So strange.

The icing on the cake, though, was when a defiant and confused Sosa asked why the public demands that he admit to using steroids when most of the league was doing steroids. For some unknown reason, the person questioning Sosa didn't explain that most people want an admission from him because he hit 66 home runs one year. Duh!

"Long Gone Summer" recapped the home run battle of 1998, but McGwire and Sosa aren't captivating enough to carry a two-hour special. A doc about either Ken Griffey Jr., who was better, more likable and more compelling than McGwire and Sosa, or a doc about Bonds, who was also way better than McGwire and Sosa and the ultimate sports villain, would've been more interesting.

I don't want to sound harsh, but it was stunning to me that a 30 for 30 could be this bad when the franchise is one of the best things in the history of sports media. I always have massive expectations for any 30 for 30 and they always come through. 

But I guess there's a first for everything.

2. If you missed it over the weekend, while owners and players fought over the start of the baseball season, the league became even more profitable.

3. Baker Mayfield said over the weekend that he'd be kneeling during the national anthem this season. Just as significant, he also said, "If I lose fans, that's OK."

Don't underestimate the importance of that line, because that's what change is going to be all about. When Colin Kaepernick took a knee, he didn't get much support because the league and players were terrified of the president, MAGA and FOX News, which I wrote about last week

There are going to be a lot of angry people when players take a knee again. Players (and the NFL) have to accept they are going to lose fans. Baker gets its.

4. While "Long Gone Summer" disappointed, Episode 4 of The Last Ride on WWE Network did not. In my opinion, the episode was the best one in the series so far. The series finale, which gives us a look at The Undertaker that we've never seen before, airs next week.

5. The latest Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features an interview with Nate Burleson from Good Morning Football and CBS Sports.

Burleson talked about the events in the United States since the killing of George Floyd, how he feels about cops, how his grandfather being killed by a cop shaped him as a kid, what he tells his kids about dealing with the police, the Drew Brees controversy, Vic Fangio saying racism isn't a problem in the NFL, whether he was ever uncomfortable in an NFL locker room, and much more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: It was 33 years ago Sunday that Kramer got spit on while leaving a Phillies-Mets game.

7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: As I said on Twitter when "Long Gone Summer" ended, my favorite 30 for 30 is, was and always will be "The U."

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.