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Filmmaker Ken Burns offers free Baseball streaming content on PBS and words of comfort

Ken Burns
Ken Burns is offering his content up for free on the PBS.org website for anyone to catch Baseball the film. Pic credit: PBS

PBS and Ken Burns have teamed up to offer words of encouragement and free Baseball documentary streaming on the network.

This morning PBS contacted media and offered a free streaming access to anyone for the Baseball documentary series amid the delayed MLB Season.

“As many of us hunker down in the days ahead, it’s important that we find things that bring us together, and show us our common humanity,” Burns says in a special message shared on his social media.

What did Ken Burns say?

On Sunday, Monsters & Critics received a press statement with a special message from filmmaker Ken Burns.

He said:

“This is a difficult time for all of us. We’re worried about the health of our kids, our families, our friends and neighbors, and the vitality and safety of our communities. It’s also a time we realize, more than ever, that we’re all in this together.”

You can head to PBS.org to find the free streaming content.

What is Baseball by Ken Burns about?

Our national pastime of baseball. The story told by Burns in Baseball is also the story of America.  Burns covers the highest notes and the lowest moments in the game’s colorful history.

Described as an “epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs,” this labor of love for the prolific documentarian reveals all the warts and the glory of a game that navigated scandal, World Wars and racial injustice.

Ken Burns has spent over three decades with his peers including directors, writers, producers, editors, and cinematographers to give us the most critically acclaimed and most watched documentaries on public television. Subjects he covers range from The Dust Bow to Jazz, Country Music to the Vietnam War and more.

In the opening of the film, Burns runs a quote from Walt Whitman about the sport:

Well — it’s our game; that’s the chief fact in connection with it; America’s game; it has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere; it belongs as much to our institutions; fits into them as significantly as our Constitution’s laws; is just as important in the sum total of our historic life.

The classic fields are also shown, from the Fenway, Wrigley to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, NY where the Trolley Dodgers, or just the Dodgers, were a New York team, not a Los Angeles one.

The team left in the mid fifties to head west, leaving behind heartbroken fans.

Burns divided his epic baseball story into nine chronological chapters, or innings, and wrote that he “insisted as much as possible that the past speak for itself through contemporaneous photographs, drawings, paintings, lithographs, newsreels, and chorus of first-person voices read by distinguished actors and writers.”

In the doc, Burns dissected the mechanics and the artistry of baseball with cameras that ran at 500 frames a second (instead of 24); plus he interviewed over 90 writers, historians, fans, players and managers.

He called upon twenty-one scholars and had dozens of film editors working with him as they had the archives of the National Baseball Hall of Fame for reference too.

Burn’s field producers headed to Iowa, West Texas, South Carolina, and one of the oldest institutions in Boston called the Fens.

Baseball is also a hard look at the conflict between labor and management underscored by the baseball sotted culture and even American advertising in this boy’s club that saw women pop up during the war years in leagues that drew many to watch the national sport.

Of this, Burns said:

“The game is a repository of age-old American verities, of standards against which we continually measure ourselves, and yet at the same time a mirror of the present moment in our modern culture — including all of our most contemporary failings.

Burns shared the quote by Jacques Barzun:

“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIjCo6d1g9I

Make sure to head to the Baseball show page.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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