If you know what the title of this blog refers to, then you know that I am a lifelong hardcore fan of the Chicago White Sox Major League baseball team. One thing that all White Sox fans have in common is an eternal chip on the shoulder--we Sox followers are convinced that the team has never gotten, or ever will get, the appreciation, respect, and attention that it deserves.
That's what makes LAST COMISKEY (produced and directed by Matt Flesch) such a wonderful program. It's a three-part YouTube documentary on the 1990 White Sox season, and it is unapologetically biased toward the franchise and its fans.
The 1990 Chicago White Sox were not a championship team--they didn't even make the playoffs. But the 1990 season was one of the most notable and dramatic in White Sox history. It was the last season the team would play in venerable Comiskey Park, and it was a season that saw the Sox go beyond low expectations and challenge the defending champion Oakland Athletics for supremacy in the Western Division of the American League.
The scrappy Sox of 1990 didn't have overwhelming stats, or a roster filled with All-Stars--their most famous player was 42 year old veteran catcher Carlton Fisk. The team only hit a total of 106 home runs (their leading power hitter was Fisk, with only 18). But they played a brand of baseball that focused on "Doin' the Little Things" (the team's slogan for that year). The team also had budding young stars Robin Ventura, Jack McDowell, Ozzie Guillen, Sammy Sosa, and Frank Thomas, who made his Major League debut that season.
The exciting division chase between the White Sox and the Athletics coincided with the season-long celebration of the original Comiskey Park, a legendary ball yard that sadly didn't get its proper respect until it was getting ready to be torn down.
LAST COMISKEY covers all of this in spectacular and entertaining fashion, by featuring talks with Sox players, team & stadium employees, fans, and local journalists who covered what went on in the 1990 season. The series gives a "regular guy" view of what happened with the White Sox in 1990, along with recreating the sights, sounds, and ambiance of Old Comiskey Park.
The 1990 White Sox season wound up ushering in a mini-era of success for the franchise on and off the field. With a new ballpark, trendy new uniforms, a winning team, and the acquisition of legend Bo Jackson, the White Sox started to get national attention, until the 1994 players strike brought all the momentum to a crashing halt. But that's another story--one, hopefully, that the makers of LAST COMISKEY might consider looking at in the future.
Despite its "unofficial" status, LAST COMISKEY can hold its own with anything produced by MLB Network. It's filled with rare photos and footage, and plenty of fascinating stories from its participants. In total the three-part series runs around two hours.
LAST COMISKEY was made by White Sox fans, for White Sox fans, but I'm sure anyone interested in baseball will enjoy it. The rare footage alone makes it worthy for baseball buffs, and those who were around following MLB in 1990 will certainly have reason to watch it.
It's fitting--and ironic--that LAST COMISKEY is debuting right before the 2023 MLB season, since this year MLB has instigated a series of rules designed to move the sport away from its 21st Century obsession with home runs and strikeouts. Essentially, MLB is trying to bring back a style of play that the 1990 White Sox were very proficient at. Unfortunately, no one can bring back Old Comiskey Park, or what it felt like to watch the young 1990 White Sox and be excited about the team's future. LAST COMISKEY happens to be the closest approximation to bringing that time and atmosphere back. The only complaint I have about LAST COMISKEY is that I never wanted it to end.
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