Once Upon a Time in Queens
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Run Time: 3 hours & 21 minutes
Reviewed By: Edwina
“They were one of the most dominating, infamous, magical teams of all time. A team that as much as any in memory, captured the spirit and the ethos of the time and city in which they played. Ultimately, the 1986 Mets were an unforgettable story, one told in colorful, entertaining, and unvarnished fashion in this four-part 30 for 30 documentary series from ESPN Films.“
Once Upon a Time in Queens is ESPN’s four part 30 for 30 docuseries produced by Jimmy Kimmel (Kimmelot Productions) about the 1986 World Series winning New York Mets. This one had been saved on the DVR for quite some time, so on the latest snow day, my husband and I decided to finally watch it. We’re a baseball family and even though we’re die hard Phillies fans, this was an enjoyable and interesting trek through the history of the Mets, specifically, the 1986 winning team and how they ultimately got to that position. The background information was good about the history of the Mets, the culture, the vibe surrounding the New York scene, and what was happening at the time this team took over the sports scene. Various journalists, musicians, and media personalities added commentary throughout the filming.
The 1986 Team was larger than life and came around at the time where sports began to be looked at as “entertainment.” They surrounded themselves with beautiful women, money, drugs, and plenty of controversy. They were crazy, wild, and entitled. They took New York by storm! The more they won, the cockier they got and when you hear some of the stories, it’s hard to believe that these experiences actually took place. Women flocked to them and were okay with being used by them. It was a party wherever they went.
Many of the men from the team, participated in this series (Gooden, Strawberry, Dykstra, and Hernandez… to name a few) and it was interesting to hear them speak about relationships with their fathers and many of the traumas they had experienced as young children. Also, various baseball controversies that were erupting with racism and pitchers “scuffing the ball.” Fans were storming the fields and fist fights seemed to be a common occurrence.
I enjoyed watching this series. I feel like I learned a lot, especially about the personal side of some of the players’ stories. It’s hard to believe, especially in the age of #MeToo that any of these behaviors were even tolerated by owners and coaches. Thank goodness things have changed! My main criticism would be that it was a little too long. There were four one hour segments. It probably could have all been said just as well in less time. However, I do recommend watching, especially if you’re a baseball fan.