Once Upon a Time in Queens, a 30 for 30 documentary about the 1986 New York Mets, premieres on ESPN September 14. Nick Davis directed the film, which tells the story of “one of the most dominating, infamous and magical teams of all-time and their incredible season in one of the greatest cities in the world.”
Featuring interviews with former players Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Mookie Wilson, Lenny Dykstra and Kevin Mitchell, among others, the film shows the team in the late 1970s, when the Mets were dreadful and New York City was nearly bankrupt. “But as the grime and hopelessness that defined the city gave way to the high-flying, ‘greed is good’ rise of the 1980s, the Mets emerged, too,” said ESPN. “And the transformations – of the city, and the ballclub – ran in parallel paths in every which way imaginable. The city may have had a glamorous sheen, but dirt and danger were still everywhere. The Mets may have been full of swagger and star power, but demons and disaster always loomed.”
ESPN shows the four-part film September 14 and 15.
“They were wildly talented, and equally entertaining,” said Davis. “They were like a bunch of raffish rogues who come together for one great score, like the characters in a heist movie. Love them or hate them, you could not avoid the 1986 Mets, and for one year, they blazed like a comet across the New York City landscape, the trail still visible all these years later.”
The project is executive produced by Jimmy Kimmel, Sal “Cousin Sal” Iacono, Kimmelot’s Scott Lonker, ITV America’s David George and MLB’s Nick Trotta.
“The characters and events captured in this documentary are so outlandish it is hard to believe this documentary isn’t a work of ‘80s-era fiction,” said Kimmel. “Whether you are a New Yorker, a Mets fan or even a fan of baseball makes no difference. This is the definitive, must-see story of a team and a time whose antics and even existence now seem unimaginable.”
The ‘86 Mets are the subject of the Jeff Pearlman book The Bad Guys Won.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.