Baseball is on hold, along with other sports, as the coronavirus pandemic dominates. But PBS is streaming the Ken Burns documentary series Baseball for free.
There are nine episodes, or “Innings,” in the Burns series, which came out in 1994. “The story of Baseball is the story of America,” said PBS. “It is an epic overflowing with heroes and hopefuls, scoundrels and screwballs. It is a saga spanning the quest for racial justice, the clash of labor and management, the transformation of popular culture, and the unfolding of the national pastime.”
Baseball starts in the 1840s. In the first Inning, Burns refutes the “myth,” in PBS’ words, that Abner Doubleday invented the game in Cooperstown and traces baseball’s true roots.
“The US in the United States actually means us,” said Burns. “We’ve been through hugely difficult times before and we’ve come through because we helped one another. And we’ve learned that the best way to triumph over hardship is to come together as a country.
“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,” he continued. “That’s why in the absence of many of our favorite sports I’ve asked PBS--that’s the Public Broadcasting Service--to stream my film about America’s pastime, for free, at pbs.org and all PBS digital platforms.
“Play ball,” Burns concluded.
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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.