With three World Series victories since 2004, the notion of a curse is a distant memory for most Boston Red Sox fans. But long before the likes of Papi, Pedro and Manny, and before the heartbreak of 1986 and the indelible image of Fisk waving the ball fair, Red Sox Nation as we know it began 50 years ago. The team hadn't had a winning season in nearly a decade and hadn't won a pennant since 1946. But in 1967, 27-year-old Carl Yastrzemski, already a star, was becoming an icon right in front of fans' eyes, ace Jim Lonborg was having a season for the ages, and under rookie manager Dick Williams, the Red Sox were part of one of the greatest pennant races the game of baseball has ever known. Although the team fell one game short in a dramatic seven game World Series, the impact of the "Impossible Dream" season helped shape the experience that Red Sox fans enjoy today.
The Impossible Dream: Red Sox Nation Begins includes interviews with Yastrzemski and fellow members of the 1967 team, including Mike Andrews, Rico Petrocelli, Jim Lonborg, Ken "Hawk" Harrelson and Reggie Smith. Connections to the Red Sox past and present are also featured, with former general manager Theo Epstein, TV announcer Jerry Remy and late manager Dick Williams' son, Rick, as well as commentary from many well-known members of the media who grew up watching the 1967 team, including Peter Gammons, Bob Ryan, Dan Shaughnessy, Mike Barnicle. Well-known Massachusetts natives including former MLB pitcher and current broadcaster Ron Darling, author Stephen King and U.S. Olympic gold medal winner Mike Eruzione are also featured throughout. Narrated by actor and Boston native John Slattery, The Impossible Dream: Red Sox Nation Begins premieres on MLB Network on Sunday, July 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
On Wednesday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET, The Dynasty That Almost Was tells the story of the 1990's Cleveland Indians teams that electrified baseball and their hometown. After years of sports disappointments in Cleveland, the film highlights how the team came alive in the 1990's and turned around the perception of the city. With the opening of Jacobs Field in 1994 and a star-studded lineup featuring the likes of Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Carlos Baerga, Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel, the Indians were one of the most explosive offensive ball clubs ever assembled. They won six of seven division titles, sold out a then-Major League record 455 straight home games and went to the World Series twice. They were confident, they didn't care what other teams thought of them, and the city of Cleveland loved them.
Narrated by "Major League" star Corbin Bernsen, The Dynasty That Almost Was includes new interviews with former members of both the 1995 and 1997 teams, including Baerga, Lofton, Thome, Vizquel, Sandy Alomar Jr., Jose Mesa, Jaret Wright, Orel Hershiser, Charles Nagy, Chad Ogea and Brian Anderson. Featured throughout the 90-minute film are interviews offering a behind-the-scenes perspective on the Indians' run from former front office executives John Hart, Dan O'Dowd and Mark Shapiro, former manager Mike Hargrove, longtime Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton, and hitting coach Charlie Manuel.
Launched in January 2015, MLB Network Presents has produced programs covering many subjects across baseball, including The Story of Billy Bean and the recent Mike Trout: Millville to MVP, as well as Holy Cow! The Story of Harry Caray, The Bird, The Colorful Montreal Expos and The Nasty Boys: The 1990 Cincinnati Reds.