Documentary film makers Morgan Spurlock and Mike Tollin are listed among those who’ll debut new sports-related films on ESPN as the desert portion to the “30 For 30” series starting on Sept. 27 at 5 p.m.
A new film will debut on Tuesday nights during the fall. The lineup:
Sept. 27: “Catching Hell” (Alex Gibney/Gary Cohen): The two-hour production focuses on Steve Bartman and Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Gibney relates the scapegoat compulsion to his own frustration as a Red Sox fan when Bill Buckner was similarly singled out for letting a fateful ground ball go through his legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Gibney engages Buckner and his story as a means of exploring what has kept Bartman so silent despite highly lucrative offers to tell his side of the story.
Oct 4: “Rene” (Eric Drath): It’s 90 minutes of Renee Richards and her battle to enter the 1977 U.S. Open as the first transgender tennis player. Simultaneously, it follows her today as she struggles to cope with a life of contradictions and personal conflict.
Oct. 11: “The Dotted Line” (Morgan Spurlock/Jeremy Chilnick): A look at what it takes to be a big-time agent in the competitive world of major league sports. Agents Peter Greenberg and Eugene Lee are profiled along with their clients New York Mets’ pitcher Johan Santana (Greenberg’s) and NFL hopefuls Jacquian Williams and Robert Hughes (Lee’s).
Oct. 18: “Unguarded” (Jonathan Hock/Philip Aromando): Chris Herren, Fall River, Massachusetts’ high school basketball superstar, played for Boston University, for Jerry Tarkanian’s Fresno State team, bounced around the NBA (once playing for his Celtics) and around the globe. He failed drug tests wherever he played. Ultimately, he found redemption through the game, but only after it led him down a path of alcohol and drug addiction that nearly killed him.
Oct. 25: “The Real Rocky” (Jeff Feuerzeig/Mike Tollin): Chuck Wepner is a liquor salesman from Bayonne, N.J. who drives a Cadillac with “Champ” vanity plates. Is he the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky”? Yup.
Nov. 1: “Charismatic: (Steve Michaels/Jonathan Koch): In June of 1999 an unlikely colt named Charismatic, with down and out jockey Chris Antley aboard, headed down the stretch at the Belmont Stakes, just seconds away from becoming the first Triple Crown winner in nearly 21 years.
Nov. 8: “Roll Tide/War Eagle” (Martin Khodabakhshian): With two Heisman trophies, two national championships and one crazed fan, the biggest rivalry in college sports, Auburn vs. Alabama, has reached new heights in the last two years.