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'Baseball' moves to '10th Inning'

I just watched the second, two-hour episode of Ken Burns' update to his 1994 "Baseball" documentary - "The 10th Inning" - set to air on PBS Sept. 28 and 29.

Burns wisely chose Barry Bonds as the thread tying together the 16 years covered by the sequel, and as in Part I the director does not shy away from the subject of steroids.

There is some quality chatter from talking heads about the heartbreak and joy of the Red Sox' 2003 and 2004 ALCS adventures - but many of us still haven't gotten over all of the syrupy prose spilled over those events back when they first occurred.

Which leads back to the central problem with the entire four hours: Burns does his usual quality job of piecing together video, still images, interviews and music to tell his stories.

But for any avid fan over 25 who has followed baseball closely over the past 16 years, the vast majority of this material will serve as a broad-strokes overview/review.

The trick to engaging sports fans with a documentary covering familiar events from recent times is to unearth previously little-known nuggets and insights - ones more likely to come from the athletes involved than writers and journalists musing about the larger meaning of it all.

The NFL Network's "America's Game" series has done a brilliant job with that, even for recent Super Bowls.

Burns' sequel rarely achieves that standard.

New York Sports