There's a sports melodrama unfolding in Los Angeles right now that's so epically sordid, so potentially monumental that I'm half surprised ESPN hasn't already rebranded its "30 for 30" series as "Thirtysomething for Thirtysomething" just to have the chance to chronicle it with a feature-length documentary. It's a story of greed, selfishness, corruption and the downfall of a once dominant superpower—the kind of thing that could be directed by Charles Ferguson and aptly titled Inside Job or No End In Sight. It's the story of the "Dodger Divorce"—the dissolution of the marriage between Frank and Jamie McCourt, for now the co-owners of the Dodgers, whose custody battle for the team has resulted in the public disclosure of their lavish spending at a time when they are also raising the ticket prices of lower-income fans. Fernando Nation, the latest actual entry in the ESPN Films documentary series, isn't about the "Dodger Divorce" in any specific respect, but in a way it's an unintentional prologue to it. Because in Cruz Angeles' profile of the influential career of Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, we witness the birth of the very fan base that might not survive the monetary demands of the current regime. To understand what might be lost in the decade ahead, you must understand what came to be three decades ago. You must understand "Fernandomania."
To read the rest of the review at The Coolerhere.