Today at 8 p.m. one of baseball’s most cinematic teams will see their story told on screen.
The four-part ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Once Upon a Time in Queens” directed by Nick Davis, tells the story of the World Series champion 1986 Mets. With such massive personalities, the surrounding events of New York City in the ‘80s and the intricate history of the Mets all intertwined here, the director believed this is a film that transcends sports.
“This isn’t just for Mets fans,” Davis, a Manhattan native, explicated. “This isn’t just for baseball fans. It’s for anyone who’s interested in character and story. As it was happening, Mets fans knew, ‘This is really big. Nothing like this has ever happened before.’ In ‘83 it was like the Beatles in Hamburg. Then you get deeper into it, it’s like, ‘Okay! Sgt. Pepper! Here we go.’”
The story needed to be told in four separate segments because of how much of the ‘86 team was affected by things that came before and after Mookie Wilson’s grounder scooted between Bill Buckner’s legs. From Nelson Doubleday Jr. buying the Mets in 1980 — and hiring Frank Cashen as his general manager — to Cashen drafting Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, trading for Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter, and picking Davey Johnson as the man to manage this simmering cauldron, several things had to fall into place for the ‘86 team to grab the league by its throat.