After weeks of promotion and hype, NBC Sports Philadelphia aired Sunday night its highly anticipated look back at the 2008 Phillies, entitled “World Champions: The Story of the ’08 Phillies.”
As the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 Phillies’ triumph approaches, now seems like the perfect time to chronicle the team that delivered the city of Philadelphia its first major professional sports championship in 25 years. With a natural narrative arc provided by a championship season backdrop that is supported by a beloved cast of eclectic characters given a decade’s time to grow, change, reflect, and gain perspective on their tremendous accomplishments, the program had what I felt were the perfect contextual ingredients for compelling storytelling.
What’s more, I found it encouraging that NBC Sports Philadelphia, a network that has undergone significant changes in personnel and programming in recent years, committed to such an ambitious project. I firmly believe this is the precise type of programming the network should both dedicate itself to and feature. Philadelphia sports fans want to immerse themselves in their teams and feel a connection to the players they come to love (or loathe). Insightful, smart, and anecdotal documentary-style television provides that opportunity, plus it’s a welcomed deviation from the mindless and manufactured quick-hit debate programming that plagues modern sports television.
And that’s why I was a bit underwhelmed by what I watched last night. It felt under-budgeted, underdeveloped, and incomplete.