The Ron Shelton (former minor league baseball player and the director of White Men Can’t Jump, Tin Cup, and Bull Durham) documentary about Michael Jordan’s first retirement from the NBA to try his mitt at baseball aired for the first time tonight. I’ve seen a few of these ESPN documentaries, and this has been my favorite. Probably because it was about Michael Jordan. You see how that works.
I did learn some new information from the show as well. First up, I’d never heard that Jordan’s baseball swing had improved by the time he left the sport – to the point that Terry Francona actually thought he might have made the SHOW in a few years. Thank god that didn’t happen. I’d be writing some godawful baseball blog right now. I also didn’t realize that the sportswriter who viciously panned Jordan’s baseball efforts in the pages of Sports Illustrated was turned down by the magazine efforts when he tried to publish an article of contrition after visiting the Birmingham Barons’ and seeing the amount of progress Michael’s psychotic devotion to training had made him.
All things considered though a much more thorough and informative look at Jordan’s baseball adventure is the book “Rebound” by Bob Greene. Bob traveled with Jordan and the Barons for the season, and the book is primarily made up of first hand accounts and Jordan’s own thoughts. I would recommend the book without reservation. Other than David Halberstam’s “Playing for Keeps” it’s my favorite Jordan biography – even better than Greene’s first, more celebrated Jordan book, “Hang Time.” So I guess the crux of my review of “Jordan Rides the Bus” would have to be: Read a Book!