ESPN hit it big last year during the pandemic when the long-rumored “The Last Dance” documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty premiered and captured quite a bit of attention. The ESPN Films unit had been going strong with some excellent work for years since the first “30 for 30” premiered, but “Last Dance” really seemed to generate even more interest in the genre.
So in 2022, we’re going to get another extended documentary, this time with the focus on a Yankees legend of some notoriety around these parts: Derek Jeter. Directed by Randy Wilkins — who also happens to be a great Twitter follow — this will be a six-episode series and will hopefully provide some new angles on his well-covered career. There’s some hope for that, as Wilkins knows what he’s doing, and these lines from the press release (and Wilkins’ own account), provide some intrigue:
Derek Jeter’s arrival with the New York Yankees helped transform a struggling franchise into a storied dynasty, all within a time of great change in New York City.
Emmy-winning director Randy Wilkins (“86-32,” “Docket 32357,” “Dear…”) will tell the story of Jeter’s professional and personal triumphs and challenges. The documentary series will use Jeter’s journey as a vessel to tell a larger cultural story that explores race, family, community, rivalries and more. The heartbeat of the project is candid access to the man who helped restore shine to a team, a city, and a culture.
I never thought I would be given the responsibility to tell Derek's story. I take great pride in this. I won't get too deep into this now, but trust me, this will not be a baseball highlight package. We're going to tell a robust story that extends beyond the field.— Randy (@pamsson) May 18, 2021
I’m absolutely going to watch this documentary from start to finish many times regardless because that dude was great (#analysis), but perhaps this will be something more. Looking forward to it, though I must demand that we get 15 second about Derek Jeter’s thoughts inspiring this vital moment from 2009, shortly before he was intentionally walked so that Francisco Rodriguez could face Mariano Rivera: