The History of the Seattle Mariners

The History of the Seattle Mariners

What has always made Bois such a special artist is that he understands numbers on a stat sheet as not merely the afterimage of sports narrative, something residual and entirely impressionistic. They ARE the narrative, or at least they can be. What makes this doc so brilliant, so compelling, so deeply moving is all in the numbers, how Bois and Rubenstein paper the walls of their digital space with graphs and lines and text, drawing out stories and characters in a way that, for a baseball neophyte like me, feels sort of like translating an alien language. The way they use newspaper clippings, too, is so unlike other sports documentaries. Rather than illustrating big story beats, they more often pick out tiny details and strange anecdotes, to color in characters more than anything else. (On that note, if there's a flaw here, it's that the series leans too heavily on your pre-existing knowledge of the people involved.) The best compliment I can pay Bois and Rubenstein is that this is the first time in my life I've been at all interested in baseball.

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