Bill Buckner: ESPN's "Catching Hell" Depicts Horrifying Journey Caused By Media

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2011

BOSTON - APRIL 08:  Former Boston Red Sox player Bill Buckner throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the MLB baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers on April 8, 2008 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Brian Snyder-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

Bill Buckner can never get away from it.

Twenty-five years after the worst moment of his life, people are still writing, reading, watching and talking about that nightmare of a night.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s documentary Catching Hell chronicles the painful aftermath of Buckner’s infamous 1986 gaffe and the 2003 incident involving Steve Bartman, aka public enemy No. 1 for the Chicago Cubs tortured fan base.

Gibney titled the two-hour documentary Catching Hell because life since the incidents has been nothing short of horrific.

The constant media attention affected Buckner in his personal life, it made the subconscious of Boston, and America in general believe it was all one man’s fault. The documentary does a great job of showing how it was the media that failed to look at any other of the other factors that went into the infamous Game Six.

Buckner said it was incredibly difficult for him to forgive the media “for what they put me and my family through.”

The constant attention paid to the gaffe by the newspapers, both local and nationally, was an everyday reminder that Buckner was the reason the Mets ended up winning the World Series.

Luckily for Buckner, the Red Sox have won two championships in the last decade and the fans have learned to accept their former villain. He even threw out the first pitch to kickoff the 2008 season, a year after their second championship in four years.

Recently he appeared on an episode of HBO’s hit show Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he ended up catching a baby that had been stuck in a high-rise building that was on fire.

The credits roll as Buckner receives a standing ovation.

Finally, all of the demons brought about by his fans and the media have been extinguished, but documentaries like this one remind us of how influential the media can be.  

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