30 for 30: Season 1, Episode 27

Fernando Nation (26 Oct. 2010)

TV Episode  -  Documentary | Biography | Sport
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"The Natural is supposed to be a blue-eyed boy who teethed on a 36-ounce Louisville Slugger. He should run like the wind and throw boysenberries through brick. He should come from ... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Mike Brito ...
Himself (as Stan Brooks)
Al Campanis ...
Himself (archive footage)
Henry Cisneros ...
Don Drysdale ...
Himself (archive footage)
Al Ferrara ...
Paul Haddad ...
Orel Hershiser ...
Stu Nahan ...
Himself (archive footage)
Mike Scioscia ...
Himself (voice) (archive footage)


"The Natural is supposed to be a blue-eyed boy who teethed on a 36-ounce Louisville Slugger. He should run like the wind and throw boysenberries through brick. He should come from California." Steve Wulf, Sports Illustrated, 1981. So how was it that a pudgy 19-year-old Mexican left-handed pitcher from a remote village in the Sonoran desert, unable to speak a word of English, could sell out stadiums across America and become a rock star overnight? In Fernando Nation, Mexican-born and Los Angeles-raised director Cruz Angeles traces the history of a community that was torn apart when Dodger Stadium was built in Chavez Ravine and then revitalized by one of the most captivating pitching phenoms baseball has ever seen. Nicknamed "El Toro" by his fans, Fernando Valenzuela ignited a fire that spread from LA to New York -- and beyond. He vaulted himself onto the prime-time stage and proved with his signature look to the heavens and killer screwball that the American dream was not reserved for ... Written by ESPN Films

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26 October 2010 (USA)  »

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Interesting Look at the Start of the Dodgers
4 November 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

30 for 30: Fernando Nation (2010)

*** (out of 4)

The rise of Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela is cover in this episode of ESPN's series. We take a look at how Fernando got playing the sport and we learn about when he finally began to dream about becoming a pitcher. The documentary covers his now legendary 1981 rookie series, which included him winning his first eight starts plus a Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and a World Series title. As far as documentaries go this one here is pretty good as those unfamiliar with Valenzuela and what he accomplished will certainly get all the details. Those unfamiliar with him are going to get a lot of information but I think the majority of people who watch SportsCenter are already going to know all the stories told here so on that level there's really nothing new in terms of the pitcher. We see all of his awards and we learn about his no-hitter as well as him finally being released by the Dodgers. The most interesting aspect of this documentary happens at the start when we learn about the Mexican population in L.A. before the Dodgers came to town. We see how many were thrown out of their homes and into the streets when the city decided to build the baseball stadium where they were living. We hear some interesting stories from some Mexican people who turned their backs on baseball because of these events only to be drawn back by Fernando. These stories are certainly the most interesting in the film but overall this is a good entry in the series and one worth watching.

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