a very common theme, except when you
NEW YORK -- Former New York baseball stars Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden are forever linked in the publics mind, but not necessarily their own.That fitting line concludes ESPNs latest 30 for 30 documentary , Doc & Darryl, which examines their relationship. The film premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. EDT, two nights after the All-Star game.Both men symbolized the New York Mets mid-1980s resurgence, winning back-to-back Rookie of the Year awards. They had freakish talents: Strawberry to hit moon shot home runs and Dr. K Gooden to freeze batters with his fastball and curve. Drug abuse cut short both of their careers, and they eventually served time in the same jail, although not at the same time.Directors Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio wanted to see what sort of relationship the men had, and the heart of the film is a conversation held before cameras at a Queens, New York, diner, the same one where scenes from the movie Goodfellas were shot.Their body language and lack of eye contact betray a discomfort, reminiscent of get-togethers with friends who hadnt connected in years.The interview revealed that Strawberry had never asked Gooden why he missed the ticker tape parade celebrating the 1986 Mets championship, even though the outfielder had gone to Goodens house to give him a ride and hadnt found him. Similarly, Gooden had never talked to Strawberry about an incident where teammate Ray Knight approached Strawberry about rumors that one of the Mets two black superstars was involved in drugs. Knight confronted Strawberry, who said it wasnt him.Theres a connection and a love between them, Bonfiglio said. They bonded as teammates. But theyre not close. They never had the conversation that they had at the diner.The subject matter -- seemingly endless relapses, lost dreams and betrayals -- isnt particularly easy, either.Apatow, maker of comic films like Knocked Up, and Bonfiglio seem like odd teammates themselves. Apatow had tweeted praise about an ESPN documentary to a contact at the network once, who shot back a response wondering whether hed like to make one himself. He expressed interest in a piece on Gooden and Strawberry, if they could be persuaded to participate.Apatow once followed the Mets, but he found rooting for a team too nerve-racking and gave it up, just before their magical 1986 season.He had met Bonfiglio, a noted documentarian known for films on Metallica and Bo Jackson, when he interviewed Apatow for an episode of Sundances Iconoclasts series. Apatow asked him to collaborate for the ESPN film.While Apatow is known for inducing belly laughs on films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and This is 40, many people overlook his sensitivity, Bonfiglio said.It would be such a different film if I had done it myself, Bonfiglio said. We were in total synch with the vision, but hes so interested in how people behave and how they deal with the challenges of life.Apatow has seen plenty of people in show biz unable to handle sudden success. Its a very common theme, except when you are one of the greatest hitters and pitchers of all time while going through it.If youre in New York, people would get upset if you dont come through for the team, Apatow said. They dont care what your life is like, what your childhood was like and what youre struggling with. They just want results.The film shows how early the seeds of their abuse were planted, which may surprise some fans. Both men dealt with difficult dads. Strawberrys was abusive and alcoholic. Goodens dad was also alcoholic, and he drove his son relentlessly to achieve his own failed dreams. Both future stars drank and drugged in high school. Gooden recalls being rip-roaring drunk the first time he met Strawberry.Doc & Darryl is noteworthy, too, in not being a redemption tale. Both former stars are trying hard to stay clean, Strawberry with the help of r


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