Reviewing Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel Rick Ankiel episode airing tonight:

Tonight, ‘Rick Ankiel and the Yips’ will be airing on HBO, and we at Cardsblog were fortunate to have the chance to review the episode prior to its airing. After watching the episode, here are my thoughts:

Ankiel’s story is one that every sports fan, Cardinals or not, should know about.

I had heard of the Yips before, but never knew what it really entailed until watching this episode. Hearing Ankiel’s account of what the experience was like for him gave me more empathy and understanding for him and others in similar situations.

Ankiel’s resilience is inspiring

For people that aren’t aware of Ankiel’s story, I won’t spoil it here, but the way that he handled his situation and the perseverance that he had is inspiring. I still can’t believe how he responded to the Yips, and it’s a lesson for sports players, fans, and all of us that when we are knocked down the best thing we can do is get right back up.

Tony La Russa

The episode also brought back good memories of Tony La Russa. It had been a while since I had heard La Russa’s name, and hearing his account during the episode about Ankiel’s situation brought back both good memories and gave me more insight into the type of manager that La Russa was during his time with the Cardinals. The support that he gave Ankiel during this time is a large reason that Ankiel was able to accomplish what he did.


My biggest critique of the episode was that I wish I could have learned more about Ankiel’s story. I understand the show is under a time constraint and HBO covered the primary information, but I definitely spent some time on Google after watching to learn more about it. (Disclaimer that you might want to do the same).

Our review

Overall, I’d recommend watching this episode. It was insightful, interesting and brought up an entirely new idea to me about the mental side of being a baseball player. HBO was able to paint the picture of a compelling story and support it with firsthand accounts from Ankiel, his mom, La Russa, and others. Hearing their thoughts and opinions complemented the story quite nicely.