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Journalism Showcase: “E60” Explains How Former Iran Hostage Reconnected With His Family At Mets Games

"The center of the piece is the idea of family and how important family is, and for Barry, I feel like that’s what got him through the Iran crisis."

After being held captive for 444 days in Iran, Barry Rosen and 51 other U.S. Embassy colleagues were released minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President on Jan. 20, 1981.

Rosen returned to a country that called him a hero but to a family that no longer knew him. It was only after Major League Baseball gave the hostages the gift of a lifetime pass that Rosen was able to reconnect with his children at New York Mets games.

“Ticket Home,” a new E60 reported by Jeremy Schaap and edited by Warren Wolcott, debuts Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN+. Producer Simon Baumgart spoke with Front Row:

How did this story come about?
Jeremy worked on a story in 2006 on three of the hostages who received the lifetime pass and what it meant to them. With the 40th anniversary being in 2021, Jeremy had the idea to focus on one of them, who had a rather exceptional story.

The center of the piece is the idea of family and how important family is, and for Barry, I feel like that’s what got him through the Iran crisis. The thought of not coming home to his two very young children and his wife was something he grappled with throughout his experience, and the gift that baseball gave him really did bring that family together.

E60 Simon Baumgart on “Ticket Home” subject Barry Rosen

We went to New York in early 2020 and had lunch with Barry to talk about an E60 treatment of his story, and he was up for it. That was before COVID. We were able to accomplish the main interviews in late 2020, while practicing proper COVID safety protocols, but we really wanted to capture Barry going to a game with his kids.

Because of the precautions Major League Baseball and the Mets were taking at the time, and the fact that Barry and his wife are older, we had to wait until going to a game was deemed safe. We ended up being able to film that event in June, and his kids joined us with their families. Barry and his family were very gracious and accommodating.

What do you hope viewers take away from this story?
The center of the piece is the idea of family and how important family is, and for Barry, I feel like that’s what got him through the Iran crisis. The thought of not coming home to his two very young children and his wife was something he grappled with throughout his experience, and the gift that baseball gave him really did bring that family together.

And there is the sense of history. I don’t think a lot of younger people know about the Iran hostage crisis and how it impacts the world today, and the sacrifices those hostages made. I think baseball realized that and rewarded them, and the Rosens benefited greatly from that gift.

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