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Baseball’s Greatest Games DVD Review

“Baseball’s Greatest Games” is the best baseball centric DVD set of 2011.

If the riveting 2011 MLB playoffs and World Series got you back into baseball, the 10 game/11 disc set titled “Baseball’s Greatest Games” just might be what you are looking for.

The set kicks off with the 1960 World Series Game 7 between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates. As with any game 7, it’s an exciting one to watch because you never know what will happen. Looking at the match-up, one would think that NY would easily win as the team included legends like Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, and pitcher Whitey Ford. However, the Pirates were not about to go down without a fight. At the bottom of the ninth, the game was tied 9-9 with the Pirates batting. Bill Mazeroski steps up to bat and manages to smash a homerun to win the World Series. Of course, the crowd went wild and rightfully so as it was an incredible moment for baseball.

The second game in order is the 1975 World Series Game 6 with the Cincinatti Reds facing off against the Boston Red Sox. This was an intense extra inning affair that was also decided by a single homerun. In this case, it was Red Sox’s Carlton Fisk who blasted an impressive homer into the foul post to force a game 7 (which the Red Sox actually lost).

The May 17, 1979 game between Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs was not a playoff game, but an equally important game in baseball history. Not only was this just fun, unpredictable baseball, but it was one of the most impressive displays of batting you’re likely to ever see. The game had a total of 45 runs and 50 hits by stars like Bill Buckner, Mike Schmidt, and Bob Boone. In the end, the Phillies managed to win 23-22 in the tenth inning, but really, the result wasn’t what made it such a memorable regular season game.

If you’re looking for another playoff game that ends with a homer, you needn’t look any further than the 1985 NLCS Game 5 between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. In this classic game, the ever popular Ozzie Smith becomes the hero of the game as he knocks in a homerun to give the Cardinals a 3-2 victory.

The 1986 World Series Game 6 between Boston Red Sox and New York Mets might be the most dramatic finish on this set. Going into game 6, the Red Sox led the series 3-with a chance to win it all in game 6. With a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the tenth, things looked grim for the Mets. Miraculously, the Mets somehow tie it up before winning with a series changing single by Mookie Wilson. The grounder by Wilson should have easily been an out, but instead it rolls past Bill Buckner. With this win, the Mets not only tied up the series 3-3, but went on to win the World Series. It’s a great victory and a great story for sure (especially for Mets fans).

Next on the set is the 1991 World Series Game 7 with the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves. In game 7, you don’t often see incredible pitching duels, but that is exactly what happened in this game with the Braves John Smoltz and the Twins Jack Morris. Smoltz pitched a great game, but the real winner here is Morris’s 10 inning shut out. To have a shut out in a game 7 is a huge feat to be sure. Gene Larkin’s series winning single is also unquestionably a great moment in Twins history as well. Note: This game can also be seen on the recently released Minnesota Twins 1991 World Series Collector’s Edition DVD Set

After the heartbreaking World Series lost in 1991, the Braves managed to get a triumphant win in the 1992 NLCS Game 7 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates appeared to be in control of game 7 as they were up 2-0 going into the bottom of the ninth. With 2 outs, bases loaded, and a score of 2-1, Francisco Cabrera is brought in as a pinch hitter. The result? Like something out of a inspirational sports movie. Cabrera gets a base hit allowing David Justice to tie the game 2-2. Sid Beam makes a run to homeplate and slides in to get the winning run. You couldn’t ask for a better ending. The only downside to this story is that the Braves were defeated in the 1992 World Series for the second consecutive year. Luckily, they didn’t have to wait long to win it all as they finally got their long awaited World Series victory in ’95.

The 1993 World Series Game 6 with the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays was yet another ninth inning thriller. The Phillies were up 6-5 going in the bottom of the ninth. With the magic of baseball stars Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor and Joe Carter’s  homerun, the Blue Jays won the game and the series (a back to back World Series win to be exact). This game is proof positive that you can never say it’s over in baseball until it is truly over.

Even though I am not a fan of either team, the 2003 ALCS Game 7 between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox is an epic rivalry game in which the Yankees Aaron Boone smacked a homer in the bottom of the eleventh to lead the Yankees to the World Series. While the Red Sox curse was never more evident, they did manage to finally win the World Series in 2004 which leads to the next and last game on this set…

Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS was a rematch of the 2003 ALCS. This time, however, the Red Sox got their revenge against the Yankees. After being down 3-0 in the series to the Yanks, the Red Sox defied the odds to roll to 4 straight victories. Game 4 started their run in dramatic fashion thanks to a 12 inning affair in which Big Papi himself (David Ortiz) hit a walk-off 2 run homerun to win the game.

Summary: Are these 10 games truly baseball’s greatest games? While there’s no denying that all of these games are prime examples of baseball at its best, I do feel that there were a few omissions such as the 16 inning NLCS Game 6 thriller in 1986 between the Mets and the Astros, the A’s record breaking 20th straight victory in 2002, and most recently, the shocking 2011 World Series game 6 between the Rangers and Cardinals. Perhaps these games can be included in a future second volume?

Video/Audio:

All of the games are presented in fullscreen except for the 2004 Sox/Yankees game which is in widescreen. The picture quality is all over the map. The 1960 game in B&W is littered with scratches and lines, the 1975 game has faded colors, while the 80’s and onwards games look solid overall. Naturally, the 2004 game looks the best.

The Dolby Digital Stereo varies by decade. For instance, the game from 1960 has a low quality while the most recent game from 2004 sounds the best. Really though, this is the best these games are going to sound unless unless they are remastered or put on Blu-ray someday.

Extras:

* Radio play-by-play for most of the games.

* The bonus disc features a great collection of short interviews with players, coaches, announcers, and so forth about each of the ten games featured in this set. The list of the participants include: Hal Bodley, Whitey Ford, Bill Mazeroski, Al Oliver, Professor Rob Ruck, Chuck Tanner, Darrek Chaney, Carlton Fisk, George Foster, Fred Lynn, Pete Rose, Larry Bowa, Tug McGraw, Vince Coleman, Whitey Herzog, Ozzie Smith, Bill Buckner, Gary Carter, Bob Costas, Ray Knight, Bobby Cox (twice), Leo Mazzone, Jack Morris, Kirby Puckett, John Smoltz, Sid Bream, Terry Pendleton, Joe Carter, Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor, John Olerud, Dave Stewart, Aaron Boone, Rudy Guiliani, Kevin Millar (twice), Andy Pettitte, Joe Torre, David Wells, Don Zimmer, Terry Francona, Michael Kay, and David Ortiz. Highlights include hearing Mazeroski’s thoughts on his homerun, Bob Costas’ experiences in broadcasting the 1986 World Series game 6, Bill Buckner chatting about his missed chance to grab the ball, and Joe Carter taking about his unforgettable homerun.

November 17, 2011 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , , ,

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