A&E // 1996 // 865 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // March 14th, 2006
The five essential games that defined the beginning of a new era.
The main rooting interests in baseball have transitioned over the last decade from the American vs. National leagues to the Sox vs. the Yanks. And it's not like the two teams should be penalized for it. A few years ago, the Commissioner of baseball helped established a revenue sharing system, where the larger market (read: Boston and New York) teams would be penalized a sum of money (to be given to the smaller market teams like Minnesota and Pittsburgh) if they exceeded a certain amount of money spent on salary. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was (and still is) more than happy to exceed the salary cap, as long as he gets a winning ball club. As mortal enemies of the Yankees, the Red Sox almost feel genetically compelled to keep up with the Joneses (or Steinbrenners in this case), and the two teams routinely spend excessive sums of money for prized players, often outbidding each other in the process.
And after the run that teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves enjoyed in the early '90s, the Yankees returned to prominence with the emergence of key players like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera. Their blossoming, combined with the addition of players in big and small roles for the team under manager Joe Torre, helped reap many postseason triumphs over the last decade. Those who brought you the exhaustive Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series: Collector's Edition have given the same general treatment to the Yankees here, by showing key games in the Yankees postseason success from 1996 to 2001. The complete games (in their original broadcast format) are:
* Game 4, October 23, 1996. Yankees vs. Braves.
Perhaps the most intriguing or challenging of the Yankee wins, as it was their first World Series appearance in over a decade, facing a Braves team that was always a perennial favorite to appear or win the big title. Using recognizable names like Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and Wade Boggs, on the road in Atlanta, the Yankees came back from a 6-0 lead after five innings with three runs in the sixth and eighth innings. The comeback was realized when Jim Leyritz hit a key game-tying home run in the eighth. Two more Yankee runs helped cinch a key Yankees victory and eventual Series title two games later.
* Game 3, October 20, 1998. Yankees vs. Padres.
Playing against a team who hadn't been in the World Series since 1984 and a player of Hall of Fame caliber, the Yankees would seemingly appear to have problems against San Diego and its great hitter Tony Gwynn. But when you consider the Yankees steamrolled over the competition both in their league and over the Padres, who took an initial lead in this game, before five Yankee runs in two innings, keyed by two Scott Brosius home runs, sealed the deal.
* Game 3, October 26, 1999. Braves vs. Yankees.
Old foes meet again for the second time in three years. And the Yankees' bats were calm for most of this game (despite having a 2-0 lead in the Series), but they surged with late rallies in the seventh and eighth inning to tie the game, shortly before a game-winning home run by Chad Curtis, which eventually led to their second consecutive World Series sweep. Curtis refused to talk to postgame reporter Jim Gray for his earlier interviewing questions (which many thought to be abrasive) of embattled star Pete Rose during a larger baseball event several games back in Atlanta.
* Game 5, October 26, 2000. Yankees vs. Mets.
A series that many outside of the 212 area code didn't watch was somewhat one-sided and mutually hard fought, as the teams from New York battled in another tough game, one that was ultimately won with two well-earned runs in the top of the ninth, and the Mets' dismissal in the bottom of the ninth gave the Yanks a World Championship for the third time in a row and forth in five years.
* Game 4, October 31, 2001. Diamondbacks vs. Yankees.
The series held extra meaning for fans not only in New York, but around the world, as the Yankees brushed the dirt off of the September 11 attacks and played the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Series. They played to seven games, including two of which that were classics in Yankee Stadium in games 4 and 5. In Game 4, the Yankees were virtually shut down, until a late game-tying home run in the ninth inning, and Jeter's post-midnight game-winning home run earned him the nickname of "Mr. November."
But wait, there's more! You also get the World Series films for the Yankees' title years on 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. The films average a little over an hour in length each, and are your standard run of the mill look at how the team did on the road to glory. For the sake of convenience, the four years are broken down over two discs, plus there is some bonus footage on each disc. Highlights from the seasons include Gooden's no-hitter in 1996 and David Wells' and David Cone's perfect games in their Yankee pinstripes. A small note for what it's worth, there's a tiny glitch on the 1999 disc. When viewing the main menu, the line scores for the teams appear to have been switched, just a heads up in case this becomes a larger cause of concern for Joe Yankee Fan.
Now, the easy choice would probably have been to also include each of the series clinching games as well, but showing the key games was a nice touch. The bottom line is that if you're looking for a more comprehensive look at the team's history, you may want to pass on this. But for those who are fans of the Yankees, you will definitely enjoy this look back at recent Bronx Bomber success.
Review content copyright © 2006 Ryan Keefer; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 865 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Extra Footage
* Official Team Site
* Major League Baseball