A&E // 2005 // 2110 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ryan Keefer (Retired) // August 9th, 2005
"Back to Foulke, Red Sox fans have longed to hear it...the Boston Red Sox are World Champions!"
Let me start off this review by saying that I can't relate to the mindset of a tortured Bostonian, except from what others have told me. I can talk about the Washington Capitals, my hockey team who, in the 1980s, built seemingly insurmountably postseason series leads, only to choke, blow, lose, and otherwise squander them. Because of the scale of Red Sox defeats and their location (in the hotbed of American literature), in the words of George Will, "they are written about to death." Even this year, after experiencing their moment in the sun, Red Sox fans have almost gone back to being depressed again, as their team has slightly struggled in the 2005 regular season. I don't know what the reason is for the insecurity, but ESPN's Bill Simmons puts it best: "Just remember, we won last year."
It's understandable why Red Sox fans would feel depressed or let down -- they've had ample reason for so long. Boston's playoff downfalls are legend. Carlton Fisk's home run in Game Six of the 1975 Series (best Series game ever?) (Editor's Note: No, that was Game 7 in 1991.) was dramatic, but they lost Game Seven to Cincinnati. In 1986, Boston was down to their last strike in the League Championship series against California, until a game-tying home run from Dave Henderson saved their season and put them in the World Series against the New York Mets. After such a dramatic Championship Series, the Sox had the Mets against the ropes (down to the Mets' last strike), but could not finish them off, due to a fielding error by Bill Buckner, and lost another World Series Game Seven.
Then you have the Yankees. In 1978, weak-hitting shortstop Bucky Dent's home run in Boston gave the Yankees the pennant over the Sox, who blew a 14 game lead late in the regular season. In 2003, the Yankees took Game Seven of the LCS from the Sox, as a result of an extra innings game-winning home run by Aaron "f'ing" Boone. After an eventful off-season where the Yankees acquired star player Alex Rodriguez and the Sox acquired veteran pitcher Curt Schilling, the teams met again in the League Championship Series, which resulted in some of the most dramatic sporting events in recent memory. After their Game Three 19-8 drubbing by the Yankees, the Sox came back to win the next two games and tie the series, thanks to clutch hitting by David "Big Papi" Ortiz and the Game Six pitching performance of Curt Schilling, playing on a stitched ankle tendon with blood visibly seeping from his sock. In Game Seven, the Sox took the lead early and stayed ahead, defeating the Yankees 10-3. After such a dramatic win, the four game World Series sweep against the Cardinals was just a formality, leading to celebrations and cries of "Finally!" from anyone from Bangor to Boston.
A&E has produced a boxed set that contains the complete broadcast of each game (minus commercials) during the Yankees and Cardinals series. For the cherry on the cake, the World Series film, narrated by Denis Leary (Ice Age) completes the set. The film is 90 minutes, and covers the season in detail, with particular emphasis on the postseason. Of course, the fight between Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and Rodriguez gets a little bit of play ("we don't throw at .260 hitters"), an event many consider to be the turning point of the year for the Sox. Ample time is spent on the curse, with recollections by Fisk, Buckner, and other Red Sox players of previous years. The thing one almost forgets about is how much the Cardinals contributed to the curse, defeating Boston in World Series in 1946 and 1967 before Boston's win in 2004. Wisely, with an event of this magnitude, Leary's narration disappears in the last third of the film, so that the time can be spent on the players' and fans' jubilation. And if all that isn't enough, there is another 90 minutes of extra footage, mostly spent on the off-season activities. The White House visit, the ring ceremony, and all celebration footage are brought back in all their glory. To sum up, after 86 years of frustration, this set is 12 discs of lows and highs and over 35 hours of viewing time for New Englanders. So, in the event that the Sox don't manage to repeat, or if fate resigns more generations to fret hopelessly, this set is available to you to preserve the 2004 miracle season for posterity. Shell out the $100 and buy it already.
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Scales of Justice
* Golden Gavel 2005 Nominee
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 2110 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Extra Footage
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* Major League Baseball Site
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