A&E // 2011 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 22nd, 2011
The Red Sox suck.
In 2011, professional baseball bore witness to one of the great postseason runs, and arguably the greatest World Series ever played. The St. Louis Cardinals were far from world-beaters during the dog days of summer, sitting 10.5 games out of a playoff spot in August. But they put together a run and found themselves fighting for a shot at the Series title. Behind the power of Albert Pujols' bat, Chris Carpenter's ace pitching, and the magic of the legendary David Freese (huh?), the Cardinals tore through the best the NL had to offer and defeated the Texas Rangers in a ridiculously entertaining seven-game series for the championship. Major League Baseball brings you their story.
This is a terrific championship Blu-ray, and though all of these post-season tributes from the four major sports tend to be high-end, the MLB crew seems to put out presentations that consistently jockey for the top spot. The Cardinals are beneficiaries of one of the best I've seen, a production that milks the potent drama of the St. Louis games to great effect. Incorporating fantastic in-game footage (necessarily slowed down of course for maximum impact!), sweeping orchestral scores, and the super-serious narrative inflection of Jon Hamm, the producers ensure you're not just watching well-paid professional athletes swing a ball at a bat...but watching history.
And you know, they might have a point. Just take a look at Game 6 of the World Series, when twice the Cards were down to their last strike and prolonged the game, giving local boy David Freese the opportunity to crush the game-winner. Movie scripts don't get that far-fetched! But that's how it played out and MLB wants you to soak it up.
St. Louis Cardinals: 2011 World Series Champions runs for 90 minutes and very little time is spent on the regular season. You get mentions of the injury trouble the team had to face out of the gate and some of their lapses, but it's soon onto the playoffs to face Philly and Milwaukee. These were compelling match-ups in their own right, what with the latest Philly "super-team" to crap their pants and the surprising Brewer team apparently PED-enhanced. But the footage rockets fairly quickly through both of these series, with the bulk of the screen time reserved for World Series.
As the textbook dictates, game footage is mixed with interviews of players and managers (from both teams), adding context to the on-field drama. The feature culminates in the post-game celebration from the clubhouse to the victory parade route.
On the technical end, St. Louis Cardinals: 2011 World Series Champions (Blu-ray) is magnificent, the 1.78:1/1080p HD transfer absolutely shining. Sporting events are often the best exhibitions of high definition and it shows here. A DTS-HD 5.1 Master audio mix actively supports the great visual fidelity. Extras: brief segments on Lance Berkman and Tony La Russa, original broadcast snippets of the postseason, World Series highlights and the celebration, footage of the parade, and the complete NLDS Game 5...which is nice and all, but why not give us the magical Game 6 of the Fall Classic?
Not Guilty. (Sucks that Pujols blew out of town, huh?)
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Complete NLDS Game 5
* St. Louis Cardinals