Judge Bill Treadway fails to mention the greatest rivalry of all: the one between Moises Alou and Steve Bartman.
When rivals meet, all bets are off.
As is often the case in any sort of competition, rivalries usually develop at some point. Some can be minor arguments. More often they escalate to all-out feuds, brimming with bad blood. The documentary Baseball's Greatest Rivalries showcases some of the most memorable rivalries documented over the past fifty years. You'll see such rivalries as:
• New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers vs. New York Giants
• New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals
• Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
• New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves
• San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
• New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
If you know me at all, you'll know that I never followed any sport with regularity, unless professional wrestling counts (which it often doesn't). When I reached my teenage years, I started getting into pro basketball. I was glued to the screen, especially when the New York Knicks were competing for a title. Shortly after, I started watching baseball more often, with the New York Mets being my favorite team. (They still are. How can I help it if both of my favorite teams are a group of underachievers at this point? I can only pray that they get better.)
For those fans such as myself who are still getting into baseball, Baseball's Greatest Rivalries is a godsend. Despite the brief running time of 74 minutes, this is far from a cut-and-paste job. Each individual rivalry is presented in incredible detail. Classic footage is alternated with latter-day interviews featuring not only surviving players but sports journalists (Vic Ziegel, who writes for the New York Daily News, is one of the interviewees) as well. I especially liked the historical perspective given to each feud. Rather than just mentioning it by name, they actually give us the background into how each rivalry developed. That is the main reason why Baseball's Greatest Rivalries stands apart from the rest.
Q Video presents Baseball's Greatest Rivalries in full frame. This is appropriate, as most of the footage came long before widescreen television sets became popular. There are a few shots in non-anamorphic widescreen, but they are used mainly for effect, not presentation. The transfer is excellent. The vintage footage looks surprisingly good, considering that baseball games are not on the top tier of restoration efforts. You can forgive the sporadic film blemishes that do appear. The new footage looks as clean and crisp as it should. No worries about edge enhancement here.
Audio is presented in a simple Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix. It sounds damn good. The vintage footage sounds amazing, free of the hiss and crackling you'd associate with old-time audio recordings. It balances nicely with the new footage, which is surprising; I've seen bigger-budget programs with uneasy transitions between new and old footage.
There is only one extra here, but is it worthwhile! Forty-five minutes of additional footage is offered here. This consists of both historical footage and latter-day interviews that augment the material shown in the documentary. You owe it to yourself to check it out.
Baseball's Greatest Rivalries can be part of your DVD library for $19.98. Baseball fans will no doubt rush out to buy it. If your video store or online rental outlet is offering this disc for rental, do check it out. It's one of the better baseball documentaries out there.
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