Judge David Johnson's pitching career ended in his tee-ball days.
Not in the face!
Pure Heat is an hour-long documentary about the history of power pitching in Major League Baseball. As the program unfolds, players throughout the years are profiled, and the big shots are lingered on. Interviews with baseball pros, current and former hitters, and the pitchers themselves spice up the proceedings. In addition, the up-and-coming pitchers will glean a few tips and tactics from the hurlers, concerning workout regimens and pitching techniques. This DVD isn't, however, an instructional pitching walk-through, but more a 60-minute sense of the big dogs of the pitcher's mound.
Former greats featured include Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, and the dude with probably the greatest athlete name ever, Goose Gossage. Ryan dominates the retrospective, as well he should, as he holds incredible records and utterly dominated the game when he played. The final 30 minutes or so focus on the current stars of the game, switching between the dominant relievers and closers—headlined by Yankees ace Mariano Rivera—and starting studs like Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, and Pedro Martinez.
Overall, this is a snazzy DVD, well produced, and packed silly with footage, interviews, and overdramatic narration. The history is sound, tracing the evolution of the strike zone and the game's burgeoning power pitchers from the early 20th century, all the way up through the different tactics the stars have employed to get the K's. For example, much is said about Ryan's vicious speed, and his aggressive tendency to crowd the plate, Schilling's resilience and fortitude (2004, baby) and Martinez's unhittable change-up.
What else can I say about this DVD? Not much, except it's up to the usual high-quality Shout! Factory standard. The widescreen transfer, though non-anamorphic, is clean and strong, and the 2.0 stereo sound pushes that dramatic "sports action score" well.
• Ninth inning of Randy Johnson's 2004 Perfect Game
Fans of MLB DVDs and connoisseurs of pitching will be well-served by this fine DVD.
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