Judge David Johnson tried to grow a beard during the playoff run, but his wife laughed at his attempts so he dunked his head in Nair out of protest.
"This is our f-ing city!"
Those words were uttered at the first home game after the Boston Marathon bombings, by David Ortiz, when he was asked to say a few words to the still-reeling Boston crowd. His unfiltered one-liner would go on to act as the de facto slogan of the 2013 Red Sox, a club that executed an epic turnaround from a pathetic 2012 campaign to an improbably title run.
Seriously, 2012 was bad. With the hapless Bobby Valentine helming a roster of overpaid crybabies and, eventually, thanks to Magic Johnson, a bunch of kids and also-rans, the Sox turned in one of their worst regular season efforts ever. Following that, Valentine was dumped, humongous free agent contracts were bypassed for shorter deals with character guys and the Red Sox were off and running, defying expectations right up until the champagne was popped on a chilly October day in Fenway Park, the first time in 95 years that the Red Sox clinched the World Series in their own park.
On the way, there was no shortage of drama. From Ortiz's epic grand slam in the ALCS to Koji's pick-off play in the World Series to Victorino's mammoth bases-clearing triple to clinch the thing, these Sox ensured that all viewers got their money's worth. Heck, I'm far from a die-hard. But these games were so high-pressure I couldn't even watch them live.
But now, long after that tension gave way to elation and the champagne has dried up, here's the 2013 World Series film and the chance to decompress and digest what was an unreal season. And I'll be honest with you: I've been looking forward to this disc since the Duck Boats snaked their way through Boston.
Predictably, the MLB productions crew does a great job. They open with the bombing and properly frame how it affected the players on the team and the city as a whole. It would be trite to attribute the Red Sox run strictly to the urge to offset the emotional damage done by the douchebag Tsarnaevs, but to say those tragic events galvanized the team isn't far off.
No, what ultimately carried the Sox to the Promised Land was the simple fact that they were good. They were the best team in the AL and they had the wins and the stats to prove it. It wasn't a Cinderella story; it was, however a massive turnaround and a rich payoff for a hugely likable team.
Boston Red Sox: 2013 World Series Film captures that, setting the table by looking at the big-time disappointment in 2012, then the offseason moves that crafted the new roster. As is the blueprint with these productions, the regular season is scooted through, the meat of the film being devoted to the post-season run, with successive seasons getting increasing focus. There's plenty to focus on, as each playoff series was littered with memorable moments, and a few sporting all-timers. The World Series, obviously, gets the most love and suitably so: the games were great fun, filled with mini-narratives and oddities. What's especially cool is getting the candid audio from players, most notably David Ortiz's rallying speech in the dugout (which had been unheard up to this point).
From top to bottom, a winner, and something that captured the magic of the season nicely. Only weird bit: Ben Affleck, the narrator, is a bit too reserved. I'm guessing he was nudged this way with the bombing stuff front and center, but where was the joy in this unexpected, exhilarating victory?
The Blu-ray: 1.78:1 (720p), 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and a handful of okay, but disposable extra features: clinching celebrations, World Series highlights, parade highlights, candid footage of Ortiz and Pedro Martinez and general clubhouse tomfoolery, a pair of MLB Player Poll segments on Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz and a look at what's going to the Hall of Fame from the 2013 World Series.
Not guilty. Beards forever.
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