- Published on Amazon.com
With the well-noted similarities between the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox seasons (the now-customary season-long battle with the Yankees for divisional supremacy; a cruise through the first round of playoffs, followed by a nail-biter comeback from the cusp of elimination in the second; a four-game WS sweep), it is fitting that the 2007 World Series highlight film closely resembles the layout of that from three years ago. It once again takes the form of a slickly produced anamorphic feature with a glossy cinematic look and a celebrity fan narrator (Matt Damon, pleasant of voice and assured with the text, replacing 2004's drier Dennis Leary). I would prefer a return to the "nonpartisan" World Series videos of years past, those which were more actual documentary than bouquet to the fans of the winners. But one must accept the thing that has been done and evaluate how well it has been done. On that level, this is an improvement on the 2004 DVD, which I felt unfairly slighted the St. Louis Cardinals and their stellar season. Its sins were not just of omission, either: it was full of pretentious, overblown imagery (ominous shots of an empty Fenway, then a quick close-up of a player looking as though about to deliver a major policy address, then a longer shot of the same player leaning on his bat, then speeded-up footage of clouds in the sky, then more aerial footage of empty seats...one might be forgiven for wondering if Diane Chambers had produced a sequel to "Manchild In Beantown"). It also spent a significant amount of time taking us through Boston's spring training and regular season, which would have been welcome had the coverage of the historic ALCS not been so rushed and bungled. I still wonder how anyone could assemble a highlights video of that postseason and not even mention in passing the two crucial reversed calls in Game 6, or Alex Rodriguez's "slap seen around the world."
Someone seems to have learned from past mistakes. The current video, as indicated above, follows the 2004 blueprint to a stronger finished product, one that will do the job for anyone wanting a souvenir of this postseason, but not badly enough to shell out for the box set containing the uncut 2007 World Series and the final three Boston/Cleveland ALCS games. The Colorado Rockies and their astounding late-season/postseason surge are respectfully treated, and their manager and selected players are welcome participants in the talking-head segments along with expected Boston luminaries: Francona, Schilling, Lowell, Papelbon, Varitek, Okajima (in Japanese, with interpreter), et al. Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and especially staff ace Josh Beckett are much missed, but their on-field heroics are well covered, as are the electrifying series performances of rookies Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. There is also footage I had not seen before: clowning among players in preparation for one of the games ("Now don't say anything stupid, because I'm miked!"); Manny Ramirez exchanging sincere pregame pleasantries and congratulations with one of the Rockies.
The game of baseball has been going through one of its occasional strings of dark days as I write this, with intensified allegations of steroid use calling into question the accomplishments of many players of stature. Those of us who follow stats and standings passionately and endure offseasons impatiently can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that ugly periods for the game (like labor disputes, collusion, cocaine, and gambling scandals) are there to be gotten through, and will be. In truth, the 2007 World Series, like the 2004, had a whiff of anticlimax to it, as often in sweep years following exciting championship series. But it already is getting easier to imagine nostalgia for Autumn 2007 baseball, when Coco Crisp and Royce Clayton puzzled over the protocols of a free taco; A-Rod and his agent had news that just could not wait; George Steinbrenner exercised his usual restraint in publicly "motivating" Joe Torre; an overcaffeinated Dane Cook saturated commercial breaks with the gospel of "Oc-TO-ber!"; Boston thrilled its fans with something remarkable and familiar, and Colorado thrilled its fans with something remarkable and new. The DVD, in a trim and tidy package, captures a little of its moment's flavor for posterity.