Say what you will about the Boston Red Sox and the "curse" that's haunted the team for 86 years. Put aside the fact that you may indeed be a Yankees fan, a Cardinals fan, or someone who simply roots for a team other than the Red Sox. (Like me. Go Phillies.) There's simply no denying that there was some real magic present during the 2004 Major League Baseball playoffs ... and all of it belonged to the long-suffering yet well-admired Boston Red Sox, a team that (let's face it) deserved a World Series win in a very big way.
This massive 12-disc collection from A&E Home Video is a Red Sox fan's treasure. Posters and jerseys and scorecards are great, but what could be better than owning the actual games the way they really happened? If I were a diehard Red Sox fanatic, you can rest assured that I'd not only purchase this fantastic box set ... I'd have it set up as my alarm clock, so I could wake up every morning watching my team win their first World Series in 86 years. (The Phillies won their last World Series in 1980.)
Produced in classy style and with very few frills (the bonus disc notwithstanding), this mega-disc Red Sox explosion has precisely what the fans want: every single pitch of the 2004 American League Championship Series -and- the 2004 World Series. Wanna watch the Red Sox become the very first team in MLB history to come back from a 3 games to zero deficit and snatch the pennant from the stunned, shocked, and entirely defeated Yankees squad? How about the amazing four-game sweep of the powerful St. Louis Cardinals? Well, if you're a Sox fan, those "highlight reels" probably won't cut the mustard, so now you can pick through all eleven of these historic games and re-live your favorite moments.
Here's how the discs break down. (It's pretty simple, actually.)
Disc 1 - Game 1 of the ALCS, Sox at Yanks, 10/12/04, Result: Yankees 10, Red Sox 7 (Yanks lead series 1-0)
Disc 2 - Game 2 of the ALCS, Sox at Yanks, 10/13/04, Result: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1 (Yanks lead series 2-0)
Disc 3 - Game 3 of the ALCS, Yanks at Sox, 10/16/04, Result: Yankees 19, Red Sox 8 (Yanks lead series 3-0)
Disc 4 - Game 4 of the ALCS, Yanks at Sox, 10/17/04, Result: Red Sox 6, Yankees 4 in 12 innings (Yanks lead series 3-1)
Disc 5 - Game 5 of the ALCS, Yanks at Sox, 10/18/04, Result: Red Sox 5, Yankees 4 in 14 innings (Yanks lead series 3-2)
Disc 6 - Game 6 of the ALCS, Sox at Yanks, 10/19/04, Result: Red Sox 4, Yankees 2 (Series tied 3-3)
Disc 7 - Game 7 of the ALCS, Sox at Yanks, 10/20/04, Result: Red Sox 10, Yankees, 3 (Red Sox win series, 4-3) (What a comeback!)
Disc 8 - Game 1 of the World Series, Cardinals at Sox, 10/23/04, Result: Red Sox 11, Cardinals 9 (Red Sox lead series 1-0)
Disc 9 - Game 2 of the World Series, Cardinals at Sox, 10/24/04, Result: Red Sox 6, Cardinals 2 (Red Sox lead series 2-0)
Disc 10 - Game 3 of the World Series, Sox at Cardinals, 10/26/04, Result: Red Sox 4, Cardinals 1 (Red Sox lead series 3-0)
Disc 11 - Game 4 of the World Series, Sox at Cardinals, 10/27/04, Result: Red Sox 3, Cardinals 0 (Red Sox win series, 4-0!)
Disc 12 - Bonus DVD!
The main supplement is The 2004 World Series Film, which runs about 91 (widescreen) minutes and is narrated quite excellently by Beantown native Denis Leary. The presentation begins with the very first spring training game for the Sox, and continues on through all their rather colorful adventures during the 2004 season. Interview subjects include outfielder Johnny Damon, pitcher Mike Timlin, pitcher Curt Schilling, senior V.P. general manager Theo Epstein, first baseman Kevin Millar, manager Terry Francona (ex-Phils manager, goshdarnit), pitcher Bronson Arroyo, first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, pitcher Pedro Martinez, sportswriter Bill Madden, outfielder Dave Roberts, outfielder Manny Ramirez, catcher Jason Varitek, outfielder Trot Nixon, pitcher Keith Foulke, designated hitter David Ortiz, catcher Doug Mirabelli, pitcher Alan Embree, second baseman Mark Bellhorn, Red Sox team physician Dr. Bill Morgan, pitcher Derek Lowe, pitcher Tim Wakefield, Cardinals outfielder Larry Walker, sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy, Red Sox President Larry Lucchino, Babe Ruth Museum curator Michael Gibbons, former Cardinals Enos Slaughter, and Joe Garagiola, and former Sox players Dwight Evans, Wade Boggs, Luis Tiant, Johnny Pesky, Reggie Smith, Mike Andrews, Carlton Fish, and the infamous (and now off-the-hook) Bill Buckner.
As a shameless sports geek, I must admit that this phenomenal look back at the 2004 Sox season left a little lump in my throat ... which means that if you're a true-blue Red Sox fan, it'll probably have you weeping like a baby.
But there's a whole lot more on the bonus disc:
Schilling Speaks with Fans is an 5.5-minute piece of Q&A footage between Mr. Schilling and a room full of beaming fans.
Celebrity Fans on the Big Win offers a handful of fond memories from Jeffrey Lyons, Seth Meyers, and Denis Leary. Runs just under 7 minutes.
Arroyo: Pitcher By Day, Musician By Night runs about 4 minutes and allows us to peek in as the Red Sox pitcher climbs into a recording booth to sing a song about dirty water.
ALCS Game 7 Post-Game Celebration is precisely what it sounds like: Just over 10 extra minutes of post-pennant partying. (Sox fans will also appreciate the footage of the Yankees players as they shuffle out of the stadium rather quietly.)
ALCS Game 4: Millar Makes a Prediction runs almost four minutes, and it shows a strangely buoyant and confident infielder as he makes some stunningly accurate predictions to his teammates.
Francona Takes Over is a brief interview with the Red Sox manager following his arrival in Boston. Runs about 80 seconds.
Best of Ortiz Wireless is 6 minutes of the charmingly enthusiastic David Ortiz at batting practice and on the field.
ALCS Game 1: Timlin & Embree Wireless runs almost three minutes and features the two relievers as they enjoy some goofy pre-game conversation.
Millar Speaks with Dan Shaugnessy is 90 seconds of Millar offering his earlier predictions to a bemused sportswriter.
Damon Shaves Beard! is 3 minutes of Damon-shaving ... sponsored by the Gillette Mach-3, of course.
Red Sox Visit the White House sees America's team earn a speech and a greeting from President Bush. Runs just over 9 minutes.
World Series Locker Room Celebration is an extended visit inside the raucous Red Sox locker room. Runs approximately 19 minutes.
2005 Ring & Banner Ceremony is footage from the 2005 season opener celebration in which the players were award their rings and such. Runs just under 10 minutes.
It's also worth noting that all 12 of the individual DVD cases come plastered with tons of stats, pics, and trivia tidbits that should fill the Sox fans with much happiness indeed. Very slick packaging here, baseball fans.
Video: These are the original Fox broadcasts, one game per disc, which means you're getting live-television video quality in the standard fullscreen format. Still, the picture quality's pretty good, at least as good as it looked last October.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo across the board. No problems on the aural end of the equation, Sox fans.
In the 2004 MLB post-season, the Boston Red Sox were, at one point, a mere three outs away from being swept out of the playoffs by the New York Yankees. But it didn't happen. Instead, they mounted an astronomical comeback that will be remembered (and remembered quite fondly) by anyone who appreciates the simple beauty of baseball. This is an amazing sports story, and it was a wonderfully dramatic way for the Red Sox fans to shake off more than eight decades of misery and enjoy their blissful moment in the sun.
Heck, I don't even like American League baseball (the DH is for weenies), but even I was shaken down to the goose pimples as I watched this monumental resurgence take place. I tip my hat to the Red Sox for a stunningly dramatic turnaround, and I congratulate their faithful fans on their well-earned happiness.
Enjoy it now, because it just might be another 86 years before the Sox win it again. Needless to say this is a must-own box set for the Sox faithful; but those outside of the New England area might not really need over 38 hours of Red Sox mania.