Personal opinion of the programs aside, I can certainly understand why a sports fan would, at the very least, be willing to stick with one of these baseball blooper specials were they to stumble across them while eating dinner or in the background of some menial chore, but it's hard to believe either one of these presentations ("MLB Bloopers: Baseball's Best Blunders" and "MLB Bloopers: The Funny Side of Baseball") could provide enough entertainment for someone that they'd need to own either one of them on DVD.
The first, "Baseball's Best Blunders," is the weaker of the two programs. Essentially, the program is the equivalent of explaining the joke: each of the major "all-time" bloopers showcased here are accompanied by so much explanation from the narrator that the comedy is drained right out of them, and the rest of the program's wacky antics often end up feeling like "you had to be there" moments, explained by a host of players after the fact. I know that when I was younger and a bigger fan of baseball (rooting for the Mariners is a frequently disappointing enterprise), I always wanted to have VHS tapes of bloopers and/or amazing plays, and yet, watching "Blunders," the attempt to cut the material into something other than an unending clip reel feels so unwieldy, it's hard to imagine a video of bloopers longer than the ones they show between innings ever working at all.
Thankfully, "The Funny Side of Baseball" is much better, focusing more on the general culture of baseball and the frequent practical jokes and mistakes. The usual kinds of practical jokes occur (one player responds to being pranked by having another player's car tires removed and hidden around the stadium), and some of the material in the two programs is the same (falling ball boys, on-the-field miscommunication, and the accidental disposal of 2nd-out catches), but a montage of post-game interview cliches ("110%," "it's a long season," "one game at a time") is unexpectedly hilarious, and the cameras even capture some unexpectedly interesting behind-the-scenes minutia, like the ID cards the players use to check in at away stadiums. The only real crutch here is Chris Kattan's unenthusiastic narration, which is both unnecessary and poorly written.
Neither of the two programs is outright boring, and both are essentially what's advertised on the label, so anyone dying to see one or the other of these programs should get what they want out of them, but having seen them, I can say, even having enjoyed the second program, that there's essentially no replay value here. One of the VHS tapes I did own long ago documented the Mariners' 1995 playoff run, complete with all the highlights, and that's a set of baseball flashbacks I can see someone revisiting. These programs, on the other hand, were made for television and feel like it, resulting in a DVD destined to be given a million times over as a bargain-bin stocking stuffer, but rarely by someone for their own personal enjoyment.
"Generic" is the perfect word to summarize this pictureless, plainer-than-plain-Jane DVD cover. A baseball embedded in glass over the faded image of a stadium is the extent of imagery; the back cover is nothing but a block of text about the two specials. There are no liner notes inside the eco-LITE case.
The Video and Audio
Both of these programs (the former presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the latter in letterboxed 1.33:1) look average or perhaps slightly better than average, if average for a program like this is a television broadcast. The clips in question are obviously culled from a number of video sources, so the quality is not necessarily consistent throughout either presentation. Audio is an equally average 2.0 stereo track without any excess noise or hiss. No subtitles have been provided.
None. According to fellow DVDTalk critic Rich Rosell, both titles were initially released on separate platters with extras for each.
Maybe if this set contained the two previously release discs in a single case, there might be a reason to buy it -- I don't know how compelling the extras on the individual sets are -- but at the very best, this set is a rental, and even then, I imagine even the most hardcore baseball fans won't find their fandom thrown into upheaval if they never catch the two specials here.
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