When Mike Scioscia left the Los Angeles Dodgers organization after three decades as a player and later coach to take the reins over for the Anaheim Angels in 2000, could people have known at the time that he has become Major League Baseball's equivalent of Mike Holmgren? Consider that current Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and San Diego Padres skipper Bud Black are among the Scioscia apprentices that have moved elsewhere, with the first two currently in the 2011 postseason with their clubs. Scioscia came close to bringing his team to the dance also, his fourth appearance in the last five seasons if it happened. Though it didn't, his record still remains impressive, and the culmination of the hard work, the 2002 World Series, comes to DVD in a Collector's set.
The 2002 Angels season was a strong one in general, with the lineup being bolstered by outfielder Garrett Anderson's 29 home runs, 123 runs batted in and .306 batting average. Staying on the left side of the field, third baseman Troy Glaus' 30 homers and 111 RBI helped provide an additional source of offense for a team that finished second to the Oakland A's in the chase for the American League West pennant. On the mound, Jarrod Washburn, Ramon Ortiz and Kevin Appier helped account for 47 of the team's 99 wins (against 63 losses), and in the bullpen, Troy Percival and his 40 saves were as automatic a bet out there. Yet at the time with the New York Yankees looming on the horizon, the Angels' chances had to be considered modest at best. Yet the Wildcard Angels beat the East Champions three games to one in a best-of-five series, and four games of five in a best-of-seven series against the Minnesota Twins, and faced their intrastate foes San Francisco Giants in the 98th installment of the World Series. The Series was also notable in that home run slugger Barry Bonds was making the first World Series appearance in his career.
The fall classic was not without its drama, to be sure. With the two games at Anaheim, the Giants won the first 4-3 despite two Glaus homers, and the second was an 11-10 slugfest, with the Angels' longtime veteran Tim Salmon hitting his second homer of the night in the bottom of the eighth inning to take and hold onto the lead, despite a massive Bonds homer in the ninth. Moving to San Francisco, after a Game Three when the Angels won 10-4 behind consecutive four-run innings in the third and fourth, the Giants won the first game 4-3 on a David Bell single in the bottom of the eighth inning, and blew the Angels out 16-4 in Game Five. With the Giants up 3-2, winning one of the next two would be difficult, but not impossible. They didn't help their cause in Game Six, blowing a five-run lead to six Angel runs in the last two innings of the game to lose 6-5, and in the decisive Game Seven, rookie pitcher John Lackey held the Giant bats to four hits in five innings, and the bullpen (ending with Percival) sealed the deal for the Angels.
In terms of the presentation, A&E and Major League Baseball continue to make even the most maudlin series look good, and while the series was decent, the packaging of each disc in its own slimline case with box score and various trivia on it will never get old for me. Moreover, A&E continues to hear the consumer's pleas and have included every game in the Series, rather than each postseason win from the Halos. It makes going through the ups and downs a worthwhile journey.
While Scioscia's run this year, while valiant, proved fruitless, at the very least he can continue to root for Roenicke (Maddon's Rays were eliminated by the Texas Rangers). And if that eludes him, at the very least he can bring the band back together and finally watch this accomplishment on DVD as opposed to tape, and he (and we) can enjoy it properly.
Full-frame video for all of the games. As always, any faults within the material are inherent, but this presentation is a little sloppier than most. The New York Fox affiliate logo shows up during game play at least once, and the Major League Baseball logo is present through every pitch. The set is also a nice trip through time, with Fox advertising behind home plate during the action. Hey, who's up for a Boston Public marathon? Nobody? OK. Regardless, the set it what it is, and nothing more.
Dolby two-channel stereo for all of the discs. As is the case with recent World Series DVD releases, the option of listening to the Fox feed or the Angels radio team is available, with the latter being my personal preference. As it stands, everything happens in the front of the soundstage and sounds clear and without concern. One note I did want to bring up: during the first game, Bonds hits a towering homer in the second inning, and upon Joe Buck's proclamation of Bonds as "Baseball Royalty," some accompanying regal-ish music plays during his home run trot. Note to Fox: don't try to be so clever, you fail miserably at it.
Visions of thunder sticks and rally monkeys, but in terms of extras, nothing.
The Collector's Edition of the 2002 World Series is another solid jewel in the A&E/MLB video library. That said, the set is lackluster technically, making it feel like a thrown together offering. Worth picking up if you or yours are an Angels fan, or if you want to revisit an above average Series from two good teams.