"I think we shocked the world." -- St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jim Edmonds
To say that baseball is important to the town of St. Louis, Missouri would be a bit of an understatement -- the St. Louis Cardinals border on religion for anyone who's spent any time in the Lou, with Busch Stadium serving as the church where the faithful come to cheer on their Redbirds. Having dated a St. Louis native for the last three and a half years and watching her get fired up for opening day every single season underlines the depth of devotion St. Louis residents have for their Cardinals. St. Louis is a baseball town, above all else, a city that embraces and cheers on its Cardinals like few other metropolitan areas in America.
2006 had the Cardinals moving into new digs -- the end of the 2005 season saw the three-decade-old Busch Stadium brought down by the wrecking ball, paving the way for a new stadium and a fresh start, capitalizing upon the momentum generated by the young, hungry and talented team from the previous season. With power hitter Albert Pujols, one of the most ferocious athletes in Major League Baseball, leading the way, the Cardinals battled it out in the regular season, making it to the National League Division Series sporting an acceptable but shaky record. The Cards faced off against the pitching-loaded San Diego Padres, fighting them back to win the NLDS and take on the New York Mets, who were favored to beat the Cards.
The NLCS went seven games, but the Cardinals prevailed and won a trip to battle the also heavily favored Detroit Tigers for the World Series crown. It's a matter of public record what happened but that doesn't make watching these five games any less thrilling -- presented as originally broadcast on the Fox network (sans commercials, bumpers, pre- and post-game chatter), every pitch, hit and out is preserved to relive over and over again. The adrenaline builds just as much for the final pitch of the fifth World Series game as it did when watching it unfold live just a few months prior. The St. Louis Cardinals capped off an incredible year with their World Series victory, an achievement forever immortalized on this handsome DVD set. If you know anyone in St. Louis, you'd do well to slip them a copy (although odds are good they already have a couple). While few outside of the most fervent Cardinals fans will ever reach to pop one of these discs in the player, it still functions as a thoughtfully presented collector's piece, an audio/visual scrapbook of one of Major League Baseball's scrappier teams and a love letter to the fans who embrace them without question. Go Cards!
The games included in this set are Games 5 and 7 of the National League Championship Series against the New York Mets, and all five games of the 2006 World Series versus the Detroit Tigers. Each game gets its own disc, with nothing else included. The St. Louis Cardinals 2006 World Series Collector's Edition is spread over eight discs, housed in clear slimline cases, all of which are tucked into a very sturdy cardboard slipcase.The DVD
In a surprising but wholly welcome touch, all seven games are presented in spotless 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers, taken from Fox's HD broadcasts of each contest -- sharp, vivid and clean, these are images that will make Redbird fans weep with joy. While each game is preceded by a warning that says "minor imperfections" may exist in these presentations, I never found that to be the case. As archival releases go, you'd couldn't do much better than what has been offered up here. A great visual presentation.The Audio:
While the die-hards may lament the lack of a full-blown surround track, the included Dolby 2.0 stereo track (available in either English or Spanish) is more than fine. From the announcers to crowd noise and the crack of the bats, each game sounds clean, clear and crisp, with no distortion or drop-out. As with the visuals, these games sound great.The Extras:
The cases themselves are supplements here --the transparent slimline cases are covered with statistical information (from attendance figures to the number of pitches to box scores) and provide any possible shred of trivia that fans from the casual to the obsessed would want to know. The games themselves don't feature anything outside of what was broadcast (thankfully, sans commercials, but otherwise exactly what appeared last fall on TV) leaving all of the bonus features for the eighth and final disc, which is devoted exclusively to extras. Each of the following 33 clips, playable separately or together for an aggregate of 76 minutes, are presented in full-screen or non-anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtrack.
The St. Louis Cardinals capped off an incredible year with their World Series victory, an achievement forever immortalized on this handsome DVD set. If you know anyone in St. Louis, you'd do well to slip them a copy (although odds are good they already have a couple). While few outside of the most fervent Cardinals fans will ever reach to pop one of these discs in the player, it still functions as a thoughtfully presented collector's piece, an audio/visual scrapbook of one of Major League Baseball's scrappier teams and a love letter to the fans who embrace them without question. Go Cards! Highly recommended.