There's something about the great American pastime that can really be visually satisfying and memorable - the deep greens of a newly cut field of grass, the crack of the bat, the cheers of the crowd. There's also the $25-50 tickets, $5.00 hot dog, $8.00 parking and $3.00 soda. One watches this 1977 World Series set and imagines what it was like to score a great seat for $15, when the same seat in a World Series this year could possibly run towards $200. The 1977 series now looks visually quite dated, but it does offer a terrific commentary from the legendary Howard Cosell.
The 1977 World Series has the New York Yankees facing off against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees had had a rough start to the year (including an on-air confrontation on the field in Boston between successful free agent acquisition Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin, which is included on this DVD set), but the second half of the season saw the team come back with a winning second half, beating the Kansas City Royals in ALCS Game 5 (which is included) to make it into the World Series.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, had upset the Philadelphia Phillies, and were guided by famed manager Tommy Lasorda, who was in his first year. Both teams certainly had their share of stars, such as "Mr. October" Jackson and Willie Randolph for the Yanks, while the Dodgers brought Steve Garvey, Reggie Smith and others. Audiences in both cities were hooked on the broadcast, with a remarkable 62% of NYC audiences tuning into the game and 72% of Los Angeles audiences, resulting in an impressive (for the time) 30.2 national rating. The Yankees walked away with the first game, which was their 100th World Series game won.
The Dodgers managed a comeback in the second game, beating the Yanks 6-1, but the Yankees came back, taking games three and four from the Dodgers. Although the Dodgers were able to win game 5 thanks to a phenomenal effort from pitcher Don Sutton, the Yankees got the win in the final game, where Reggie Jackson managed to tie Babe Ruth's record by hitting three home runs in a World Series game. Jackson's 5 home runs during the series set the record for most homers in a single World Series. The Yankees and Dodgers have faced each other in the World Series more than any other teams (9 times), and the Yankees have won 7 of the 9.
What does disappoint me again here - and I've mentioned it in every review of a Major League Baseball product on DVD - is that the MLB logo is once again seen throughout the entire program. While the logo is fairly small, it's sizable enough to be distracting. I was hoping that, for a World Series set, it would be gone, as people who are buying this set have spent a lot to have to view the entire series with the logo in the top corner.
A positive note that must be mentioned is the set's use of the inserts for each of the discs. Instead of just slapping on some basic graphics, the inserts (both inside and out) provide a scorecard, game highlights, trivia, attendance, number of pitches, game running time and trivia. All the information you need to know about each game has been fit onto the cover.
Note: This set includes the entire 1977 World Series, as well as the close, tense 5th game of the ALCS, where the Yankees moved ahead in the 9th inning versus the Royals.
VIDEO: The games are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio by A & E. The games are from 1977 and, quite honestly, they look like it. While the presentations are watchable and they could probably look even worse, the fact does remain that these look as if they're worn tape copies, with sharpness and detail that ranges from passable to hazy, with noticable grain/fuzz, some mild shimmer and some traces of artifacting. Colors seem natural, with no issues. Overall, these were watchable presentations, but fans should not expect these to look fresh.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack of the games sound perfectly fine although, as with the video, there are some minor imperfections in the source material. However, the audio is mildly thin and flat, but clear.
EXTRAS: The final DVD (game 5 of the ALCS) includes a series of short bonus features. We get a brief look at both the victory celebration by the Yanks, as well as the trophy presentation. There's also rare interviews (Reggie Jackson, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Lou Piniella, George Steinbrenner, Chris Chambliss, Mickey Rivers, Roy White, Paul Blair, Brian Doyle, Dusty Baker and Burt Hooton. We also get a closer look at Reggie Jackson's 3-HR game and the infamous Billy Martin/Reggie Jackson confrontation that was caught by cameras.
Final Thoughts: While the video quality does look dated (although I'm sure it's probably not that far from broadcast quality), this is otherwise an excellent set that should please Yankees fans. Recommended.