The 2013 Boston Red Sox season seemed to start more at the end of 2012, when Bobby Valentine helmed the club. The Sox included dysfunction, raw feelings, and bad communication for six months, resulting in a 93-loss season and his firing. The Sox front office decided to pursue Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell for the job, going so far as to trade roster players for him, which is slightly uncommon when it comes to managerial hires. After signing players such as Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Koji Uehara, it seemed to be somewhat uncertain as to how the team would shake out.
The team started well out of the blocks in April, with an 18 wins (to eight losses) record. Following a May when the team split their 30 games among equal wins and losses, that would be the last month where they would flirt with a .500 record. The team kept up their regular season play, finishing tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in baseball. In part, David Ortiz led their regular season performance. At 37, there was some question as to whether he had a lot in the tank. However, turning in a .309 average with 30 home runs and 103 runs batted in, Ortiz swiftly answered those questions. Napoli chipped in an additional 93 RBI, and with solid contributions from Victorino, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to complement a 15-win season from Jon Lester and 21 saves from Uehara among others, the relatively young manager Farrell led the Sox to the playoffs.
After dispatching the Tampa Bay Rays in four games (winning three), the presumptive favorites in the Detroit Tigers followed in the American League Championship Series. The Tigers had Miguel Cabrera, who followed up a Triple Crown (leader in homers , RBI and batting average), MVP-winning season with a similar one which earned him a second consecutive trophy. Though they had arguably the league's best pitcher in a down year, they also had Max Scherzer as a backup, who only had a 21-3 record as a pitcher. The Red Sox managed to beat Scherzer in two different outings and beat Verlander in a third and defeated the Tigers four games to two to win the ALCS, to face the aforementioned Cardinals.
The Series could easily have been described as the David Ortiz show. There were questions as to whether Ortiz, normally a Designated Hitter, could still show enough athleticism and range to play first base, questions that were subsequently answered with his fielding play. However, it was other aspects of his play that garnered attention. Ortiz was hitting at a torrential rate, with a batting average in the Series of more than .700(!), and after the Cardinals tied Game 5 at one run apiece, Ortiz brought the team together at the bench and gave them a proverbial kick in the pants, one that they would not soon forget. The team responded, winning the fifth game and clinching the Series in Game 6, the third Series win in a decade for a team that had not won one in more than 80 years beforehand. Ortiz finished the Series with a .688 average, two home runs and six RBI, showing everyone that he still had gas in the tank.
With this 2013 World Series Blu-ray Collector's Edition set, MLB Video and A&E have been joined by Lionsgate for this release, the first appearance by the studio that I am aware of. While previous World Series releases have been huge cardboard box expanses, the packaging for this set is small and sensible, and still includes the statistics and trivia for each game in the case as part of a booklet. If you want to relive the Series but had to delete that HD recording of a particular game because Homeland was on, this set has you covered, with discs for all of the Series games and the ALCS clincher, similar to previous releases have done. It attempts to put as much bang for your buck in here.The Blu-rays:
The games of the 2013 World Series come to Blu-ray in a 1.78:1 widescreen presentation and use the AVC codec in their fancy high definition discs. Considering how recent the games were to these releases the source material is clean as can be and sport a good amount of detail I players' postseason beards or in their uniforms. The evening blacks, which set the background against the games, are fairly consistent throughout and present little crushing moments in them. The MLB watermark which appeared in most of the other releases is not readily found here which is also a nice surprise and the discs are better than I expected them to be.Audio:
You get a DTS-HD MA 2.0 channel track as your default one and you are going to like it! In seriousness though, the action sounds good in the front of the soundstage and is robust enough but not so much that the subwoofer would have any reason to engage. As in the case with recent World Series releases, the set comes with the Spanish language broadcast audio and the two teams' respective radio teams' call of the action as alternate tracks.Extras:
There is a bonus disc which includes all of the Bosox walk-off victories, any pitcher and hitter milestones reached during the season, and relevant postseason highlights in the games leading up to the Red Sox Series appearance. Either they can be played individually or as a Play All function, the additional film runs 46:06. Not sure if the official World Series film is also handled by Lionsgate/MLB Video but again, its inclusion here would be a nice call.Final Thoughts:
The 2013 World Series Collector's Edition Blu-ray set includes nice transfers for all of the games, packing detail into them onscreen and trivia and factoids off that would sate the appetite of the die-hardest of the Sox fan. Technically the discs look good and the bonus material is decent if hardly earth shattering. With Christmas coming up, this is an easy buy for the Sawks person in your life.