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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Baseball's Seasons: The 1980s
Baseball's Seasons: The 1980s
A&E Video // Unrated // August 12, 2014
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted September 7, 2014 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

Major League Baseball during the 1980s saw a variety of moments; it saw records broken, it saw an unsettled work environment for its players, it saw issues with its free agency and some substance abuse, but the highs and lows just in this decade alone were fascinating to experience at the time when I was a fan. Now that there is an MLB Network, seeing some of these events play out in a series called "Baseball's Seasons" was fascinating to a degree.

Narrated by Curt Chaplin, the folks at MLB Video, A&E and Lionsgate have compiled the episodes of "Seasons" in a straightforward format, including the hour-long episodes that chronicle the 1980-1989 seasons. With a mix of vintage footage and interviews from those figures who were part of the history, each segment is a pleasant look at the season it is focused on, going from Spring Training until the last out of the World Series.

I was taken aback when the specials would look at the warts of Major League Baseball, starting with the strike in 1981 and the blowback the sport received from the fans as a result. But soon the show switches over to moments such as when the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in a playoff at the end of the 1982 season and the Orioles fans applauded Weaver, who had previously announced he would be retiring. Seeing the show cover that moment and others was a fond look back for a fan who has since renounced baseball.

And to the credit of Seasons, it could very easily have gotten swept up in the nostalgia of the moment like the Detroit Tigers' insane run of winning in the first two months of the season, or George Brett's chase of being the first person to hit .400 in a year in almost a half century. But it sticks to the overall theme of covering the highlights and an occasional lowlight, interviewing players that changed teams, or threw a no-hitter, or took over the record for most strikeouts all-time by a pitcher. Baseball's Seasons was something that was very difficult to fail in terms of producing, and MLB Video took the safe route and was rewarded.

So yeah, Baseball's Seasons covered each of the years of Major League Baseball in the 1980s and did so without getting overly distracted by anecdotes of a particular year which would be considered potentially boring by the viewer. It looks at the previous year for a moment, the promise of the year with several candidates set to potentially enjoy the World Series trophy, and gets a chance to look at the winner of said trophy at the end, with some timely and nostalgic remembrances thrown in for good measure. The show handles the job without fumbling it, and the DVDs follow suit in that regard.

The Discs:
The Video:

The episodes are spread over three discs, all of which are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen in all of its reformatted goodness. The interview segments that are modern look good and if nothing else, made me wistful that guys like Gary Carter and Weaver are no longer with us (cue the sigh). There are some flecks or objects in the print, though I would presume this is inherent in the source material being used. Overall, it looks like a straightforward reproduction of the broadcast episodes and they look fine.

The Sound:

Surprisingly, each of the episodes is graced with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track and while appreciated, the soundtrack does not get a lot to do over the course of all ten episodes. Dialogue sounds consistent and the listening experience lacks any memorable moments of channel panning or directional effects to communicate immersion. The source material is older and it sounds as good as it is liable to during these discs.

Extras:

Nothing of note other than the episodes.

Final Thoughts:

From MLB Video, Baseball's Seasons looks at the 1980s without forcing you to do cocaine in the restroom or listen to Jan Hammer, both of which are net positives. That the set of episodes has enough interviews with players of the era and highlights of same makes it solid if not unspectacular storytelling, one that carries "America's Pastime" admirably and without any real gripe to host. Technically, the discs are fine and from a bonus material perspective, one should not ask for too much and you get just that. But if you are a fan of these shows, I would just DVR them for the look back, the disc release is a tad unnecessary.

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