The New York Mets Essential Games Of Shea Stadium
A&E Video // Unrated // $69.99 // June 3, 2008
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 23, 2008
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While I've discussed the increasing expenses at major league ballparks over the years in prior reviews - "the $25-50 tickets, $5.00 hot dog, $8.00 parking and $3.00 soda" - but it's fascinating to see one particular major league team over the years in this set that covers the New York Mets. While A & E have released plenty of World Series sets over the years, this set provides a series of some of the most famed games from the franchise.

Of course, no Mets compilation would be complete without including the legendary Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. For those unfamiliar with the famed game, the Mets had been winning games right and left during the regular season (they finished first in the National League East by an incredible 21.5 games), the postseason wouldn't be so easy. After clinching against the Astros in a 16-inning game, the Mets went on to face the terrific Red Sox in a series that would see the Red Sox look as if they were going to take the series. Down going into Game 6 (which started off with a random guy parachuting onto the field before being taken away), the Mets were losing going into the bottom of the 10th inning.

Suddenly - with two outs - the Mets staged a tremendous comeback that eventually saw them only one run away from tying things up. After a wild pitch while Mookie Wilson was at bat, the tying run came home and Boston's hopes for a win suddenly slipped away. Locking it in for the Mets was a devastating error by Bill Buckner of the Red Sox, as a grounder by Wilson slipped right by him, much to his apparent shock. The winning run arrived at the plate and the Mets (who had won 39 come-from-behind victories during the season) went on to win Game 7. As the tables turn, you can almost feel the energy of it all, even just watching it on DVD about twenty years after the fact.

The other games on the set are:

1. The 1969 World Series Game 4 (Vs. Baltimore)
2. 1986 NCLS Game 6 (Vs. Houston)
3. 1999 NCLS Game 5 (Vs. Atlanta)
4. 9/21/01 Game (Vs. Atlanta)
5. 5/19/06 Game (Vs. NY Yankees)
6. 1986 World Series Game 6 (Vs. Boston)

Aside from the legendary Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, another highlight is the 9/21/01 game, which was an emotional one for the city, as it was the first game to take place after the 9/11 attacks on the city. The game saw an energetic response from fans who were happy to find some comfort in watching the national pastime. The 1999 NCLS Game 5 also is certainly one to watch, as the exhausting 15-inning battle was finally concluded by a grand slam from Robin Ventura.

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. The additional concern on this particular title is, while the logo is still fairly small, on previous titles it was close to being transparent. This time around, it appears bolder/darker and, as a result, is more noticable. Given the fact that fans are paying a high price for the set, I don't believe it's asking too much to remove the logo on these World Series presentations.

Additionally, while it's terrific that A & E has shrunk the size of the set (in comparison to the hefty World Series sets, this set is put out in a thin metal case), that does mean collectors lose the sleeves with factoids that have been included on prior A & E baseball sets.)


VIDEO: These games range from the late '60's to one from 2006, and as one might expect, these presentations from A & E/Newvideo do vary quite a bit. Given the fact that the 1969 game is nearly 40 years old at this point, I was really rather surprised that it was in the condition that it was in. The presentation of the 1969 game remained soft and fuzzy throughout the show (although close-ups looked crisper and clearer), but considering the age of the material, definition exceeded expectations. There were some noticable instances of wear on the copy used, but again, considering the age of the broadcast, the overall impression remained positive. The newer games do look considerably better, appearing noticably crisper and cleaner, with brighter colors.

SOUND: The stereo (or mono) soundtracks of the games sound perfectly fine although, as with the video, there are some minor imperfections in the source material. Overall, the audio is mildly thin and flat, but clear.

EXTRAS: As with previous A & E/Newvideo baseball sets, we get a series of highlight clips, including: the last inning of the 1969 World Series, Gary Carter's game-winning HR from the 1985 Opening Day Game, highlights from the 1986 NL East Division Clincher, 1986 World Series Game 7 Highlights, Matt Franco 7/10/99 GW RBI, Todd Pratt GW HR 1999 NLDS Game 4, Mets Win Nat League Pennant 2000, 2006 walk-off moments, Mets clinch NL East 2006 and clutch catch by Endy Chavez in the 2006 NCLS Game 7.

Final Thoughts: This is a very nice package that presents six terrific games that will delight Mets fans - especially the legendary 1986 Game 6. Presentation quality is reasonably good and we do get the expected set of clips. Recommended for fans.

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