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2021 World Series:Collectors Edition
I've been out of some kind of loop when it comes to baseball and with life getting in the way of things in 2021 all the more so, but imagine my surprise when it was the Atlanta Braves back in the saddle when it came to some form of success. I do remember them stinking the joint up for a few years but more than that, I remember their usual act of close but no cigar in the early 1990s. With the demon slain and a World Series ring earned, Shout! and Major League Baseball put together their annual Collector's Edition for the champions.
And for good reason too; Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley, and Freddie Freeman each had 30 home runs, with the first two having driven in more than 100 runs each. Charlie Morton and Max Fried logged 14 wins each from the pitcher's mound, and Will Smith (not the (Men in Black guy) logged 37 saves as the closer.
The first half of the season was much different that the second; talented right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. tore his ACL in July (he'd won the Player of the Month in May) and was out for the rest of the year, and this was after left fielder Marcell Ozuna, who had signed a contract extension in the offseason, was arrested and charged for physically abusing his wife. The city was due to host the All-Star-Game in July, but MLB moved it as a reaction to voting laws the state had previously passed. Along with all of this, the Braves were a very ordinary 52-53 at the end of July.
Then August game and things took off, with the team logging an 18-8 record, including 12 of 14 on the road. They closed out September winning 10 of 12 and found themselves in the NLDS where they swept the Milwaukee Brewers after dropping the first game. It was assumed they would lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS but held them off to win four games to two, where they played the Houston Astros, who were returning to the Series following cheating allegations that wrecked the club after their series win several years ago. The two sides split the first two in Houston before building on momentum at home, winning two of three. In Game Six in Houston it was anticlimactic, with Freeman, Dansby Swanson and MVP Jorge Soler each with home runs to shut out the Astros and bring a championship to the ATL.
Shout! and MLB do their usual thing here, showing each of the games (and an important other one) in all of their glory. In addition, the World Series film, narrated by Christopher "Ludacris" Bridges, is included too. It shows the players' chatting to each other on microphone introductions to each game and tense moments throughout, interspersed with game video.
It's a nice set to be sure, and perhaps this is all that fans of the winning team really need when it comes to remembering how things were for the team they rooted for, but when it comes to the set over a larger timeline, it seems to potentially have turned into a paint by numbers operation where both Shout! and MLB make sure they get the important stuff, recap the stuff we see on all of the other discs, and that's it. It tends to lack some personality for the hosts of the winners, a lack of ownership or connection to the thing, and the result is essentially a multi-disc case version of a championship shirt. Nice to have and show your friends, but something that wears out its welcome before it goes to Goodwill. In a way, that's how baseball has become on the landscape from the ‘90s to now, but hopefully they find a way to do something refreshing to these sets.The Blu-ray:
The original broadcast video for each of the games (and the clinching win over the Dodgers) is included here, with your choice of playing the game, selecting an individual half inning or just watching the postgame. Given sports productions are generally fancy in quality things look fine here for several months-old work, color looks natural as do flesh tones, image detail is also loyal and any flaws in production are replicated here. Looks as one would expect it to.The Sound:
The game audio (in DTS-HD 2.0) is available here, and the Spanish track is an option as well, along with the radio broadcasts from both teams. Shout and MLB get as much here as you could ask for, however this approach has been generally been the same with each of these releases.The Extras:
Looking at the extras from the film, you've got "How They Got There" (6:35), a slightly self-explanatory journey on the team's players and season,. "Walk-Offs" (5:41) with the final runs in wins during same, "Clinching Moments" (6:31) where the team got the last out in various memorable games, and some of the city parade through the streets (1:44)Final Thoughts:
It's nice to have eight discs that show you how much your team had to overcome to win the trophy (as one of my sons would say), but the lack of the slightest compelling narrative has turned the Collector's Editions a little stale. Whether it's the World Series film, or a Year in Review, or some wrinkle to the game discs is in order, you start to wonder who it is that these sets are for, because they seem more obligatory than creative. Technically it looks fine, supplements are what they are. Go buy it for the Atlanta sports fan in your life.