DVD Review – St. Louis Cardinals Championship Collection
Presenter: Major League Baseball Productions
Studio: A&E Video
When it came to baseball, my dad was always a St. Louis Cardinals fan. He didn’t grow up there, but it was his team as much as any native’s. Now, there are two types of sons: the rebels who would have rooted for the Cubs just out of spite and the ones who cheer for the same teams their dad always did. I’m the latter, a Cardinals fan from birth. I grew up watching them when they weren’t that good, a drought in the 90s with no NL Pennants and obviously no World Series rings. But I never gave up hope in the quality of my team, and finally they came through for me and other fans around the country. With World Series trips in 2004, 2006, 2011, and 2013, the Cardinals were a legitimate force. But they have also been so throughout the history of the game, a baseball dynasty with championships in its blood. This DVD chronicles the greatest moments of the past eighty years, the titles of a team that has always been rich in talent and in history.
Disc 1 features game by game coverage of five World Series championships: 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, and 1982. In 1944 the St. Louis Cardinals faced the St. Louis Browns, both teams sharing the same home field. The Cardinals won in six games under manager Billy Southworth. In 1946 the St. Louis Cardinals faced the Boston Red Sox, with Enos Slaughter’s “Mad Dash” to home plate. The Cardinals won in seven games under manager Eddie Dyer. In 1964 the St. Louis Cardinals faced the New York Yankees, leading to the firing of Yogi Berra. The Cardinals won in seven games under manager Johnny Keane. In 1967 the St. Louis Cardinals faced the Boston Red Sox, a rematch of the ’46 classic. The Cardinals won in seven games under manager Red Schoendienst. In 1982 the St. Louis Cardinals faced the Milwaukee Brewers, the “Sud Series” between beer towns. The Cardinals won in seven games under manager Whitey Herzog.
Disc 2 features game by game coverage of two World Series championships: 2006 & 2011. Both segments are Official World Series Films, the first narrated by Billy Bob Thornton and the second narrated by Jon Hamm. In 2006 the St. Louis Cardinals faced the Detroit Tigers, Adam Wainwright emerging as a star closer. The Cardinals won in five games under manager Tony La Russa. During the regular season, St. Louis had a record of 83-78, which was the second-worst record ever for a league champion. They beat the 95-67 Tigers easily in five. In 2011 the St. Louis Cardinals faced the Texas Rangers, MVP David Freese delivering game savings hits. The Cardinals won in seven games under manager Tony La Russa. During the regular season, St. Louis was behind the Atlanta Braves for the Wild Card spot, but took the berth thanks in part to a Braves collapse. The Cardinals were one strike away from losing the Series twice in game six, only to come through with clutch hitting and eventually win in front of their home crowd.
Watching Disc 1 is like a walk through baseball history. The names that jump out from the screen are some of the greatest in the sport; Yogi, Whitey, Red, Enos. To see the games being played one by one in that era is really fascinating and so very different from the game as it is today. These classic games are etched in time and each led to where the St. Louis Cardinals are today as a franchise. Any fan of this team or of the game can appreciate this rich history. The DVD runs two hours and forty-eight minutes, with roughly 30 minutes given to each World Series. They are not tied together in any way and can be watched separately or all in a row. Each Series has its own feel, but they are all presented in a game-by-game manner, allowing you to follow along with the pace of play.
The feel of Disc 2 is slightly different because of the recency of events. The names are still as big but they are modern characters, not legends yet: Carp, Waino, Pujols, Eckstein, Freese, La Russa. For a Cardinals fan watching this disc it is a reminder of what just happened, a look back on the glory of winning and the thrill of success. Some of these games are instant classics and will be remembered forever in baseball history, and the moments that defined them are captured forever and available to watch whenever the mood strikes. This DVD also runs for two hours and forty-eight minutes, with roughly 80 minutes given to each World Series. They are also not tied together and can be watched separately, but have the same feel & general delivery. Both narrators are strong, with my preference being for Jon Hamm in the 2011 Championship video.
Video – Disc 1 is done in full screen with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Disc 2 is done in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Of course the second disc has a clearer picture quality and is quite enjoyable to view, with the first disc being nostalgic & classic but not crisp.
Audio – The audio was done in Dolby Digital English 2.0. There are no sound options on either disc and no subtitles. Again, of course the second disc has a better sound quality.
Extras – There are no extras with either DVD.
Rent It. This is really only a collection for either Cardinals fans or extreme baseball enthusiasts. That said, it’s a must-own if you love St. Louis, as you can watch the moments of glory over & over again. The championships are detailed nicely and kept separate for your convenience, which is nice, and the quality of the work put into the collection is strong. The video is fine, the audio is passable, and there are no extras. A DVD for the super-fan & for baseball aficionados.
✰ ✰ ✰ – Content
✰ ✰ ✰ – Video
✰ ✰ ✰ – Audio
✰ – Extras
✰ ✰ – Replay