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DVD Review: The 2009 World Series Film

Title: 2009 New York Yankees: The Official World Series Film
Produced by: Major League Baseball

The first thing I noticed about this DVD is that it’s really good to be the winner. The clips you see that cycle through in the menu while you wait for your boyfriend to finish folding his laundry so you can watch the DVD together? They are all of the Yankees. The only Phillies player you see is the hapless schmuck chasing Damon from second to third. Even Damaso Marte gets a full slo-mo clip, which is better than you can say for Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, or Chase Utley. This is probably a reflection of the fact that MLB Productions knows darn well that these DVDs are bought by the fans of the winners, and they cater to them. These are the fruits of victory, after all, and I plan to enjoy them all winter.

Yes, in many ways this is less a “World Series film” than it is a Yankees celebration, and given the title of the “film,” and watching the actual DVD, it’s no surprise that it’s very Yankee-heavy. Not only is there a much longer and more extensive recap of the Yankees’ regular season than the Phillies’, but the Yankees’ ALDS and ALCS exploits are sketched in somewhat more fully than the Phils’. In fact, the names of the Phillies’ opponents aren’t even given and the highlights shown from the NLDS and NLCS are more of a montage, not even giving the scores of the games.

I didn’t mind this as an entertainment experience, but part of me feels like if you gloss over too much, the DVDs really can’t serve as much of a historical record. (Well, not to worry, one of the OTHER gifts I got under the tree this year was the 2009 Yankees World Series set, which includes the complete game broadcasts of Game 6 of the ALCS and all the World Series games. My favorite feature of the DVD set? You can choose which audio track to listen to. At last, the perfect synchrony between Fox HD tv and the John Sterling/Suzyn Waldman broadcast.)

But back to the single WS DVD. Ultimately it is the story of the Yankees’ coronation and I feel this may have worked against the entertainment value of the disc ultimately, because it didn’t create much of a sense of suspense. Granted, suspense is limited since anyone watching the DVD in the first place knows that the Yankees won. But if the DVD isn’t going to serve as a historical record because of how much it leaves out, then shouldn’t it at least attempt to recapture the excitement of the games? It was fun to revisit the games in the presentation the producers chose, but it didn’t succeed for me as drama.

Perhaps part of that is the fact that nothing can compare to being there, which I was for every postseason game at Yankee Stadium except two. Or perhaps 2009 just didn’t have the same level drama that the 1996 or 2001 World Series had, the two in recent memory that I automatically compare each year to. But I feel the lack of drama in the DVD is more caused by the fact that they chose to present it less as a tension-filled drama and more as a fait accompli.

My favorite of all the World Series films I’ve seen so far is still the 1996 one, which managed to capture both sides’ points of view, and incorporated a lot of really good footage (Cone walking by himself down the tunnel to the field) and fun stuff of fan interest. And the writing did a great job of really slowing down and capturing the turning point moments in the games (Jeter’s pop fly that wasn’t caught because the umpire was in Dye’s way).

My favorite parts of the 2009 DVD actually are all the time-lapse sections they have of action around Yankee Stadium. Cooking sausages, fans going through turnstiles and up the ramps, et cetera. Really nice touch. But there’s no mention of the fact that Nick Swisher changed his batting stance drastically partway through the series, nor of Matsui’s cortisone shots in his knees during the season, nor of the Posada/Molina flap. For a two hour presentation, it felt like a lot was missing. The best segment in it is actually the recap of the Yankees’ 2009 season at the beginning.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t buy it, of course. The fait accompli style of reporting is fine for evoking nostalgia, and probably when I watch this again in five or ten years, I’ll enjoy it more. And don’t get me wrong. I like it now. I just would have made different choices about the presentation and the writing. Lucky for me I can always re-read my own gamers from here in Why I Like Baseball.

FTC Disclosure: I was not given this DVD to review, nor do I receive any monetary compensation for its mention UNLESS you count the small kickback I could receive from people purchasing the DVD through the Amazon affiliate purchase box below:

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