December 11, 2007

World Series DVDs

It's here! The 2007 World Series box set hits stores today.

Its eight discs include the four World Series games, ALCS Games 5-6-7 and a bonus disc. One fantastic highlight: three audio options -- the radio teams from both the Red Sox and Rockies, in addition to the Fox TV team.

MLB joined the television box set craze in 2004 by releasing (through A&E) a 12-DVD Red Sox collection. A total of nine World Series boxes have been released to date: 1975, 1977, 1979, 1986, 1987, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

(Disclosure: Earlier this year, A&E asked me to review a couple of the collections. They sent me 1986 and 2004. The 2004 was a mistake; I was supposed to get 1975. I used 2004 as part of the prize in the JoS W-L contest and bought 1975 on my own. I'll be ordering 2007 soon.)

More box sets are on the way. An A&E spokeswoman told me that the 1978 and 1988 World Series will be released next year (for the 30th and 20th anniversaries, respectively). She didn't know if the sets will go back earlier than 1975, but it sounds like every year after that will be available eventually. (I would think that a 1969 Mets box, even if the games are not 100% complete, packaged for the 40th anniversary, would sell quite well.)

After 2004, MLB produced a Yankees Fall Classic box covering 1996-2001. There are five World Series games -- 1996 Game 4, 1998 Game 3, 1999 Game 3, 2000 Game 4, 2001 Game 4 -- yet none of them are series-clinchers. At the time, I thought it was an interesting statement of how MLB viewed the purchasing habits of Red Sox and Yankees fans. Now, with the concept humming along nicely, and the Yankees/Dodgers 1977 World Series available in its entirety, I assume that each (sorta) recent Yankee championships will be getting its own box. MLB has also released collections of Cubs and Cardinals games (including Game 1 of the 1968 World Series) and a Cal Ripken-themed Orioles set.

I love these collections. They are beautifully boxed and reasonably priced for the amount of discs included. Every so often, I have the urge to buy them all. Would I actually sit down and watch every game of the 1979 World Series? Probably not, but the urge to own the box is strong. The chronological flow of the spines appeals to the collector in me, as it probably does to many other fans as well.

Each game disc is packaged in a thin, clear plastic case containing various bits of trivia about the game/series, with the box score on the back cover and the play-by-play on the inside of the case. The menu features the game's line score so viewers can start at any half-inning.

The 1975 box contains all seven games between Cincinnati and Boston. Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek, Dick Stockton and Ned Martin call the action for NBC. It's a joy and a revelation to watch these games -- minimal replays, laughably crude graphics, no quick-cut close-ups from pitcher to batter to fan to bench to pitcher (a horrible disruption to the game's natural flow and tension) and an astonishing lack of hype, even at the start of Game 7. ... Actually, it's not a total joy; Larry Barnett can burn in hell.

For bonus material, the 1975 set features 30 clips, including a few pre-game interviews, an on-field interview with Fisk after his Game 6-winning home run and Cincinnati's championship rally. Most of the clips are interviews conducted specifically for this set.

The 1986 set includes the Mets' 16-inning, pennant-clinching win over Houston. The bonus disc, in addition to the lockerroom celebration and interviews, has highlights from the NLCS. It's also a bit uncomfortable to watch Bill Buckner stutter and fidget during the first few minutes of his interview. I've also always wondered if the "Congratulations Red Sox" message on the Shea scoreboard was a myth (to my knowledge, no photo exists), but both Knight and Dwight Evans acknowledge looking up with two outs and seeing it.

An Interesting Discovery: 2004 and 2007 have allowed me to watch the 10th inning of Game 6 (and listen to Ray Knight talk about it) as a normal baseball fan. No serious anger or sadness -- more of a mix of wistful disbelief and wonder. Did that really happen?

Re 1986: In the 10th inning of Game 6, 1918 is mentioned only once -- right after Boston secures the second out -- in an on-screen graphic showing how many years have passed since the Cubs, White Sox and Red Sox each won their last title. Vin Scully's only comment is to mention the vast financial differences in the players' shares of 1918 versus 1986. That's it. Nothing about Boston's championship drought or how Red Sox fans are so long-suffering -- and certainly no mention of a curse. The media had not yet invented that. Even in the intro to Game 7, two days later, and during Buckner's first at-bat, there is no direct mention of the error and no replay at all. (There is plenty of curse talk in the voiceover to some bonus clips, however.)

The sets, while wonderfully packaged, are not perfect. First, while I have not had any issues with any of the games I've watched so far, I have read complaints about the sound and video quality of some of the sets.

Second, there is very little pre-game coverage on the 1975 and 1986 sets. All of the discs begin with the broadcast already underway, joining the announcers for the starting lineups or as the home team takes the field. I can't think of any reason why MLB could not include the complete broadcast.

The play-by-play on the 1986 cases is imprecise, with vague descriptions such as "Evans makes an out to left" and "Hernandez makes an out to right". The 1975 and 2004 sets rightly include "flies out", "lines out" and "pops out". I understand this many not matter to most people.

In the 2007 World Series, Fox missed several pitches because it was trying to cram extra commercials in between innings. This is inexcusable and I'll assume that the recent box includes the pitches Fox failed to show us in October.

There is also the issue of completeness. Because of the historical importance (and complete awesomeness!) of Boston's ALCS comeback and its long-awaited championship, including as many games in the 2004 collection made sense. But why did MLB omit the ALDS? The set was already 12 discs -- why not 15?

For the 2007 set, only the final three (must-win) games of the ALCS are included. Why not the entire Red Sox post-season -- or at least Boston's other four victories? The answer is likely cost: more games = more discs = higher price and presumably fewer customers.

But the vast majority of people buying this set (or receiving it as a gift) will be Red Sox fans! And the serious fans among us want the entire thing. MLB is selling individual DVDs of the 2007 World Series games at its website, but not any other post-season games. Why not? If those other Red Sox playoff games were available for separate purchase, obsessed fans could happily own the entire post-season.

I have my issues with many things MLB does, but considering the inability to please everyone with a project like this, MLB has done a fantastic job making these games available at a relatively modest price.

The older boxes are a godsend. Red Sox fans can re-watch the 1975 series (and younger fans can watch the games for the first time); Yankee fans can go back in time to 1977; and Pirate fans can enjoy 1979. And the addition of the enhanced audio on the 2007 set shows that MLB is open to improving the sets as time goes on.

33 comments:

Andy K said...

great review - thank you

Devine said...

Yeah, the alternate audio is a clincher.

Does the 2007 set include the "World Series Film" (this time narrated by Matt Damon) as the 2004 set included it (narrated by Denis Leary)? I haven't been able to find out definitively, and am wondering if I'll have to shell out more for it at some point (AND the NESN version as well).

My copy's in the mail...just gotta wait.

redsock said...

Does the 2007 set include the "World Series Film" (this time narrated by Matt Damon) as the 2004 set included it (narrated by Denis Leary)?

It looks like it does not. I'll try to find out for sure.

Jeff said...

I'm guessing the issue with the ALDS is one of rights; ESPN (2004) and TBS (2007) might not have allowed the games they broadcast to be included.

redsock said...

Jeff, you are probably right. Thankfully, I was able to get some fan-made DVDs of the 2004 ALDS.

Still, these are MLB games and MLB should have the right to re-release them. And thus, MLB lost out on potential $$.

Why would TBS own the rights to the playoff games? There should be a clause in their contract about releasing the games in a box and who gets what.

matt said...

Does the 2007 set include the "World Series Film" (this time narrated by Matt Damon) as the 2004 set included it (narrated by Denis Leary)? I haven't been able to find out definitively, and am wondering if I'll have to shell out more for it at some point (AND the NESN version as well).

I think it does. According to the Amazon product page, the set has 8 discs. Since we know they're only including ALCS games 5, 6, and 7 and the four WS games, it would leave one to think the missing eighth disc would be the World Series Film. Of course, I could be completely wrong.

redsock said...

Pretty sure the 8th disc is a bonus disc of locker room stuff, trophy presentation, parade and behind-the-scenes WS stuff (like the O-Cab handshake feature in the 2004 video).

redsock said...

And some of the suit jackets worn by Kubek and Stockton for the 1975 games ... oh my god.

Devine said...

Certainly that bonus disc is where the World Series Film appeared in the 2004 version, but I'm wondering if MLB got wise to the fact that people (like me) WILL pay over again to have the same thing re-hashed a different way and removed the film from the package set accordingly.

God, I can't wait till (however many years from now) you get to choose your feed on Extra Innings/MLB.TV and have better audio options (remove announcer but leave crowd noise, home/away radio announcers for the video broadcast if you wish, etc.)

redsock said...

You're right - it is part of the 2004 bonus disc.

The descriptions at both A&E and MLB don't say much. The Amazon description of the bonus disc says:

"Bonus Material: Clubhouse Celebration; 2007 World Series Trophy and MVP Presentation; AL Eastern Division and ALDS Clinching Highlights; Manny Ramirez's ALDS Game 2 Walk-Off Home Run; Team Interviews; 2007 Highlights - Four consecutive home runs versus New York Yankees, Kevin Youkilis Inside-The-Park Homerun, Last Out Clay Buchholz's No-Hitter, David Ortiz Walk-Off Homerun"

I'd be surprised if the WS DVD is part of it.

Fragile Freddy said...

Does anyone know how to get the Spanish language broadcast of the games? I have a Cuban-born father who would love to have the games in Spanish but he's been shutout so far.

And any chance of sharing with us who you got the 2004 ALDS DVDs? I'd love to have 'em and am perfectly willing to pay for them (assuming they are decent quality). I realize you don't want to get into trouble with MLB though.

redsock said...

In the months after the 2004 WS, several SoSHers took various recordings that had been made of the games and burned a bunch of DVD-Rs of the entire post-season.

This was well before MLB's box came out. The guys charged what the cost of the discs were. So I got the entire post-season and some NESN locker room and parade stuff for about $35. Then when MLB's set came out, I bought that.

I recently saw a website that sells DVDs of World Series and various playoff games/series. I know the 2004 ALDS was there because the guy running it mentioned that it's not part of the box and you could only get it from him.

I printed out a page from the site so I had the URL, but cannot find it now.

Going to The Google may help, but I will say it was tough to find. I was searching for places (bit torrent and the like) that might have the 2007 Red Sox games that MLB is refusing to sell to us.

(Dear MLB: Make this stuff available already!. We'll gladly pay you for it.)

I know nothing about this guy or his discs, but when I find the URL, I'll share it.

Amy said...

I remember the 75 and 86 series so clearly (the 75 series was my first season as a Sox fan, having moved to Boston that summer). I remember thinking in 2003/4 that I must have been suffering some long term memory loss because I had no recollection of any "curse" talk in those earlier years. Good to know my recollections were not inaccurate.

As for the "unofficial" copies of the various MLB games, you don't really want my legal advice, do you?

Jere said...

Joy, does the '75 set include any footage from the ALCS? I never see any footage of that, and I can barely even find photos of it.

redsock said...

As for the "unofficial" copies of the various MLB games, you don't really want my legal advice, do you?

No, I don't!!

But as long as no money is changing hands, I think it's fine. Same thing with the many concerts I download. It's completely free, shared between fans, and anyone who doesn't play by those rules is an enemy.

Plus there is a big difference between getting a copy of an otherwise unavailable concert and getting a copy of a something that is commercially available.

If MLB does not make the 2007 ALDS available for purchase, I see nothing wrong with getting those games on disc from someone else. If MLB did make them available, I would gladly pay MLB because the quality and durability would likely be better.

Until then, though ....

redsock said...

Jere:

There is nothing on the 1975 ALCS or NLCS. There are general interviews on the overall series and some interviews with players about certain moments in the series (very biased towards games 6 and 7), plus the Cincinnati rally after the series, but it is all WS stuff.

I think a 1975 Post-Season Box would be great, with the ALCS and NLCS sweeps too. I would also love to see some of the 1972-73-74 A's footage.

redsock said...

Somewhere I have most of Don Larsen's perfect WS game on a VHS tape (I think ESPN ran it once).

There are bits anbd pieces of stuff out there and I hope MLB gathers it all together in some logical manner and makes it readily available.

It's just sitting on a shelf somewhere. Why not make some money with it?

Amy said...

Well, you said you didn't want my advice, so I am not giving it. All I will say is that if you consider the success the recording industry has had against those who download music for "free," you may want to rethink your views of how the law defines fair use for copyright purposes.

At any rate, until MLB acts like the RIAA, there doesn't seem to be much of a chance of testing this one out.

redsock said...

But don't those cases generally involve someone posting copies of the new now-in-stores album by Band X?

As opposed to last night's Bob Dylan show or a 1987 audience tape of the Long Ryders -- things that will never ever ever be released by a label, but MUST be had by fans of the artist?

redsock said...

P.S.: Just because I don't want your advice -- and a smiley face should have gone along with that comment -- doesn't mean you can't give it.

Amy said...

Don't worry---you didn't scare me off from giving advice. I am more than happy to share my opinions on almost anything, especially copyright law---which is one thing I actually know about.

There is no easy answer to the legality of taping the games and sharing copies of those tapes. Obviously, MLB asserts quite clearly that it has an interest in protecting its copyrights in its broadcasts, as it states with every single broadcast. Taping the games to watch at another time is safe, as the Supreme Court said that time shifting is fair use. But making extra copies and distributing them? Well, there is no clearcut answer. Simply because you do not profit is not itself determinative, nor is the fact that the work is or is not commercially available elsewhere. It's a question of balancing a number of factors, and MLB might very well prevail IF they ever wanted to sue.

I am happy to share more on this, but I don't want to hijack the topic here or bore everyone to death. :)

redsock said...

Actually, in watching some movies recently, I noticed in the copyright disclaimer that making copies of the film -- even without any monetary gain -- was prohibited.

redsock said...

I am happy to share more on this, but I don't want to hijack the topic here or bore everyone to death.

It's the off-season, it's one thread, and the writer of the blog is the other person in the conversation. How much of a hijack could it be!

Dave said...

First of all, your review is all the explanation anyone could ever need for why this blog has the name Joy of Sox. Thanks!

As for: "...and certainly no mention of a curse. The media had not yet invented that." I recall, the 'curse' never existed until CHB's 1990 book, "The Curse of the Bambino". Am I wrong?

Amy said...

Rather than try and describe the whole fair use doctrine myself, let me refer you to this website prepared by Stanford Law School, which accurately describes the doctrine and also provides a list of cases. I think you will see that copying and distributing tapes of games, even for free and even of games not yet being sold by MLB, is not likely to be considered a fair use.

You can find the website here

I am happy to discuss this further, perhaps off site if that is more appropriate?

redsock said...

In a lawsuit commonly known as the Betamax case, the Supreme Court determined that the home videotaping of a television broadcast was a fair use. This was one of the few occasions when copying a complete work (for example, a complete episode of the "Kojak" television show) was accepted as a fair use. Evidence indicated that most viewers were "time-shifting" (taping in order to watch later) and not "library-building" (collecting the videos in order to build a video library).

What is the potential harm to the copyright holder if, after watching the Kojak tape two days later when you had time, you kept the tape on the shelf because either you thought a soon-to-be visiting friend would want to see it or you might want to see it again in two years (again, on your own time like the initial viewing and not when a re-run is broadcast)?

Amy said...

What is the potential harm to the copyright holder if, after watching the Kojak tape two days later when you had time, you kept the tape on the shelf because either you thought a soon-to-be visiting friend would want to see it or you might want to see it again in two years (again, on your own time like the initial viewing and not when a re-run is broadcast)?

There may be no real harm from that conduct, but there are a number of ways of responding to your point.

First, one potential harm from "library building" as opposed to "time-shifting" is the potential effect it will have if the copyright owner wants to sell copies of that program. Today many producers are releasing DVDs of current shows as well as older shows. Who would buy one of these if they could have built their own library by keeping tapes? The effect of time shifting is much more limited, although the TV studios had argued that they would lose the re-run market as well as lose revenues from advertisers who could not measure those who taped a show and watched it later.

Secondly, the Supreme Court did not actually reach the question of whether library building was a fair use. The defendants in the case, SONY, framed the issue as one of time-shifting, trying to get the court to rule that there were some legitimate uses of a VCR and that therefore selling the machines was not an act of contributory infringement, just like selling a camera is permissible, even though it may be used at times to infringe someone's copyright. Thus, one could still litigate the question of whether "library building" is a fair use, but I still think it is not an easy case to win, for the reasons described above.

Finally, there is still a big difference between taping and keeping ONE copy and taping and distributing multiple copies to others.

(FYI, there is a specific statutory provision, the Audio Home Recording Act of 1990, that allows for home taping of music, but subject to very specific conditions. For example, downloading music from the internet is not covered by that provision.)

Luna said...

I'm really excited about the alternative audio, because McCarver/Buck was painful enough the first time. And I'm also totally going to shell out for the NESN dvd as well as the WS boxed set, so it seems pretty clear that major league baseball has got my number.

As for distributing copies, don't you practically have to have MLB's express written consent to even mention that a game of baseball might have been played at some point? Not that casual distribution among friends is likely to be targeted if it isn't massive, but they're pretty aggressive about their property.

Jere said...

MLB is the worst when it comes to this stuff. I've --er, a friend of mine--has put up plenty of copyrighted stuff on the web, but he puts a ten second clip of a Dwight Evans HR in 1990 off Sportschannel and MLB will get it taken down.

Here's a question for Amy (besides Did you get your tix??). Can you actually get "expressed written consent" from MLB? Or from anybody? Is it like getting a doctor's note? Can I just write them and say, "I'm a blogger who has some of your copyrighted material on tape and I'd like to post it on the web for entertainment purposes, and I promise I'll make NO money off of it, nor will try to take credit for it. Please put me over into your "allowed to use our shit" column. Thanks!"?

(Again, this is for a friend of mine, Manny Ortez.)

Amy said...

Dear "Manny," I have no professional experience dealing with MLB, but I am sure that, like Disney, they wouldn't be too generous. Disney once sued a day care center for painting copyrighted Disney characters on its walls. And I am sure MLB would tell you that if they let you do it, everyone else will want to also.

Of course, I have to give you the usual disclaimer that I am not providing you with legal advice and not creating an attorney-client relationship. Just giving you a general view of how these companies tend to behave about these things. If you really want permission from MLB, I'd get an actual practicing lawyer to give you some advice, not an academic!

PS No tickets yet. I know, really stupid. We actually drove past Fenway on Saturday, and I said, "Hey, they are selling tickets today." But we never did anything about it. So, yeah, I won't be complaining come April and May when I can't get those tickets

Jere said...

Still SRO and single seats for April, May, and Sept on the website now. And there will be the full sale in late Jan/early Feb. You've still got time.

Thanks for the answer. It just seems like there must be a way to get the consent since they say you can't use their stuff without it. If you can't get it, the should just say "you can't use our stuff at all. Ever."

Amy said...

Jere, sure there's away...they want your money! (Now don't get me wrong---I am just the messenger; I am not saying the law here makes sense.)

I will keep my eyes open for tickets. It's hard for me to get to games until June when classes are over, unless I go on a weekend, and those are the hardest tickets to get. Plus I refuse to pay the outrageous prices charged by ticket brokers or Ebay sellers.

Ben said...

Off-topic for the thread, but I just saw this:

article

Rumor that Roger Clemens will be on the Mitchell report. Funny!