Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912, but there is almost nothing in this set from before 1967. The obvious limitations of available video mean we don't get footage of the Joe Wood/Walter Johnson showdown from September 6, 1912 (though it's highlighted in one of the extra segments -- The Origins of Fenway Park), the clinching game of the 1918 World Series or the Red Sox's 29-4 rout of the Browns on June 8, 1950, but even so, the six games in this set are a huge disappointment.
Two of the games are available elsewhere and three of the remaining four are highly debatable choices:
September 30, 1967 - Carl Yastrzemski leads the Red Sox to a 6-4 win over the Twins in the next-to-last game of the Impossible Dream season. Boston clinched the pennant the following day. This complete game can also be found on NESN's "Impossible To Forget" DVD.
October 21, 1975; WS 6 - Carlton Fisk's 12th inning home run beats the Reds 7-6 and forces a Game 7. This game is part of the 1975 World Series box set, also produced by MLB/A&E.
April 29, 1986 - Roger Clemens strikes out 20 Mariners and Boston wins 3-1 before a small crowd of 13,414. Excellent choice!
July 13, 1999; All-Star Game - Pedro Martinez strikes out five batters in two innings. The title of the set is "Fenway Park Games" and not "Red Sox Games", but I still don't think this one belongs. The extras include Ted Williams throwing out the first pitch.
October 16, 1999; ALCS 3 - "Where Is Roger? In The Shower!" There was plenty of hype for this Pedro/Clemens showdown, but Clemens was pulled one batter into the third inning and the Red Sox won easily 13-1. It was Boston's only win in the five-game series. A questionable choice.
April 22, 2007 - The Red Sox hit four straight home runs against the Yankees. This half-inning is the very definition of "bonus footage". Indeed, it can be found as an extra on the 2007 World Series box set. It does not belong here.
The extras include (copied from the DVD box, errors and all):
Ted Williams: Fenway's Hometown HeroA few notes on the extras (some of which, like Buchholz's last inning, are available elsewhere):
Yaz 1968 World Series Highlights at Fenway
Yaz 400th HR and 3,000th hit
Red Sox Clinch 1986 ALCS in Fenway
Brunansky's amazing catch clinches 1990 AL East Crown
Last inning of Derek Lowe's No-Hitter (4/27/02)
Red Sox score 10 runs before making their first out (6/27/03)
Bill Mueller walk-off HR vs. Mariano Rivera (7/24/04)
Dave Roberts: "The Steal" 2004 ALCS Game 4
Big Papi's 2004 Postseason Walk-off Hits
Last inning of Clay Buchholz's No-Hitter (9/1/07)
The entire first inning of the June 27, 2003 game is not included. Only the first 11 batters are shown (with the radio broadcast audio), since the 12th hitter made an out. Thus, we don't get to watch the final eight Red Sox hitters of that historic inning. Johnny Damon became the first player to ever hit a single, double, and triple in the same inning, but his single (as the inning's 19th batter) is not shown.
Dave Roberts's steal is shown, but not the single that scored him. Also, only the final pitch (ball 4) to Kevin Millar is included.
Of David Ortiz's three game-winning hits in the 2004 post-season, only his ALDS-winning home run is shown in its entirety -- because he hit his bomb on the first pitch. Only the final two pitches of his four-pitch at-bat to end ALCS 4 are shown and we get only the final pitch of the epic 10-pitch at-bat that ended ALCS 5.
I can't believe there was not enough room on the DVD to show these entire innings and at-bats. It feels like they were copied in a hurry and haphazardly slapped together.
The metal case is sturdy, but when you open it up, all you see inside are six red discs. There is no booklet, no box scores of the games, no pictures, no information about these games at all except the dull one-sentence descriptions on the back of the case. In fact, I have given you more information on the games (such as the final scores) in this post.
A set of essential Fenway Park games is obviously a great idea -- and if it was reconfigured to be "essential Red Sox games", we could relive Pedro's 17 K, one-hit masterpiece in Yankee Stadium from September 1999 -- but this collection is decidedly unessential. MLB, despite all of its resources, has failed baseball fans yet again.
I cannot recommend anyone spending $50-60 for this, but if you are a completest and find it laying in a cut-out bin, grab it.
[Note: A&E sent me two free copies of this 6-DVD set. I'll be giving one away as part of the Yankee Elimination Day contest (details on Monday).]