I am totally exhausted today. No it is not a result of partying all night after the Diamondbacks beat the Houston Astros nor was it an all-night celebration commemorating the Diamondbacks being back in town. The blame for my exhaustion lies squarely with A&E Home Video. From April through October I am consumed with baseball. I spend nearly every waking moment either at Chase Field watching a Diamondbacks game or catching a game via satellite or on XM Radio. My kids constantly explain to their friends, “During baseball season, if it doesn’t appear on the JumboTron then dad doesn’t know it exists.” That’s not completely true, I do try to remain abreast of current events by catching Baseball Tonight on ESPN whenever my schedule allows. So last week when I was approached and asked if I would like to review a video DVD my first reaction was to decline. The earliest I could possibly commit to sitting down and watching a movie would be 3 days after the World Series parade celebrating the 2008 baseball champion. But as I heard more and more about the video I was being asked to review I knew I would have to make an exception.
The A&E Home Video group is responsible for introducing several documentaries that pique my interest. In the past I have seen some of their product offerings advertised and had wondered about the quality. Through the Major League Baseball web site A&E Home Video had offered World Series collections that documented some of the best World Series in history. Each time I saw one of these advertised I would rush over to see if the 2001 World Series was among the product offerings. As a Diamondbacks fan I may be a little biased but I truly believe that the 2001 Series was one of the greatest 7 game series ever to be played. Unfortunately though A&E Home Video had not produced a 2001 World Series set. Instead the product offerings included New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox series leaving me to wonder why fans in the southwest had been left out.
It seems the A&E people had finally felt our pain and decided the timing was right to release a set chronicling the magic that was 2001. When I received a copy of the press release announcing this new DVD box set I had the sudden urge to move the furniture and begin doing cartwheels in my living room. Finally I would have the opportunity to relive each magical moment. This collector’s edition would include 7 DVDs which would cover each of the games of that series. I immediately marked my calendar for April 29 when this set would be available for purchase. As if that was not cool enough, I received an extremely cool email from Suzanne Dobson who works with A&E Home Video offering to send me a set for review. I could barely contain my excitement and eagerly accepted her generous offer. Arrangements were made and yesterday the Federal Express guy shows up at my house and rings the doorbell. I opened the door and seeing a package from A&E I nearly reached out and kissed him. An urge both me and the Fed Ex guy were gratefully passed without any action on either of our parts.
I took the package and retreated to the family room dancing around like a madman singing, “I have 2001 World Series DVDs, na, na, na, na” You know, writing that doesn’t sound nearly as cool as it did when I was dancing and singing. I opened the shipping container with all the care of Indiana Jones retrieving the Ark of the Covenant. I held up the packaging above my head in what must have looked like the opening credits to The Lion King (or if you’re a Diamondbacks fan like I am that title would be The Brandon Lyon King. It was the most beautiful packaging I had ever seen. Although I have gotten used to the new Sedona Red, Sonoran Sand, and Black color scheme there is just something amazing about seeing the Purple and Teal along with the words “2001 World Series”. I gently took the plastic covering off the package and removed the DVDs. The DVD cases are very cool. The spine of each slim case include the date of the game along with the final score. So those of us who have not yet completed psychological therapy can skip over the Byung-Hyun Kim meltdown and not have to endure the Yankee Stadium scoreboard proclaiming Derek Jeter as Mr. November. The other cool thing about the cases is the fact that there are statistics and summaries as well as a few tidbits of trivia on each one. From someone who grew up collecting baseball cards this was like a high-tech version of reliving a childhood memory. I put disc one in the DVD player and pressed the play button.
For Christmas I had received a Blu-Ray player and sense that time I have watched only high definition video playback. I’m starting to become a high-def snob as the images in 1080i are just so realistic. So I was a little apprehensive about what this video would be like since it was “only DVD” quality. I should have realized that A&E would take every step necessary to make the quality first rate. The sights and sounds of then Bank One Ballpark came alive as I began to relive the opening game on October 27, 2001. I was immediately lost in the pictures and sounds. Having actually been to games 1, 2, 6, and 7 I wondered if the videos would somehow dilute the experience but quite the contrary occurred. It brought back memories that had long been dormant (probably repressed after the 111 loss debacle of 2004). I found myself on the edge of my seat as I watched the game. Before long Trina had to come down and remind me that I did have a game to go to tonight at Chase Field. For a second I debated on whether to go to the game or stay home and watch the video. That is probably the highest tribute I can give if it makes me consider missing a game. I plan on continuing to watch this set not just one way through but over and over again. This DVD set is going to get a lot of use around our house at least until the Diamondbacks next trip to the World Series and then I’ll eagerly await a new set in Sedona Red.
Now for something completely cool; I was sent not one set of these videos but two. The second set was given to provide an opportunity for one lucky reader of Diary of a Diehard to have a set of their very own. The only question is, how would be the best way to award such a prize? So I need some help. Either post a comment, send me an email, or talk to me at Chase Field before a game and give me an idea for a contest and let’s see if we can somehow share the magic of the 2001 World Series.