MLB Productions’ New Babe Ruth Bio Is One Of 2015’s Top New Sports Documentaries

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/A&E Networks/A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

Courtesy: Lionsgate/A&E Networks/A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

Major League Baseball’s 2015 season has officially hit the home stretch. Only a matter of weeks is left before the playoff field is set. That means that every single game counts now. And as things begin to heat up in the race for the post-season, MLB Productions has given fans even more reason to get excited about the game thanks to the release of the documentary American Hercules: Babe Ruth. Released earlier this year, American Hercules: Babe Ruth is an interesting look at the life and legacy of one of the league’s most mythical figures. The story presented within the course of its roughly sixty-three lies at the center of its enjoyment. The story in question is especially interesting for those that have always known Ruth’s name but little else about the man behind the myth. The footage featured throughout the presentation is another of its positives. It is a mix of modern day footage, and vintage footage used together to fully illustrate the documentary’s central story. The bonus material that is included with the documentary rounds out the presentation, completing it. Among the bonuses included in this presentation are the standard “making of featurette” an examination of Ruth’s World Series appearances, and even a look at Ruth’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Each extra in its own presents plenty of insight into who Babe Ruth was. Collectively, they add even more interest to the story of Babe Ruth the man, the myth, and the legend presented in the documentary’s main presentation. When combined with the documentary’s main presentation and the footage that is used to help illustrate the story, all three elements show exactly why American Hercules: Babe Ruth is one of the best of this year’s best sports documentaries.

American Hercules: Babe Ruth is one of the best of this year’s crop of new sports documentaries. While it was originally released late this spring, it is just as enjoyable for baseball fans now as the league makes its way through the last weeks of the regular season. It is just as enjoyable for any sports history buff as for baseball fans. The main way in which it proves itself to have such broad appeal is through the story at the center of the dcumentary. The story presented here is more than just another standard story of Babe Ruth’s baseball career. Rather it is the story of his life and career both on and off the field. From his days growing up in a troubled home to becoming an orphan growing up at St. Mary’s to his wild, infamous life off the ball field, audiences get a full picture of who Babe Ruth was and how he became the legendary figure that has been mythologized in the decades since his passing. Audiences that might not have otherwise known will be interested to learn that Ruth actually started out his professional baseball career not as a member of the Red Sox or even the Yankees but rather with none other than the Baltimore Orioles. Just as interesting to learn is that while his legend surrounds his hitting, Ruth actually started out as a pitcher. It wasn’t until he became a member of the Yankees that his hitting talent was really discovered. The story is made even more interesting as it follows what is known in the study of mythology as “The Hero’s Journey.” The concept is presented by mythologist Phil Cousineau. It is a surprisingly clear representation of his life in every stage. The Call to Adventure and meeting with his mentor come in his childhood at St. Marys. Crossing the threshold comes as Ruth’s star rises. As his fame rises, he is also forced to navigate the labyrinth with all of its temptations. The ultimate ordeal comes as he faces his wife’s death and then has to re-collect himself and start his journey again. The journey continues from here and is explained in depth but not so deeply as to lose audiences. In taking in Ruth’s journey, audiences will gain not only an appreciation of who Ruth was on and off the field but for what he did for the game of baseball, too. In the end, audiences that follow his Hero’s Journey will agree that the story lying at the center of American Hercules: Babe Ruth is the most important element of the documentary.

The story at the center of American Hercules: Babe Ruth is the most important element of the documentary. It is thanks to this in-depth presentation that both sports history buffs and baseball fans in general will gain a whoole new appreciation for who “The Babe” was both on and off the field. It is only part of what makes this presentation such an enjoyable watch for sports fans. The footage that is incorporated into the story gives it even more depth and interest. Thanks to the tireless efforts of all involved, audiences get to see Babe Ruth the baseball player annd Babe Ruth the family man with this wife and adopted daughter. There is footage of his early days playing with the Orioles as well as his days with both Boston and New York. This comes into play again later in the documentary’s bonus material. It will be discussed at more length later. Audiences even get to see Ruth the infamous playboy; the man who, as narrator Martin Sheen (yes, THAT Martin Sheen) notes, came about as a result of his childhood, growing up an orphan. The older footage that is incorporated into the body of American Hercules: Babe Ruth is only part of what makes the story so interesting. Again thanks to those charged with finding and editing the footage, audiences get to see today the early childhood home of Babe Ruth, the orphanage where he spent the majority of his youth and young adult life, and even the memorial in Baltimore that was scultped in honor of one of the city’s most beloved sons among much more footage. The vintage and modern footage together expertly illustrate the story of Babe Ruth’s life. Not everybody has seen every bit of the footage presented here. That being the case it makes the footage in whole all the more enjoyable both for sports historians and baseball fans alike. For all of its worth the collective footage used to help tell the story of Babe Ruth’s life is just one more element of this recently released DVD that makes it so enjoyable for sports historians and baseball fans alike. The disc’s bonus material rounds out the presentation, completing it and proving in full why American Hercules: Babe Ruth is one of this year’s best new sports documentaries.

The bonus material included with American Hercules: Babe Ruth rounds out the ways in which the DVD shows itself to be such an enjoyable watch. The bonus material isn’t just a bunch of clips, etc. Rather audiences get an in-depth making of featurette that explains the painstaking efforts undertaken to bring the documentary to life all the way down to finding an authoritative voice that would keep audiences engaged. That search for such a powerful is what led those behind the lens to employ veteran actor Martin Sheen as the film’s narrator. There is also an in-depth look at Ruth’s years with the Yankees as New York became the powerhouse that it is known to be today. even more insightful is the revelation that the team that won so many of the Yankees’ early titles was essentially bought from its hated rivals, the Red Sox. There’s even an interesting insight in regards to how Yankee Stadium came about as a result of tensions between the then Giants and Yankees. If that isn’t enough for fans, there is a look at Ruth’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This feature allows one of the documentary’s rare moments in which audiences actually get to hear him talk. Hearing his voice adds a certain something more to Ruth’s profile; something on which a finger can’t be placed but that does in fact add even more interest to the featurette. Famed sports broadcaster Bob Costas lends his talents to one of the bonus featurettes, making for even more reason for audiences to check out all of the disc’s bonus material. By themselves, these bonuses make for their own share of enjoyment and insight for audiences. When partnered with the disc’s central story and the footage used to illustrate and advance the story, all three elements together prove it to be a work that any sports historian and baseball fan will welcome to his or her personal DVD library regardless of their team allegiance.

American Hercules: Babe Ruth offers sports historians and baseball fans alike plenty to enjoy between its central story, its mix of vintage and modern footage, and its bonus material. Regardless of one’s team allegiances, every sports historian and baseball fan alike will agree that all three elements together prove the presentation in whole to be one that is a welcome addition to any of the noted audiences’ home libraries. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered directly from MLB Productions’ online store now at http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=65306866. More information on this and other titles available from MLB Productions is available online now at:

Website: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/video/mlb_productions

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mlbprod

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MLB Productions Releasing New Babe Ruth Documentary This Spring

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/A&E Networks/A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

Courtesy: Lionsgate/A&E Networks/A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

This spring, MLB Productions will examine the life and career of one of baseball’s greatest figures when it releases American Hercules: Babe Ruth.

American Hercules: Babe Ruth will be released on DVD on Tuesday, May 19th. It will be released in partnership with Lionsgate and A&E Networks. The film, narrated by veteran actor Martin Sheen, examines Ruth’s life and career from his early days as a youth in Baltimore to his time as a member of both the Red Sox and the Yankees. Along the way, it examines why Ruth remains such a revered figure among both baseball players and fans alike to this day. It does all of this through the use of new psychological and historical perspectives on Ruth the man and Ruth the legend.

American Hercules: Babe Ruth will retail for MSRP of $19.98. It can be ordered online via MLB Production’s online store at http://shop.mlb.com. More information on this and other titles from MLB Productions is available online now at:

Website: http://mlbproductions.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mlbprod

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

MLB Productions’ Giants World Series Film Is A Giant Hit For Team’s Fans

Courtesy:  MLB Productions/Lionsgate

Courtesy: MLB Productions/Lionsgate

The countdown is on.  Spring training is winding down and opening day is now only days away.  In anticipation of Major League Baseball’s 2015 season, MLB Productions has just the thing to get fans–San Francisco Giants at least–into the mood for the upcoming season.  While it was released late last year, MLB Productions’ San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film is just the thing to get at least Giants fans excited for the 2015 season.  The main reason that it will get fans excited is the story presented across the film’s near ninety-minute run time.  The story follows the Giants from the ups and downs of the team’s 2014 regular season ride to its incredible seven-game series against the underdog Kansas City Royals.  It spends most of its time focusing on the Giants’ 2014 World Series.  Though there is just enough focus on the regular season to enhance the importance of the team’s World Series appearance this year.  The editing that went into the film should also be noted in terms of what makes it so enjoyable for fans.  The editing includes the mix of the interviews and game footage throughout the film.  The work of the film’s editors helps keep the film’s pacing solid and in turn keeps audiences engaged from start to finish.  This is especially the case when taking into account actor Colin Hanks’ (King Kong, Dexter, Orange County) narration of the film.  Hanks’ almost deadpan deliery somehow makes the on-field action all the more gripping.  Perhaps it is because despite being a Giants’ loyalist, no favoritism is displayed in his delivery.  That coupled with the work of the film’s editors shows why the editing should be noted in its success just as much as the story itself.  Last but not least of all to note in examining what makes this film so enjoyable at least for Giants fans is the inclusion of the film’s bonus material.  The bonus features include the Giants’ full victory parade after the team’s surprising World Series win, a short feature on Giants star Michael Morse, and some of the most important moments of the 2014 World Series among a handful of others.  Whether for the noted bonus features or those not noted, the bonus material in full proves to be yet another reason that fans both of the Giants and baseball fans in general will enjoy this film.  All three elements together prove San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film to be yet another win for MLB Productions and a must have for any Giants fans as the days count down to the 2015 season’s opening day.

The story that was the Giants’ 2014 season is one of the league’s more interesting stories, even coming into the 2015 season.  As audiences will see in San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film, the Giant’s road to the World Series was anything but perfect.  The same can be said of the team’s seven-game series against the upstart Royals.  That story of the team’s up and down season and post-season is the central reason for the enjoyment of this recently released Blu-ray.  While it does highlight the ups and downs of the team’s regular season run, most of the story’s time is spent on the Giants’ post-season efforts.  Audiences will appreciate the efforts of those responsible for bringing the story to life as said individuals didn’t just sweep over the team’s regular season highlights or even focus too much on them.  The same can be said of the Giant’s post-season run up to the World Series, too.  Everything is relatively well-balanced, heightening the emotional impact of the team’s wins and losses alike.  The first-person commentary from the likes of Hunter Pence, Madison Bumgarner, Travis Ishikawa and others adds even more to that emotional depth.  And anyone that is familiar with WWE superstar Daniel Bryan will enjoy the story of how his “Yes” gimmick became a season-long rallying cry for the Giants and their fans.  These are just some examples of why the story behind San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film makes it a must have for at least any Giants fan and any baseball enthusiast in general.  There is much more that could be noted here.  But there is not enough space or time for that.  Audiences will find plenty more of the film’s story to appreciate when they purchase this film for themselves.  In the same vein, the film’s editing is just as important to its success.  If not for the editing, the story presented on the disc might not have otherwise been worth the watch.

MLB Productions has maintained a high standard of storytelling and of editing in its presentations for years.  From its “Essential Games” collections to its stand-alone presentations the stories presented by MLB Productions have been gripping and fully engaging.  The story presented in San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film is no different.  The same can be said of said films’ editing.  The editing involved in this film is no exception to that rule, either.  Between the game footage, the sound bites from the Giants players and staff, and their personal insights each element compliments the other from beginning to end.  Just as with the story telling itself, the editing that works with the storytelling plays its own part in keeping audiences entertained and engaged.  From the natbursts of the team chanting “yes” along with its fans at AT&T Park to the slow motion shots of Bumgarner throwing his pitches to the scene transitions and more, the editing throughout the film will leave audiences in awe.  It is one more standard that has for years kept MLB Productions’ presentations among the best in sports films.  Together with that aforementioned solid storytelling, it shows even more clearly why San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film is a welcome addition to any Giants’ fan’s home library.

The editing and storytelling that went into San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film collectively show plenty of reason for baseball fans (and especially Giants fans) to add this film to their home libraries.  While both elements show plenty of reason for fans to purchase this film, there is still one more element included in its presentation that pushes it over the top.  That final element is the film’s collective bonus material. Included with the film as bonus material is the Giants’ full victory parade, specific highlights from the team’s season and post season, and even a fun little look into one of the team’s long-running traditions to “welcome” new pitchers to the team among plenty of other extras. The tradition in question will have audiences laughing, especially when manager Bruce Bochy’s son opens his lunchbox. Yes, the tradition in question involves lunch boxes. And it is absolutely hilarious. That much will be said and no more for the benefit of those that have yet to see this tradition for themselves. It is original, needless to say. The victory parade shows the pure joy of the players, having overcome so much adversity including injuries that hurt the team’s post-season chances, low expectations early on in the season by the talking heads, and more. It is a truly powerful and moving moment even for those that might not be Giants loyalists. It’s just one of so many great moments that will leave viewers agreeing that the bonus material included with this disc is indeed deserving of the title “Bonus.” It is one more moment that shows why the presentation’s bonus material is just as important to the film as the editing or even the storytelling. And in seeing this, audiences will agree why together with the film’s editing and storytelling, all three elements make San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film a welcome addition to the home library of any Giants fan and any baseball enthusiast in general.

There is a lot to say to the positive in regards to San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film. The story presented within the film will keep viewers engaged from start to finish. The film’s equally impressive editing plays its own part in making the story so enthralling, too. The bonus features included with the film add even more depth and enjoyment to the story of the team’s 2014 season. Whether for the in-depth look at the team’s season, the more lighthearted moments or the more emotional moments, the bonus features live up to their title. And together with the story itself and the film’s editing, the presentation in whole again proves itself well worth the watch by any Giants fan and baseball fan in general. And it is just as worth the addition to any fan’s home library. San Francisco Giants: World Series Champions 2014–Official 2014 World Series Film is available online now and can be ordered direct via MLB Productions’ online store at http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=51967716&cp=1452365.2184768. More information on this and other titles from MLB Productions is available online at:

Website: http://mlbproductions.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mlbprod

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Giants World Series Blu-ray Collector’s Edition Is A Must Have For Any Hardcore Baseball Fan

Courtesy:  MLB Productions/A&E Home Video/Lionsgate

Courtesy: MLB Productions/A&E Home Video/Lionsgate

Major League Baseball’s 2014 season is officially in the books.  The trophy’s been raised, the champagne poured, and all the gear is hung up for the year.  It means baseball fans have to wait another six months to hear the crack of the bat and all of the great smells of the ballpark again.  Meanwhile, the people at MLB Productions, Lionsgate, and A&E Home Video have made available for baseball fans everywhere a great way to get their baseball fix in the meantime.  They have partnered to release Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition.  This box set is a viable candidate for every sports writer and sportscaster’s best new releases this year.  The reasons for this are far more than any one person could ever discuss in a single setting.  So this critic will attempt to discuss at least some of the reasons that this box set is a win itself for baseball fans regardless of their team allegiance.  One reason that Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition is a win is the fact that it presents every single inning of every game from the 2014 World Series.  Within the context of each game, audiences can choose which inning to watch and whether to watch the top or bottom of said inning.  This is the norm from Major League Baseball Productions.  So it is especially nice to see that carried on in this box set.  Another reason that audiences will enjoy this box set is its companion booklet.  The companion booklet that comes with the Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition offers a complete box score for each game.  It also includes little tidbits about each game including not only the hits, .ERAs, etc. but even the games’ attendance and temperature at first pitch.  It really is an in-depth companion for any hardcore baseball fan in the context of this set.  Last but hardly least important worth noting of the Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition is its audio settings.  Audiences are not limited to just Fox’s broadcast team in following the game.  Fans can watch the game and listen to the game through the call of the Royals Radio Network and the Giants Radio Network.  That trio of choices is offered in every one of the World Series games, not just one.  Whether it be that choice of game audio, the set’s companion booklet, or the fact that all seven games are included in whole here, each factor plays its own important role in the success of the Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition.  Together, they make this box set a must have for any hardcore baseball fan regardless of their team allegiance.

The first and most important reason for the success of the Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition is the fact that presented in this set is the complete seven-game 2014 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals.  Not one game is left out.  It even includes as a bonus for baseball fans, Game 5 of the National League Championship Series between the Giants and Cardinals.  That was the game that boosted the Giants into the World Series.  As with each of the World Series’ seven games, that game is also presented in its entirety.  The fact that the series (and Game Five of the NLCS) is shown in its entirety is just the tip of the iceberg that makes the complete collection a bonus.  MLB Productions has maintained its tradition of allowing audiences to choose the inning at which they want to start here.  Not only that, but they can choose whether they want to start at the top or bottom of the given inning.  This, too is something that MLB Productions has made a standard with each of its previous releases.  So the fact that MLB Productions has continued that tradition here is a wonderful thing.  It isn’t all that makes the Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition a success.  Audiences should also take into account the set’s companion booklet.

The companion booklet that comes with the Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition is a perfect addition to the box set.  It includes a complete, in-depth box score for each game.  It doesn’t just give the standard score information such as .ERAs, runs, hits, etc.  It also includes extra tidbits such as the game-time temperature at the time of each game’s first pitch, attendance at each game, and even specific details about certain players from both sides of the ball.  It’s like having a full series program for those that could only take in the game from their living rooms and bedrooms.  The fact that the people at MLB Productions would include this with the box set once again (it’s not the first time that MLB Productions has done this either) makes the box even more of a win.

The complete presentation of all seven games from the 2014 World Series is a key factor to the success of the Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition.  The set’s in-depth companion booklet makes the experience all the richer for baseball fans.  That is because of the amount of information that is shared throughout the companion booklet.  It is like having a program for those that couldn’t be at any of the games.  The last factor that makes this box set a success is the trio of audio options for each game.  Audiences are not relegated to listening only to Fox’s broadcast team.  They are given the option of listening to the game through the call of the Royals Radio Network and the Giants Network.  There are those people who actually admit to turning off a game’s audio on television and taking in the game through the call of their local radio affiliate.  Now audiences can do just that without even having to turn on a radio.  Again whether one is loyal to the Royals or Giants, audiences can experience the call of each game through the network of their choice.  Even more impressive is that audiences can even switch between the two radio networks or Fox’s broadcast team throughout each game.  They are not forced to listen to just one broadcast audio option within any game.  That is a huge win for audiences even if they are not loyal to the Royals or Giants.  That factor rounds out the entire box set and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this box set is a must have for every sports writer and sports caster around the country.  It is just as much of a must have for any hardcore baseball fan regardless of team allegiance.

The full seven-game presentation of the Giants 2014 World Series Collector’s Edition and its in-depth companion booklet more than make this Blu-ray box set a must have for any lover of America’s past-time.  The fact that audiences can choose the inning and half of said inning at which they start viewing makes the box set even more of a hit.  The multi-functional  audio options offered to audiences throughout the course of those seven-games makes the box set a grand slam (bad pun fully intended).  It is available now and can be ordered online direct from MLB Productions’ website at http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=51967736.  More information on this and other releases from MLB Productions is available online at:

Website: http://mlbproductions.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mlbprod

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Yankees Fans And Baseball Fans Alike Will Enjoy MLB Productions’ Latest Release

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/MLB Productions/A&E/A&E Home Video

Courtesy: Lionsgate/MLB Productions/A&E/A&E Home Video

The New York Yankees are in the waning days of the team’s 2014 season.  And along with the end of that season is the end of an era as Yankees great Derek Jeter is set to close out his Major League Baseball career, too.  While this season has not exactly proven to be everything that Yankees loyalists had hoped for MLB Productions has given Yankees nation reason to look back after this season’s end and still have plenty to smile about thanks to the recent release of Baseball’s Greatest Games: New York Yankees® Postseason Heroics.  This latest release continues a long-held tradition of excellence from Major League Baseball Productions as is evidenced throughout all four games contained in this set.  The inclusion of four full games is central to the enjoyment of the presentation.  That each game celebrates Jeter’s various accomplishments makes things even sweeter for fans.  As with previous MLB Productions releases, audiences are given the option to start at the top or bottom of any of the games’ innings.  They are not forced to sit through the whole game or even fast forward through to their key moments.  It adds even more enjoyment to the overall presentation.  And last but not least of all worth noting in this set is the collective video and audio mix in each episode.  MLB productions includes a disclaimer before the game, noting that there may be some discrepancies at given points.  But those discrepancies are few and far between.  If anything, seeing the games as they were originally broadcast adds to a certain sense of nostalgia among viewers, whether or not they be Yankees loyalists.  Each factor noted by itself is important to the whole in its own right.  All three together make Baseball’s Greatest Games: New York Yankees® Postseason Heroics another welcome addition to the library of any Yankees loyalist and any true-blooded MLB fan Yankees loyalist or not.

Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics is a welcome addition to the library of any Yankees loyalist and any true-blooded MLB fan Yankees loyalist or not.  It is especially welcome being that New York’s season hasn’t exactly lived up to the hopes and expectations of the team or its fans.  Luckily for fans, this four-disc set features four past Yankees games on which fans can look back and smile after the season’s end.  The first of the games is Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS in which the Yankees faced off against the Baltimore Orioles.  The second game takes fans forward four years to Game 4 of the 2000 World Series.  The Yankees faced off against the Mets that year.  The key moment of this game was Jeter’s leadoff home run against the Mets.  The third game takes audiences another year forward to Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS.  That year, the Yankees faced off against Oakland.  After taking down Oakland, the Yankees moved on in 2001 to the World Series, in which the team took on Arizona for the championship. MLB Productions features Game 4 of that year’s World Series as the set’s closing game.  As with the set’s other games, Jeter’s accomplishments are highlighted here, too.  Of course it doesn’t focus solely on his achievements.  Rather, the entire game is presented from the first pitch to the last.  The commercials have been cleanly cut, again displaying that commitment to quality from MLB Productions.  Simply put, with each game, audiences get the full game experience sans the commercial limitations.  They can pause the game at any point that they choose so as to use the bathroom, get a couple cold ones, or anything else.  All things considered here, it all proves just why the inclusion of the games and their inclusion in full at that is the central point of the set’s success.

The inclusion of four important recent Yankees games is central to the success of Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics is central to the success of the set.  Their inclusion in full and the fact that they are meant to highlight the accomplishments of the soon-to-be-retired Yankee great Derek Jeter makes it even more of a solid center to the set.  Adding to the set’s success is the fact that once again, audiences are able to choose the inning at which they start each game.  To be even more precise, audiences can choose whether they start at the top of an inning within a given game or at the top of said inning.  So rather than be forced to sit through the whole game or fast forward through so much baseball, audiences can pick precisely where the game starts.  So if viewers have to stop for any reason, they can just pop in the DVD, pick the inning (and its top or bottom) and go from there.  If fast forwarding is still necessary, it won’t have to be but so much as a result of this inclusion.  This is a standard that those at MLB Productions have maintained for years.  So it is wonderful to see this standard maintained even here.  It serves to make the set’s overall presentation even more enjoyable and a success.

MLB fans and Yankees fans alike will appreciate that those with MLB Productions took painstaking efforts to maintain the tradition of excellence established by the company with every one of its releases up to this point including this set.  The games included in this set are presented in full. Audiences can once again choose the point at which they start giving games, whether the top or bottom of said inning(s).  All of this taken into consideration, Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics proves to offer plenty of enjoyment for MLB fans regardless of their team loyalty.  There is still one more aspect of this set that makes it a joy for audiences.  That last aspect is the fact that the games in this set are presented exactly as they were seen in their original broadcast(s).  Game 1 of the team’s 1996 ALCS matchup against the Orioles was originally broadcast on NBC while the other three games were each broadcast on FOX.  MLB Productions’ people covered their bases, including a disclaimer noting the potential issues with the games’ video.  But the reality is the video looks just fine.  As a matter of fact, seeing the games as they looked in their original airings brings back a wonderful sense of nostalgia for fans. Considering that this season hasn’t lived to the hopes and expectations of the team and its fans, that sense of nostalgia is especially welcome for the members of the Yankees nation.  Together with the aforementioned aspects of the set, the presentation of each game from its original broadcast rounds out Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics and makes it complete.  It is one more reason that audiences, regardless of allegiance, will welcome this latest collection of games from MLB Productions and A&E Home Video.

MLB Productions and A&E Home Video have a long history together, releasing wonderful pieces of baseball’s history every year.  Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics is one more wonderful piece of that history.  The inclusion of four games in their entirety proves that right off the top.  That audiences can once more choose where they start viewing each game makes it even more of an enjoyable experience.  And the still quality video and audio mix of all four games rounds out the entire set.  All things considered, Baseball’s Greatest Games: Yankees® Postseason Heroics proves to be its own home run for any Yankees loyalist and any true-blooded baseball fan in general.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from The Lionsgate online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=31220&TitleParentId=9945.  More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate and A&E Home Video is available online at:

 

Lionsgate

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate
Twitter: http://twitter.com/linosgatemovies

A&E Home Video

Website: http://www.aetv.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AETV
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AEHomeEnt

MLB Productions

Website: http://mlbproductions.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mlbprod

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Letters From Jackie Another Great Story Of One Of Baseball’s Greats

Courtesy:  A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

Courtesy: A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

Major League Baseball celebrated a very special anniversary early in 2013.  On April 15th, 2013, fans and players of America’s Past Time celebrated the sixty-sixth anniversary of Brooklyn Dodgers great and groundbreaking player Jackie Robinson’s very first ever major league game.  It was on April 15th, 1947 that Robinson broke the color barrier and became the first ever African-American to play major league baseball.  Every year since that day, Major League Baseball has celebrated Jackie Robinson day on the anniversary of his first game.  This year, the anniversary has been celebrated with more than just celebrations at baseball fields across the country.  It was also celebrated with a major motion picture focusing on Robinson’s life and a documentary from Shout! Factory that was even more enjoyable than the prior.  Now MLB Productions has joined in the celebration with its own documentary on Robinson.  Whereas the previous releases focused largely on Robinson’s life, this latest release, Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson focuses exactly on its title; Robinson’s own thoughts put to paper.

Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson is a good companion piece to the previously released pair of works from Warner Brothers and Shout! Factory.  The first thing that makes this documentary stand out is its run time.  It comes in at just forty-five minutes long.  This is not counting the end credits, either.  Within that short time-span, the story presented moves at a relatively fast pace.  It’s not too fast for viewers to keep up with the story, either.  And within the context of the production, viewers will be moved to both laughter and tears, hearing Robinson’s words read.

The letters written by Jackie Robinson are both moving and at times entertaining.  Most moving of all is the story of Robinson’s years-long communications with a young white fan, Ron Rabinovitz.  The pen pals’ ongoing letter writing led to a friendship that transcended skin color and even religious backgrounds.  It was a friendship based solely on two individuals’ love of the game of baseball.  Rabinovitz himself even gets to share his thoughts on the letters shared between himself and Robinson.  The fondness with which he remembers Robinson is both entertaining and moving.  Audiences will be brought to smiles hearing Rabinovitz discuss Robinson actually taking him into the Dodgers’ locker room to meet his team mates at the time.  He even presents the baseball signed by Robinson’s team mates.  The really funny moment of that story is when Rabinovitz reveals that Robinson was so caught up in introducing his team mates to Rabinovitz and getting them to sign the ball, that he forgot to sign the ball himself.  Rabinovitz adds, laughing that he didn’t mind because he had so many other items (noting the letters) signed by Robinson.  Viewers even get to see Rabinovitz sharing his memories with one of today’s greats at the 2013 Jackie Robinson Day pre-game.

Rabinovitz shares so many wonderful memories of one of baseball’s greatest names though his interviews.  Along with the stories are pictures of the pair posing together on the field.  They help to add even more interest to the story of Robinson’s own thoughts on how he was viewed during his career.  Those pictures aren’t the only ones shared throughout this near hour-long feature.  Those charged with bringing the program to life also incorporated footage from The Jackie Robinson Story as well as footage from games that he played during his career.  The footage shows both the good and bad of the people who came to the games to see Robinson play.  That footage set against Robinson’s own thoughts on fan support and the lack thereof makes these moments even more interesting for any real baseball history buff.

Whether for the stories shared of Robinson by his family and friends or for the footage of the baseball legend’s career, baseball fans have plenty for which to root in this companion piece to the year’s previously released Robinson tributes.  Audiences will of course find their own interesting and entertaining moments throughout the story.  Being that Major League Baseball is coming up to the annual celebration of the halfway point of its season, thoughts will go back to one of the original All-Stars.  And as thoughts go back to him, this latest story will make for another good look back at that legend in question.  It will be available next Tuesday, July 16th.  It can be ordered online at the MLB Productions store at http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=21611606.

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Knuckleball An Emotional, Informative Baseball Documentary

Courtesy:  mpi media group/MLB Productions

Courtesy: mpi media group/MLB Productions

Anybody can play music fast and loud.  But it takes a real musician to play music slowly and softly.  That is the mantra of music teachers, students and musicians the world over.  This is a mantra that believe it or not can also be applied to the game of baseball.  One might ask one’s self in reading that, what do baseball and music have to do with one another, right?  Simple.  Just as any musician can play fast and loud, any pitcher in baseball can throw fast and hard.  But just as it takes a true musician to play slowly and softly, it takes a true pitcher to throw a ball that to this day befuddles players on both sides of the bat.  That is shown through the new baseball documentary, Knuckleball

Knuckleball is more than just another documentary.  It’s a documentary that presents two underdog figures who have overcome some big odds to become two of baseball’s most respected pitchers despite throwing what is considered one of the game’s least respected pitches.  Those men are R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield.  The pair’s rise to fame wasn’t an easy one.  In the case of Dickey, he was shuffled up and down through baseball’s big leagues and the minors until he was ultimately given a chance by the New York Mets.  On the other side, audiences are presented the story of fellow “knuckleballer” Tim Wakefield.  Both men were doubted early on by their teams, managers and fans because of their pitch of choice.  But through perseverance and respect for their craft, viewers see how the pair has helped to bring new respect to the pitch and to other pitchers that throw knuckleballs.

The story is told expertly by film makers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg.  The pair culled footage of Dickey and Wakefield from both their professional careers and their formative years as youths.  The pair’s professional footage comes courtesy of a partnership with Major League Baseball Productions.  Their discussions with fellow “knuckleballers” Charlie Hough, Wilbur Wood, Jim Bouton, Tom Candiotti, and Phil Niekro are something resembling members of an elite fraternity.  Audiences will enjoy these moments as members of two totally separate generations share their “war stories.”  Dickey and Wakefield also share their own stories with the film makers.  Their stories range from the humorous to the deeply emotional as they explain where they came from and the work put in to reach baseball’s highest level.  Combined with the accompanying video profiling each man’s career, these stories are the highlights of this feature.    

Some by now might be asking why they should have any interest in this documentary.  Again, the answer is simple.  It goes back to the documentary’s early minutes, when Newsday writer David Lennon references Americans’ desire for immediate gratification and higher speeds.  They don’t want to see slow pitches.  Lennon is right.  There seems to be an ever increasing push for pitchers to throw faster than the last guy.  But, in watching this feature, baseball fans will see why the knuckleball—and throwing the knuckleball–should be given as much credit as the fastball, curve or slider.  It proves that the knuckleball is more than just a pitch and why throwing it is an art in itself.  The pitcher is throwing, with a knuckleball, a pitch that forces the batter to second guess himself, much like a racer on the starting line at a drag strip does against his competitor.  It’s a pitch that forces both sides to think and have full clarity of mind.  A pitcher that can fake out a batter time and again with this pitch is a true pitcher.  He isn’t just relying on being able to throw fast and hard.  He is throwing a ball that takes true thought to deliver and to hit.  And while the current generation of pitchers isn’t exactly chock full of “knuckleballers”, viewers will see in the bonus features that there is still another generation of pitchers ready to carry on the legacy of this pitch and those who threw it before them.  And who knows?  Maybe one day, baseball fans will see another documentary on this fabled not-so-fast-ball.  And with that next documentary, it will be spoken of in far more respected terms.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.