Even though I love the game, I have not watched too much baseball in the last few years. This goes double for games not involving the Philadelphia Phillies. I still keep up with it, still analyze the standings and box scores but for some reason I do not watch as many games as I wish too. The odd thing is when I get sets like the one I’m reviewing today, I am 100% excited. Perhaps it is because I have nothing vested in it. The games are already played, the result is already known, I can simply appreciate the game that way it is supposed to be. The magical game of baseball.
2002 was the first time in baseball history that two wildcard teams made the World Series. The Anaheim Angels had finished 99-63 (Oakland and New York won 103 games a piece that year) while the San Francisco Giants went 95-66 (The Braves were the standout in the NL winning 101 games). However, when the Angels took out the Yankees and the Giants took out the Braves in the first round of the playoffs, baseball fans knew that they were in for something special come the Series. After the League Championship series with the Angels and Giants both crushing their opponents (Twins and Cardinals), it was time to play the big one.
In Game 1, Jason Schmidt would find himself on the mound for the Giants against Jarrod Washburn for the Angels. This was a relatively low scoring affair with a final score of four to three and won by the Giants. However, it would produce five home runs. Among those home runs, Barry Bonds would hit the first dinger in the second inning in his very first World Series at bat. Reggie Sanders, J.T. Snow, and Troy Glaus would also contribute shots. Glaus would strike with two homers, once in the second and once in the sixth. Felix Rodriguez, Tim Worrell and Robb Nen would team up to close out the last three innings to seal the victory for the Giants.
In Game 2, the starting pitchers (Russ Ortiz for the Giants, Kevin Appier for the Angels) wouldn’t make an impact for either club. Both of them lasted two or less innings. In fact, pitching was a non-factor as the final score reached double digits for both clubs with the final score being 11-10 in favor of the Angels. Home runs would reach six with Bonds, Sanders, David Bell, Jeff Kent and Tim Salmon adding shots this time time around. The pivotal shot would come from Tim Salmon in the bottom of the eighth with two outs. Trivial fact, a Rodriguez would be involved in the win (Francisco) and the loss (Felix).
All tied up at 1, Game 3 took us back to San Francisco. However, Pacific Bell Park would not be kind to the Giants in the third game here. Anaheim ripped San Fran, 10-4 mostly behind 4 run 3rd and 4th innings where the entire lineup would come to bat in each inning. Darin Erstad of the Angels would chip in three doubles and Scott Spezio would hit a 2 RBI Triple to cap off a great hitting performance. The Giants only highlight would come again in the form of Barry Bonds who would hit his third homer in as many World Series games. The Giants were now down 2 games to one.
Game Four would be familiar territory akin to Game One with the Giants winning with the same exact score, 4 to 3. However, Bonds would be held without a homer due mostly to the fact that the Angels would almost on automatic walk him (he would go on to draw thirteen walks in the seven games). The Giants saw significant contributions from Kenny Lofton and Rich Aurilia who both chipped in three hits. Again, we saw the last three innings belong to the Giants bullpen as the familiar trio of Rodriguez, Worrell and Nen would pitch three scoreless innings. All tied up at two games a piece.
Game Five was a coming out party for the San Francisco bats. The Giants would score sixteen runs on sixteen hits and absolutely crush the Angels, 16-4. Lofton, Bonds, and Kent would each contribute three hits. Jeff Kent would have the best day with two homers and four runs batted in. The Giants took a commanding 3-2 lead but with the series shifting back to Anaheim for the final two games, the Angels were anything but done. Would the Angels be able to come from behind and take their first World Series in their first appearance?
The short answer is yes. I think we can surpass all of the spoiler warnings there, its been nine years. Anaheim would indeed come from behind and the Angels would be crowned the World Series champ. Troy Glaus would be given the World Series MVP trophy with three homers, eight runs batted in and a .385 batting average. Truly the highlight of his career which ended just last year in 2010. (.254, 320 Homers and 950 RBI’s lifetime) The Angels would remain a force in the 2000’s and reach the playoffs five times in the decade.
But one of the more interesting stories here was Barry Bonds. Before all of the controversy, before all of the steroid accusations, Bonds was the greatest modern day baseball player. He had four homers in seven games here and could not be stopped unless the pitcher walked him (which happened many times). Many people can not stand him (I’m not one of those people, but that’s another discussion for another day), but it was really interesting to listen to the announcers describe him as the absolute superstar he was back then.
This World Series is arguably one of the best ever. We had two relatively unknown teams who clawed their way to the Fall Classic and then put on a show for seven games straight. The teams hit a total of 21 home runs and scored 85 runs, both records to this day. It had everything from heroes (Glaus) to goats (Livan Hernandez) and enough characters to keep you interested for the full twenty hours if you so choose. I really think that a lot more people than Angels fans will find this World Series entertaining.
The video is in 1.33:1 full frame presentation. I’ll be honest, I’m so used to HD sports broadcasts that I’m a little spoiled when it comes to sets that came just before all of that exploded. So as a result, we get a fairly average broadcast. The color is pretty decent and there can be some occasional choppiness and imperfections but overall this is a good broadcast. Just do not expect anything special and you will be quite satisfied.
For the audio portion, we get a 2.0 English stereo track. One of the highlights of this set is that you get both the television broadcast team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver but also the radio broadcast from the Angels Radio network or more notably Rory Markas and Terry Smith. Most purists will run to the radio broadcast due to the home team enthusiasm. The television broadcast is naturally a little fuller in sound and the radio broadcast has more of a mono feel. It is merely a matter of preference and you can even do what I did and watch half the game in television and half in radio if you really feel up to it.
No real special features, but it would be a shame if I didn’t describe the boxset. Standard boxset with the seven discs individually packaged in thin packs. For each game, the front shows the score broken down by inning, some facts about the game, the game time temperature, attendance, called strikes and swinging strikes. On the back is the complete box score and on the inside is a summation inning by inning of the action. For a fan, this is awesome.
More Barry Bonds stats, in the seven games, he hit .471, had an On base percentage of .700!, had a slugging average of 1.294!! and an OPS(onbase+slugging) of 1.994!!!. But all of that couldn’t buy the Giants a World Series victory. This series belonged to the Anaheim Angels who took the series in a great seven games. This set is not just for the rabid Angels fans but also for baseball enthusiasts around the world. A&E delivers a nice box set with unfortunately no extras but well designed packaging. I give this a mild recommendation. Obviously some will love this set and others will pass. But for diehard fans, this set will seem like Christmas come early.