baseball movies

DVD Review: 1986 World Series New York Mets Collector’s Edition – Simply Amazin’

It’s now been thirty-five years since what I could honestly say was the most memorable summer and fall of my life. There are several reasons why I say that, but one of the biggest was watching the New York Mets trounce their opposition in the National League Eastern Division and go on to win the National League Championship as well as the World Series in dramatic fashion.

Something I waited a long time for was a DVD boxed set of all seven games of the World Series that year, plus game six of the National League Playoffs between the Mets and the Houston Astros. That game is considered by many to be one of the best games ever played in baseball. It sure was one of the longest, lasting sixteen innings and nearly five hours.

It was a trip down memory lane to go back to October of 1986 and remember the fever that gripped New York. I was such a Mets fan for so long that it was inevitable that everyone thought of me during that time and my house became the place everyone gathered to watch the games. As I sat and watched the games after having only seen clips here and there over the past twenty years, it brought me back to a twenty-year-old sitting in her living room with her friends. I would get chills as I watched what took place and at times even tears as I remember a time long ago and people who I haven’t seen in years or who are no longer with us. Baseball has that much of a place in my life, and this season in particular is one of those moments in my life that I can see very clearly in my memory. It even brings back the memory of a trip I took with two of my friends down to Philadelphia to watch the Mets lose all three games to the Phillies when they only needed one to clinch the National League East Title…

One of the things that’s amazing to realize is that with the exception of the final game of the World Series, the Mets won every other post-season game in their final at-bat. It’s one of the facts that made this post-season probably the most dramatic ever.

The names might not be as memorable as some, but I saw again why Wally Backman was highly regarded as a base runner that season. I can remember Lenny Dykstra being such a scrappy player. The consistency of the Mets’ pitching rotation is evident, even if they aren’t as overpowering in the series as they were all season long. Jesse Orosco in the bullpen shines in the series. Gary Carter never seems to lose his boyish enthusiasm. The alleged cockiness of the team isn’t as pronounced as the Series is in no way a sure thing for them, but the smiling face of Mookie Wilson (who I’ve met several times in person and is just as affable) is evident all the way through. It’s a time when both Dwight Gooden and Daryl Strawberry were clean and in their prime…

The DVD set is great. I can watch the ball go through Bill Buckner’s legs over and over again. I can see the celebrations and the jumping up and down and go right back to the same euphoria I had that year. Some call it nostalgia or melancholy, but it was just an amazing time and the spirit and feelings are all captured in the games on these DVDs in their entirety.

Overall the DVDs look good. The images are a little distorted and there’s a little bit of shadowing, but it’s not extremely bad. There’s some interference at times, but nothing that really inhibits the overall picture in any way. It really has the feel of watching the games back then, not the crisp digital images of today’s HDTVs.

Each of the games is on one DVD. The DVD cases are lined with the box score for the game, various statistics from the game, and facts pertaining to the game or the series overall. Inside is a recap of the game inning by inning. The games are pretty much intact. I wasn’t sure at first of there was some editing, but what was shaved off was a lot less than what I’ve seen when I caught it on television. A few times I’ve seen Game 6 of the National League Championship Series replayed on cable, and it seems like it’s rushed through and some parts are outright deleted. Granted, the commercials are edited, but all of the plays are there. The heaviest editing came with Game 6 from the Playoff Series:

NLCS Game 6
Actual Game Time: 4 hours 42 minutes
DVD Running Time: 4 hours 5 minutes

World Series Game 1
Actual Game Time: 2 hours 59 minutes
DVD Running Time: 2 hours 55 minutes

World Series Game 2
Actual Game Time: 3 hours 36 minutes
DVD Running Time: 3 hours 28 minutes

World Series Game 3
Actual Game Time: 2 hours 58 minutes
DVD Running Time: 2 hours 56 minutes

World Series Game 4
Actual Game Time: 3 hours 22 minutes
DVD Running Time: 3 hours 14 minutes

World Series Game 5
Actual Game Time: 3 hours 9 minutes
DVD Running Time: 2 hours 50 minutes

World Series Game 6
Actual Game Time: 4 hours 2 minutes
DVD Running Time: 3 hours 50 minutes

World Series Game 7
Actual Game Time: 3 hours 11 minutes
DVD Running Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

The Bonus DVD is really worth it. There are highlights from the season, earlier in the playoffs, and interviews with the players about the series. I was impressed at the inclusion of the celebration after the Mets won the series as the players quickly became inebriated. Some might consider that something kids shouldn’t see, but I think it’s as funny as all get out.

I give credit to Bill Buckner who’s interviewed here about the single play that is probably what comes into people’s minds when his name is mentioned. He had a pretty decent career up until this point and I always felt bad in the years afterward that this was what his baseball career seemed to boil down to. Bill Robinson reiterates my sentiments during his interview.

The only thing missing that I would have liked to have seen are clips from the ticker-tape parade which took place in New York.

Bonus DVD:

• Mets Clinch Division Title
• NLCS Game 3: Lenny Dykstra’s Walkoff Homerun
• NLCS Game 5: Gary Carter’s Walkoff Single
• Lenny Dykstra: Red Sox Premature Celebration
• Keith Hernandez: Perspective on Game 6 Rally
• Keith Hernandez: Nerve-Wracking Game 6
• Kevin Mitchell: Coach’s Tip Before Scoring in Game 6
• Mookie Wilson: Mindset of His Historic At-Bat
• Mookie Wilson: Unfair to Blame Buckner
• Bill Buckner: Mookie Wilson’s Grounder and the Error
• Bill Robinson: Perspective on Buckner’s Error
• Ray Knight: Game 6 Memories
• Lenny Dykstra: Full Team Effort
• Mike Piazza and Mookie Wilson Discuss Game 6
• Inside the Moments of Game 6
• Ray Knight: Confidence Entering Game 7
• Keith Hernandez: Mound Conversation with Jesse Orosco
• Gary Carter: Catching the Last Out
• World Series Last Out, Clubhouse Euphoria
• Trophy Presentation
• Championship Clubhouse Interviews
• 1987 Opening Day Ring Ceremony

Okay, if you’re a Red-Sox fan, the only thing you’d want this DVD set for is target practice. Real Mets fans will have this in their collection. For everyone else, it’s just great baseball. You might not get as much out of the Bonus DVD as Mets fans do, but there is some of the best baseball I’ve ever seen played on these discs.