Astros Beat Hurricane Harvey and the Dodgers To Win the World Series
A mere four years ago, the Houston Astros lost 111 games. Sports Illustrated had predicted the Astros would win the 2017 World Series way back in 2014, but I don’t think anyone believed that article. Now it reads like a prophecy in retrospect. The resilient team rallied around their city, still recovering from the devastating Hurricane Harvey that unleashed torrential flooding throughout Houston, to win their first World Series in franchise history. Houston residents will never forget the Astros’ epic playoff run in 2017 and this young group of emerging superstars.
Running away with the AL West division all season, the dead-line trade pick-up of ace Justin Verlander pushed the young Astros over the top, fueling them to a thrilling seven-game World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Producing two of the craziest World Series games in memory, games two and five, baseball fans will remember the 2017 World Series for many years to come, both in and out of Houston. Dodger fans may want to burn the highlights, from Japanese import Yu Darvish getting lit up in game seven, to the wild twists and turns of their previously invulnerable bullpen that cost them games two and five.
For baseball fans looking for every single pitch of the World Series, turn your attention to this set’s larger sibling release from Shout Factory and MLB, the 2017 World Series: Collector’s Edition. This smaller two-disc set’s primary offering is a tightly edited 90-minute documentary which skillfully provides capsule summaries of all seven games taken from game footage and private moments. Mixed in each game’s key highlights are players from both the Dodgers and Astros reflecting on critical moments they faced. Stars like Justin Verlander and George Springer discuss their feelings on the crucial moments that led them to victory. It’s a breezy, glossy mix of highlights, talking heads and a little context for the biggest moments of the 2017 World Series. If you’ve watched enough of the baseball documentaries found on the MLB Network, you’ll quickly recognize the style.
The 2017 World Series was packed with young and old stars. Besides regular season MVP Jose Altuve and World Series MVP George Springer, the Astros have a core of future superstars like Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. Veteran ace pitcher Justin Verlander, newly acquired from the Tigers at the last possible second of the trading deadline, pitched like a future Hall of Famer in the playoffs by winning the ALCS MVP and providing crucial support to a pitching staff that had fallen apart, after Dallas Keuchel had missed half the season with injury. Mr. Kate Upton quickly became the veteran face of the Astros.
Lest we forget, the Dodgers were on a historic winning pace for most of the 2017 season. Easily winning over 100 games, the 2017 Dodgers had a shut-down bullpen and the best pitcher on the planet, Clayton Kershaw. Not to mention runaway NL Rookie of the Year winner, Cody Bellinger and his 39 homeruns. That doesn’t even include top all-stars like Justin Turner and Corey Seager. It’s really a coin flip as to which team in the World Series was more talented, which is why it went seven incredibly tight games.
Fans interested in championship videos are looking for mementos of the event. This documentary is excellent for the casual Astros fan that wants to re-live the ups and downs of the 2017 World Series without having to sit through each game. It goes a bit too quickly through the twists and turns of the incredible game five, as Dodgers great Clayton Kershaw couldn’t hold the lead against the Astros. Already considered one of the best World Series games of all time, more focus should have been paid to it.
The best moments in the documentary are stuff never seen before, pulled from off-the-field clips and private player moments behind the scenes. Jose Altuve plays on the floor with his baby before one game in Houston. George Springer talks to his fellow players around the hitting cage after a rough game one for him. Astros executive Reid Ryan, son of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, discusses the Houston Strong campaign and what it meant to the team.
Seven-game World Series are always fun but 2017 was incredibly special for the city of Houston and baseball fans everywhere. No one had seen anything like its game two in years, and then the Astros and Dodgers top it for drama in game five.
The 2017 World Series Film: Houston Astros arrives in excellent video quality on Blu-ray. The 90-minute main feature is smoothly encoded in transparent AVC video on a BD-25. The 1080P documentary has game highlights in stunningly vivid definition and clarity.
Talking head interviews are seen in similarly clean video. Having seen the Fox network’s game broadcasts in HD, the game footage clearly looks better in this documentary. The 1.78:1 presentation has that high contrast, strongly lit and saturated aesthetic common to major sporting events these days. Having seen prior World Series videos, this set’s video is the most polished from a technical perspective.
The major American sports sink millions into shooting their championships on video since television is their number one source of revenue and HD footage drives their product. MLB has went the extra mile ensuring the 2017 World Series would have magnificent quality footage in beautiful HD, including both highlights and behind-the-scenes footage.
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio largely incorporates the front soundstage with significant bass. Lacking a massive surround presence, the narration and game highlights are nicely mixed in balance across the front. This has an active, aggressive sound design heard in perfect fidelity. It’s a well-done mix finely mastered in tone and range.
Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font.
The second disc is a DVD replicating the Blu-ray’s content. The MLB production is distributed by Shout Factory, which has handled baseball’s World Series videos before on home video.
Included with the two-disc set is a Shout Factory digital copy that must be redeemed before December 5th, 2018.
The special features are a little disappointing, considering the vast amount of highlights and clips available from a full baseball season. We get a cursory glance at the Astros’ entire season and a strangely abbreviated featurette of the World Series parade that barely covers the parade’s speeches.
It’s apparent that this release was made with casual fans in mind, so diehard Astros fans should look at the eight-disc Collector’s Edition.
Houston Strong (04:23 in HD) – After the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the city of Houston needed a distraction and the Astros’ run to a championship helped take Houston residents’ minds off their problems.
Regular Season Highlights (04:54 in HD) – Things like the season’s first homer and Justin Verlander’s first strikeout with the Astros are included.
How They Got There (02:48 in HD)
Clinching Moments (13:19 in HD) – See over and over again the Astros clinch the final outs in the ALDS against Boston and the ALCS against the Yankees. Jose Altuve’s three-homer game highlights are inserted into this featurette as well.
World Series Parade (02:26 in HD) – An odd inclusion that looks more like a strange promo for the parade than the actual parade and its related celebration by the Astros.
The disc opens with seven different MLB promos and commercials, all skippable. These include in order: MLB Network Promo (:31 in HD), Astros Promo (:31 in HD), At-Bat App Promo (:31 in HD), PlayBall.Org Promo (:31 in HD), World Series Blu-ray Promo (:32 in HD), Budweiser Promo (01:07 in HD), World Series History Clip (01:08 in HD)
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The Houston Astros win their first World Series in epic fashion, helping Houston recover from Hurricane Harvey in one of the most memorable playoffs in recent decades.
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