Soler Power

When MLB superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. went down in July, no one took Atlanta’s chances at winning the World Series seriously. That didn’t stop Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos from making a series of ingenious trades late in the season, filling out several holes on a team decimated by critical injuries. Having made it one win away from the 2020 Fall Classic, most fans had already accepted this was not the season for a legitimate World Series run.

Behind such unexpected faces as Cuban slugger Jorge Soler, often-injured Eddie Rosario, Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall and usual suspects like Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Max Fried, the Atlanta Braves somehow caught fire and won an improbable World Series over the Houston Astros in six games. Overcoming their vaunted nemesis from last season in a tight NLCS, it’s still hard believing this team beat the odds to win Atlanta’s first World Series since 1995.

… the Atlanta Braves somehow caught fire and won an improbable World Series over the Houston Astros in six games

Like they’ve done for the past six World Series champions, MLB has produced a well-constructed documentary about the 2021 World Series. All six games of the battle between the Braves and Astros are covered using original Fox broadcast footage, interviews with key players, and behind-the-scenes clips. Done in MLB Network’s glossy coverage style, it should warm the heart of any Braves fan. All six games are given equal treatment, though there isn’t much here for Houston fans. The focus is clearly on the Braves and their contributors.

Atlanta rapper and personality Ludacris narrates the documentary, who does a respectable job. He’s no professional narrator but it’s understandable MLB wanted a name with some youth appeal. The good news is that most calls are taken from radio and television broadcasts, so Atlanta fans will occasionally hear voices like Joe Simpson call highlights besides FOX’s Joe Buck and John Smoltz.

Specific players tend to receive prominent coverage in games they actually did something. Atlanta favorites like Tyler Matzek and Dansby Swanson sit for private interviews, providing insight into the action and what was going through their minds during pivotal moments. If there’s one star in the documentary, it’s Atlanta native Dansby Swanson. Curiously, 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman isn’t heavily featured. Managers Brian Snitker and Dusty Baker receive a lot of screen time. Their personal connections to Hank Aaron are one major sub-theme.

I’ll admit that as a fan for many years, I thought the Braves were done when ace pitcher Charlie Morton went down with a broken leg in his first World Series start. But thanks to an incredibly hot bullpen, dubbed the Night Shift, led by three-headed monster Tyler Matzek, Will Smith and A.J. Minter, and timely hitting from World Series MVP Jorge Soler and others, helped push Atlanta over the top. The city’s fans can now wash out the taste of losing the Super Bowl with a 28-3 lead.

Video

The richly saturated, clean 1.78:1 presentation has excellent clarity for interlaced 1080i video. The entire documentary runs 89 minutes, encoded in flawless AVC on a BD-25. Game footage from the World Series looks better than it ever did on Fox’s original television broadcast, including side angles I don’t remember seeing before. Talking head interviews are presented in sharp HD video with sparkling depth and sharp definition.

This is glossy, high-contrast HD content made for sport fans, showing off vivid detail and vibrant colors. A pleasing uniformity produces rich black levels, a stable contrast and nearly flawless picture quality.

Audio

Narrated by Atlanta resident Ludacris, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio is surprisingly crisp and robust for a sports documentary. Game clips create an authentic ballpark experience across a spacious soundstage. The crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd produce lively, dynamic audio. When fans at Truist Park start chopping, the excellent bass places you right in the front row.

It’s a conventional surround mix with occasionally discrete action and clean channel separation. Interviews are immaculately intelligible with resounding fidelity.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font.

Extras

The special features are underwhelming considering the amount of on-air coverage MLB Network produces for each World Series. The World Series Parade highlights are especially disappointing, which ran for hours on local Atlanta television and featured candid interviews with the players as they celebrated on the team’s parade bus.

If you want the complete broadcast game footage for each World Series game, go with the far more expensive collector’s edition set. Several short promos for MLB play before the main menu. This is a Blu-ray and DVD combo package.

“How They Got There” Featurette (06:35 in HD) – Employing MLB Network clips and highlights, this featurette collects Atlanta’s championship journey in easy-to-digest form over a long season.

2021 Walk-Offs (05:41 in HD) – Each final play from Atlanta’s walk-off wins during the season and playoffs are included.

Clinching Moments (06:31 in HD) – Highlights from the final out of each important clinching game are included.

World Series Parade (01:44 in HD) – This should have been far, far longer. I have no idea what MLB productions was thinking.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

2021 World Series Champions: Atlanta Braves Blu-ray Review
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

MLB provides a vivid memento for long-suffering Atlanta fans as the Braves capture the World Series in six games behind such unlikely names as Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, and Adam Duvall.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 55 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: