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Shout Factory presents
Pure Heat: Ultimate MLB Flamethrowers (2005)

"I'm a power pitcher."
- Roger Clemens

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: October 10, 2005

Stars: Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Dontrelle Willis, Mariano Rivera, Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, Tim Hudson, Ron Guidry, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Lefty Grove, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton  
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:02m:10s
Release Date: October 11, 2005
UPC: 826663481891
Genre: sports

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

It's been said that chicks dig the long ball, but there's no shortage of love for those who throw smoke, and this DVD is a celebration of those who can bring it. It's not brimming with insight, and it's got a kind of historical amnesia—perhaps it's a dearth of footage, but the film suggests that sports history begins only with the advent of ESPN—and basically it's a compilation of clips of batters swinging and missing or getting punched out, followed by the man on the mound pumping his fist. But if there's a rain delay or an off day, this is a great way to spend an hour or so while you're sizing up your team's young prospects.

The filmmakers pay their respects to the power pitchers of previous generations, with brief looks at Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove and Bob Feller; a bit more on the Dodgers' fearsome pair of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale; and then Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, and the greatest pitcher of all time (and my son's namesake), #41, Tom Seaver. (If you disagree with me, I'm ready to throw down.) But those are the ancients here, and the modern era of power pitching for the purposes of this documentary begins with Nolan Ryan. There's plenty of footage of Ryan and his no-hitters, and there's almost a laying on of hands as Roger Clemens is deemed the rightful heir to Ryan's tradition; like his mentor, Clemens has both power and longevity, making him a Cooperstown immortal, but there's also a look at some who burned brightly but not for very long, a list that includes Mark Fidrych, Dwight Gooden, and J.R. Richard.

The emphasis, not surprisingly, is on contemporary players—there are good long looks at closers from both coasts, Mariano Rivera and Eric Gagne, along with the Marlins' dangerous trio of Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett. Curt Schilling is twinned first with his Diamondbacks teammate Randy Johnson, and then with his Red Sox comrade Pedro Martinez; fear not, Sox fans, for there are many shots of the famous bloody sock in this latest re-telling of the passion of the Curt. And since there's no DL on a highlight reel, the Cubs' Mark Prior and Kerry Wood are of course prominently featured; it's hard, though, not to engage in Bartmanesque thoughts of what might have been, or to reflect that the most damning thing in the world is potential unfulfilled.

The game clips are intercut with interview footage with pitchers and the batters who have to face them; Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, who you'll want to shut up; and baseball historian Jules Tygiel on the birth of power pitching. You may not come away with a lot of information, but it may fire you up to take your chances down at the batting cage.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Principally a clip job, the film is tied together with some fancy graphics, and the whole package is transferred reasonably well.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Nothing special—some hiss and pop, but the interview footage is always audible.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Fever Pitch, Dodger Blue: The Championship Years,MLB Superstars Show You Their Game 
5 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Five flamethrowers are featured in the extras package. First, there's the bottom of the ninth of Randy Johnson's perfect game against the Braves; next is Pedro Martinez in the 1999 All Star Game in Fenway, when, as a member of the Red Sox, he struck out four consecutive National Leaguers. Fellow former Red Sox Roger Clemens is next, with the first two innings of the 1986 All Star Game; then it's the ninth inning of Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game from 1998. Finally, you can watch the celebration three times over, with the final outs of Nolan Ryan's fifth, sixth and seventh no-hitters.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

A celebration of those who give the radar gun a good workout from sixty feet, six inches away, and a good jolt of America's pastime that will come in handy while waiting for pitchers and catchers to report.


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