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A&E Home Video presents
The New York Yankees Fall Classic Collector's Edition 1996-2001 (2005)

"Yankees win! The-e-e-e-e-e-e Yankees win!" 
- broadcaster John Sterling, with astonishing frequency

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: November 30, 2005

Stars: Joe Torre, Jim Leyritz, Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Wade Boggs, Paul O'Neill, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 15h:54m:29s
Release Date: October 11, 2005
UPC: 733961729320
Genre: sports

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

No one—and certainly nobody at dOc, aka Cubs Central—is going to take pity on Yankee fans; still, for every October of this new millennium, you probably wouldn't want to be in the vicinity of a breakable object within George Steinbrenner's reach, as the Bronx Bombers have gone all Atlanta Braves on us, making it to the playoffs each year, but finding a way to trip up once they're there. Perhaps it's the unwise signings of juiced free agents, or hotheaded trades of top prospects for veterans who have crested, or simply the wheel coming round in this game of redeeming features. Whatever the case, this septet of DVDs gives Yankee lovers a chance to revisit the glory of the late 1990s, when age hadn't caught up with Bernie Williams, when Joe Torre had the Midas touch, when the curse of the Bambino was alive and well, and when the World Series champions, for four out of five years, played in the House That Ruth Built.

The first five discs in the set are devoted to memorable Yankees World Series wins, with the original television broadcasts reproduced in their entirety, sans commercials and network promos. First up is Game 4 from 1996, the Yankees halfway through their comeback against the Braves, after dropping the first two games—the SportsCenter moment is Jim Leyritz's eighth-inning home run off of Atlanta closer Mark Wohlers. The hero of the next game, the third against the Padres in 1998, is Scott Brosius, whose home runs in the seventh and eighth innings sealed up his Series MVP award. It's the Braves again in 1999, and you'll want to jump ahead to when statesman John Rocker gives way to Mike Remlinger—this is a particularly difficult one for me, since Rem is a college classmate, but still, that was a batting practice fastball that he served up to Chad Curtis in the tenth to seal the deal for the Yanks. (This one is also the only game here that's not a Fox broadcast, and it's a pleasure to hear Bob Costas calling a baseball game.)

Even more painful is the 2000 game, with the Yankees against my Mets—it's Game 5, the Subway Series clincher, with the Yanks taking care of business against Al Leiter and his lunatic pitch count. And though the Yankees lost to Arizona the following year, Game 4 is on the fifth disc—a Halloween game that went past midnight and into extra innings gave Derek Jeter the chance to punish Diamondbacks' reliever Byung-Hyun Kim, earning the shortstop the moniker Mr. November.

The marginally less crazed Yankee fan may not want to sit through these games in their entirety, so the next two discs are the way to go, each holding the official World Series films from the four Yankees championships here. 1996 features a babyfaced Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera as John Wetteland's setup man, and the heart transplant of Frank Torre, Joe's brother; 1998 is memorable for the Yankees' amazing 125 wins, David Wells' perfect game, Daryl Strawberry's bouts with cancer, and footage of the late Ken Caminiti, swollen with steroids.

Roger Clemens is the man of the hour in 1999, his first World Series win; the rematch against the Braves is a chance to ponder if, for all his success, there's a manager who has lost more big games than Bobby Cox. And the whole subway thing is all over the 2000 film, though it's especially nice to hear the dulcet tones of Bob Murphy, my own voice of summer, and to see the familiar headspin of Armando Benitez, gazing like a baby at the latest home run ball he's given up.

These discs may not be consolation for ignominious postseason losses to the Red Sox, the Angels (twice), the Diamondbacks and the Marlins, but hope springs eternal, even if you've been spoiled by the historic success of the men in pinstripes. 

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: The TV broadcasts are grainy, with that rerun feel to them, as you might expect. Transfers are unexceptional.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: No great feast for the ears, either, with quite a bit of static throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 96 cues and remote access
16 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
7 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The last two discs feature a grab bag of Yankee highlights. On the first, you'll find the last moments of Doc Gooden's 1996 no-hitter; the Yanks clinching their first-round playoff series against the Rangers; Leyritz's complete at bat against Wohlers in the World Series, and the last at bat; and a handful of Yankees (Torre, Jorge Posada, David Cone, Williams, Jeter) discussing their favorite moments from the team's championship run. Also here from 1998: highlights from David Wells' perfect game, and the presentation to Brosius of the World Series MVP trophy from Bud Selig.

On the second disc, from 1999: the last half-inning of Cone's perfect game against the Expos, and the presentation of that year's World Series trophy. From 2000: highlights of Clemens' ALCS Game 4 one-hitter, David Justice going deep against Arthur Rhodes in Game 6 of the same series, and the team's World Series clubhouse celebration. And from 2001: Joe Torre's clubhouse toast after the team won the pennant, especially poignant in the aftermath of 9/11; reflections from Paul O'Neill on the fans chanting his name, during the last inning of his last game at Yankee Stadium; and a look at Jeter's game-saving defensive play against Oakland in the divisional series, one of the most spectacular things you'll ever see on the diamond. What he was doing on the first-base line, I still do not know.

The discs are housed in individual cases, festooned with box scores and stats that can turn you into your own personal Elias Sports Bureau.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Yankee fans only need apply—if you're antsy waiting for pitchers and catchers to report, and can't get the bitter taste of recent postseason losses out of your mouth, these discs are a chance to relive the recent glory years and to salve all wounds. "Boston Sucks" t-shirt not included.


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