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Shout Factory presents
Red Sox vs. Yankees: The Ultimate Rivalry (2006)

"I think we upgraded from a battle to a war."
- Grady Little, Red Sox manager, during the 2003 American League Championship Series

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: April 26, 2006

Stars: Joe Torre, Terry Francona, Babe Ruth, Bucky Dent, Jason Veritek, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Ted Williams, Joe Di Maggio, Don Zimmer, Bill Lee, Reggie Jackson, Jerry Remy, Grady Little, Pedro Martinez, Aaron Boone, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, Manny Ramirez
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:06m:38s
Release Date: May 02, 2006
UPC: 826663100648
Genre: sports

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Ohio State-Michigan? Feh. Cubs-Cardinals? Come on. Duke-Carolina? Please. When it comes to sports rivalries, one towers above all others, for history and for venom, and that's Red Sox versus Yankees. This DVD is a quick tour through the decades, an amnesiac look at all of the bad blood in the Northeast corridor. It's certainly intended for those who have a vested interest and have chosen sides—there's a full-sized Derek Jeter cutout in my house, so you know where I'm coming from here—and it's a documentary that knows that there's nothing quite as satisfying as nursing a grudge.

This is pretty historically myopic, though, and a more accurate title would be Red Sox vs. Yankees: The Ultimate Rivalry Since ESPN 2 Has Been On The Air, as almost all of the running time is devoted to the last couple of years. There's the obligatory whip through the decades, of course, starting with the trade that sent Babe Ruth from Boston to New York, establishing the curse of the Bambino, ducking in for a quick look at the Yankee Clipper versus the Splendid Splinter, and lingering briefly over the Boston Massacre in 1978. The film itself stays reasonably neutral, though you can choose up sides in your choice of narrator, the same events told in slightly different tones, making this the Rashomon of baseball documentaries. You've got the option to watch it with narration by either Yankees manager Joe Torre or his Sox counterpart, Terry Francona; the pictures are the same, and only a few of the pronouns have been changed.

Things heat up here when long time Sox Wade Boggs signs with the Yankees and gets the World Series ring that had eluded him in Boston; the next Fenway apostate is of course Roger Clemens, and there's a good amount of footage from the 1999 ALCS. (I've got my problems with the expansion of the playoffs and the notion of the wild card, but it's created some epic postseason battles between these two teams, all to the good.) In 2003, Aaron Boone joined Bucky Dent in the Yankee pantheon of Sox killers, the unlikely home run heroes in crucial games; there's plenty of opportunity for Boston fans to go bonkers all over again at Grady Little, for leaving Pedro Martinez in too long in Game 7. And then of course there's 2004, eighty-six years in the making—the Yankees blew a 3-0 series lead in the most ignominious choke in sports history, and for the first time since 1918, your Boston Red Sox were once again world champions.

A huge amount of time is devoted to the 2005 season as well, but somebody missed a memo, and we got an Angels/White Sox ALCS instead—it's all rather anti-climactic, and the MVP race between Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz just doesn't have the same kind of juice. Tossed in throughout for good measure are a number of sportswriters and famous fans—Sox fan Denis Leary is particularly obnoxious here, and Fat Joe is a riot—but mostly this film does its job, which is to whet our appetites for the renewal of the festivities. The season has begun, and the battle has been joined. Who needs two?

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This is almost all clips, but they've been assembled and transferred professionally.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Both Torre and Francona have good sets of pipes and do well on the narration track; there's a fair amount of buzz and hiss throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring MLB Superstars Show You Their Game, Pure Heat: Ultimate MLB Flamethrowers, The Great American Baseball Box
7 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Seven featurettes make for some fun viewing, providing equal opportunities for Red Sox fans and Yankee fans to crow. The first is a 1949 newsreel, with highlights of the Yankees beating Boston on the last day of the season to win the pennant; the next is the Red Sox returning the favor in 2004, with the final out in Game 7. Carl Everett breaks up Mike Mussina's 2001 attempt at a perfect game in the third, and the Rocket is front and center for the next two—we see the last of his 20 strikeouts in a 1986 game, and then jump ahead to his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout, in pinstripes, in 2003. There's a brief promo for Joe Torre's worthy Safe at Home Foundation, and then a highlight package from an epic regular-season game, played on July 1, 2004, the signature moment of which is Derek Jeter tumbling into the leftfield stands to make a play.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

A somewhat shortsighted view of a longstanding rivalry, but the kind of stuff that baseball fans in either Boston or New York are sure to lap up.


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