July 27, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger
Just in time for this year’s MLB postseason, the latest chapter of Ken Burns’ Baseball series will arrive on Blu-ray.
That’s a nice change from when the original series aired on PBS—also during the postseason time of year, except there was no postseason because it was 1994, remember?
Much has changed since then, as the national pastime has taken quite a roller-coaster ride. There was that whole strike thing, then the recapturing of fans thanks to memorable moments from Cal Ripken, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. You had the reappearance of a Yankees dynasty, and the sudden end to it on one of the unlikeliest walk-off hits in history. Then, of course, the Red Sox ending their longtime drought, followed by the White Sox ending theirs.
And then the total crumbling of some of the all-time greatest players, done in by speculation, investigation and uncovering of just how widespread steroid use was in the game. Let’s see how well Burns covers all of that (look for the original broadcast airing of The Tenth Inning in September).
Anyone who has watched The Civil War, Jazz, the original Baseball documentary and others by Burns knows he and his interview subjects create a piece of masterful storytelling, and he’s not afraid to tackle sticky subjects to balance out some of the hyperbolic nature of his work. This edition of Baseball is ripe for that.
Blu-ray.com lists the runtime as 240 minutes, so about as long as your typical Red Sox-Yankees game. If you need a break from Joe Buck and Tim McCarver come October, this could be the answer.
Plus, since VHS was still king when the original series came out on home video, is it appropriate enough to say that the Blu-ray release is like VHS on steroids? Play ball!
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