There's something about the great American pastime that can really be visually satisfying and memorable - the deep greens of a newly cut field of grass, the crack of the bat, the cheers of the crowd. There's also the $25-50 tickets, $5.00 hot dog, $20 parking and $3.00 soda. One watches this 1988 World Series set and imagines what it was like to score a great seat for probably a quarter of the price of a similar set at this year's Fall classic.
This set offers the complete 1988 World Series, where the Dodgers went up against the Oakland A's. The Dodgers had come into the series beating the the Reds in a seven game series to lock up the National League West. They then faced off against the Mets in an exciting series that they managed to win four games to three. The A's won the American League West in a series against the A's, then swept the Boston Red Sox to win the ALCS.
The World Series saw two teams of remarkable talents face off against one another, with bash brothers Mark McGuire and Jose Canseco supplying the heavy hitting for the A's and Orel Hershiser's pitching and National League MVP Kirk Gibson's hitting providing the one-two punch for the Dodgers. Hershiser even showed some hitting skill, with his three hits in the second game making him the first pitcher to have three hits in a World Series game since 1924.
One of the classic moments of the series saw Gibson - who was suffering from terrible pain due to an injury - get called in as a pinch hitter, only to use what power he had left to manage a homer won the game for the Dodgers. Despite his agony, he rounded the bases to the cheers of local fans. While Gibson struggled to overcome injury for his memorable at-bat, the underdog Dodgers found themselves at game 5 of the series without John Tudor, Mike Marshall and Mike Scioscia, all of whom were injured during the series.
What does disappoint me again here - and I've mentioned it in every review of a Major League Baseball product on DVD - is that the MLB logo is once again seen throughout the entire program. The additional concern on this particular title is, while the logo is still fairly small, on previous titles it was close to being transparent. This time around, it appears bolder/darker and, as a result, is more noticable. Given the fact that fans are paying a high price for the set, I don't believe it's asking too much to remove the logo on these World Series presentations.
A positive note that must be mentioned is the use of the inserts for each of the discs. Instead of just slapping on some basic graphics, the inserts (both inside and out) provide a scorecard, game highlights, trivia, attendance, number of pitches, game running time and images of things like press passes and programs. All the information you need to know about each game has been fit onto the cover.
Note: This set includes the entire 1988 World Series (all 5 games), as well as Games 4 and 7 of the 1988 NCLS versus the NY Mets. It is not to be confused with a "best of".
VIDEO: The games are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio by A & E. While the presentations are certainly watchable, the fact does remain that these look as if they're slightly-to-mildly worn tape copies, with sharpness and detail that ranges from passable to hazy, with noticable grain/fuzz, some mild shimmer and some traces of artifacting. Colors seem natural, with no issues. Overall, these were passable presentations, but fans should not expect these to look fresh.
SOUND: The stereo soundtrack of the games sound perfectly fine although, as with the video, there are some minor imperfections in the source material. However, the audio is mildly thin and flat, but clear.
EXTRAS: As with all of the World Series collector's sets, this set also offers a series of additional clips that round out the presentation, delivering things like award presentations. In this case, we get: The 1988 World Series MVP and Trophy Award Presentations, 1988 Ring Ceremony, Inside the Moment: Gibson's HR, Locker Room Interviews After Gibson's HR, Kirk Gibson 1988 MVP Award Ceremony, Orel Hershiser's 1988 Cy Young Award Ceremony, Hershiser's 20th Win footage, Hershiser's Scoreless Innings Record Highlights, Dodgers Clinch NL West Highlights, 2nd Inning of NCLS Game 2 Highlights, Jack Buck's Historic Call of Gibson's World Series HR and finally, the Last Out of the 1988 Series.
Final Thoughts: The '88 Series saw a powerhouse match-up between the Dodgers and the A's and the result was an entertaining, tense set of five games. This set offers inconsistent, mostly average audio/video quality, but a nice set of extras. Recommended for fans.