Blu-ray Review: The 2020 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers

The six-game series condensed to 90 minutes of highlights.

By , Contributor
This year's official Major League Baseball presentation documenting the Fall Classic is indelibly marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and its profound effects on the baseball season. Every facet of American life was altered throughout the course of this bizarre year and professional sports was no exception. Shortly after the conclusion of each season, MLB traditionally issues a documentary that condenses the drama of the World Series into a 90-minute viewing experience. It's not a recap of the whole season, but The 2020 World Series film doesn't ignore the fact that this was a very different year for the game.

The joy is in seeing Dave Roberts' Dodgers, NL pennant winners for three of the past four years, finally win a championship for Los Angeles—its first since 1988. And of course they lost the championship in 2017 to the proven cheaters, the Houston Astros, arguably the most despicable team since the 1919 White Sox. So Roberts and his team were due, to say the least. The 2020 World Series went six thrilling games, a true David and Goliath clash with the mega-payroll Dodgers squaring off against the very best AL team, the micro-payroll Tampa Bay Rays.

For Dodgers fans, this film is a victory lap that will likely serve as a prelude to next February's Shout! Factory release of the full, unedited World Series (all six games, plus the clinching NLDS and NLCS games). Usually these two home video releases are issued simultaneously, but this year fans have to wait till Spring Training time to relive the full games. If you've seen any of the previous official World Series documentaries, you know it's basically a highlight reel. But again for Dodgers fans, what highlights—all the better for the fact that the legendary voice of the Dodgers, Vin Scully, narrates. The 93-year-old Scully sounds fantastic as he recaps the various high points in an exciting series.

But yes, the on-going horror of Covid-19 hangs over the entire proceedings. While fans were prohibited from attending any games throughout the brutally-truncated 60-game regular season, the neutral ground of Arlington's Globe Life Field opened up to greatly-reduced capacity. Players are heard expressing their shock of seeing actual real-life fans in the stands (as opposed to the cardboard cutouts that many teams utilized) .

Dodger third baseman Justin Turner's mid-game six positive Covid test result is mentioned. His subsequent (and highly controversial) maskless post-game celebration among teammates and their families is ignored. But as an in-house production, that's not really surprising—this film focuses on the positives, for the most part. Kevin Cash's scrappy Rays, and the emergence of Randy Arozarena as a post-season hero, are a bit short-changed in terms of telling the series' story. But again, par for the course with these Cliff's Notes versions. There just isn't enough time to tell it from the losing team's perspective as well.

Not really a knock, as this is clearly the Dodgers' moment. Just know going in that The 2020 World Series isn't really a well-rounded, expansive exploration of two competing teams. It isn't a reflection on the wild, wooly, Covid-dominated short season, with it's 7-inning double headers and "free man on second" for all extra innings (gag me). It's a recap of six outstanding baseball games that saw Clayton Kershaw finally shake off what seemed a postseason curse with two wins and Mookie Betts continue making the most of his first year with the LA.

It also highlights the undeniably legendary moments sparked by the Rays. No one who saw it will ever forget the jaw-dropping final moments of game four, when inept Dodger fielding allowed Brett Phillips first-ever postseason hit to bring in two runs (the first an RBI for Phillips, the second on a ghastly error by Dodgers catcher Will Smith). Also incredible for entirely different reasons, Cash's decision to pull his ace Blake Snell in game six, seemingly a gift to LA. Snell was in the midst of what might have been the finest performance of his career. (Don't look here for a replay of Snell's famous slo-mo 'F bomb,' though his frustration was entirely understandable).

There are a few special features on Shout!'s Blu-ray/DVD combo. The best is 14 minutes of postgame interviews immediately following the Dodgers game six victory. There are three additional montages, each under 10 minutes, providing highlights from the Dodgers' regular and postseason games.

Recommended for baseball fans as a neat way to revisit a particularly unique World Series.

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Chaz Lipp is a Las Vegas-based musician and freelance writer. His new jazz album 'Good Merlin' is now available.

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