DVD Review: New York Mets 50th Anniversary DVD Set
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Distributor: A&E Home Video
by Chris Delloiacono
Published: September 27, 2012
A&E and Major League Baseball have recently produced some outstanding multi-disc collector’s sets. To be honest, the “Mets: 50th Anniversary Collector’s Set” may not have national appeal like last year’s “Baseball’s Greatest Games” collection, but it will light up the day of any fan of the currently downtrodden team. This is an accumulation of mostly feel good moments, which is something fans of the Mets haven’t had enough of the past six seasons.
The ten-disc collection is housed within a 26-page hardcover book with slipcase. The pages are loaded with pictures and just enough text. The book is broken into parts entitled “Heroics,” “Moments,” “Characters,” and “Home Plate.” The text leads you to view content on the various discs. It’s all very well presented. This set obviously isn’t about the book, but what’s slid inside the pages.
Moments – Discs 1-3
The first section of DVDs is actually the second section of the book. It includes six different season highlight films (1963, 1969, 1973, 1978, 1988 and 1990). These films can be rosy even when it’s an off year, but baseball is meant to be enjoyed and not sulked over. To hear Ralph Kiner or Bob Murphy talk you through a season is an absolute joy. You also get the 1969 and 1986 World Series films that you know have a Hollywood ending. I grew up watching these films on ESPN, along with the NFL and NHL productions. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was one of the only ways to see the key plays in sports history once they had aired.
“An Amazing Era” was easily my favorite piece in this section, and probably on the entire set. Produced in the late ‘80s, it’s the history of the Mets through the first 25 years. I’d venture to say that first quarter century was at times hard to watch, but it probably offered more thrills per capita than the last twenty-five. All said, it’s a nice representation of the first half of the Mets history with lots of interviews and plenty of footage.
Characters – Discs 4-9
Two more season films, 2000 and 2006, start off the next section. These were both awesome years to be a Mets fan right until the last pitch. Both of these squads boasted strong pitching and batting orders that generated a lot of runs. Each season ended without a World Series title, but you felt as if the next season would offer even more thrills and greater post season success. It was hard enough after 2000 to deal with three mostly down years. Since 2006 we’ve dealt with two late season collapses and four mostly horrific seasons of dismal failure. These two upbeat specials were painful to watch, because those seasons were fun, but the other ten seasons between were harsh from a Mets’ fans perspective.
There’re also five full games to pop in when you need to see a Mets victory. The first is Game 3 of the 1969 World Series against the Orioles. This should be known as the Tommy Agee game as he hit a first inning home run and made two spectacular catches in the outfield. The game is more than forty years old, but it looks and sounds much better than I expected. The colors are clean and the sound quality is excellent. The DVD starts with the first batter, which is a major disappointment, as I hoped some pregame footage would be included.
You also get two games from the 1986 run to the title. The first is game 6 of the NLCS which is the memorable 16-inning defeat of the Houston Astros. This is one of those games that teams destined for a championship find a way to win. Much like the sixth game of the ’86 World Series when the Red Sox threw away a title with a tenth inning meltdown like few others. These games both show a Mets team that refuses to lose. Here’s hoping another team like that will be playing in Flushing soon.
More recent games are the 2000 NLCS clincher when Mike Hampton pitched a complete game 3-hit gem to knock the Cardinals out of the playoffs. There’s also Mike Piazza’s iconic home run game from September 21, 2001. That was the first sporting event in NY after the September 11th attacks on the United States. The game didn’t lead to any post season glory, but it was a feel good moment at a time when locals needed it. Nothing included is a bad choice, but a few more would have made this an even better deal. A game from the 1973 run to the playoffs should have been here and probably one from 2006 as well.
Home Plate – Disc 10
The tenth disc, “New York Mets: 50 Greatest Players” can also be purchased on its own. These are the types of specials that are so much fun to watch, awesome to debate, but in the end something you’ll probably never agree with entirely. Most of the people that belong on this list are present, with a few exceptions, although you may disagree with the order. It’s a slick special that runs over an hour and features lots of interviews and game film. Way too little time is spent on the first half of the list. Some of the players get less than 30 seconds of time. The special could have used a two-hour running time to really fill out the discussion.
My greatest quibble was including Bobby Bonilla on the list, albeit at #49. If you want to salute big money players from a bleak era why not include Vince Coleman as well? Eek! My other major quibble was Mike Piazza at #6. He was far too important to a sustained run of enjoyment and meaningful games in the fall to be sixth. Daryl Strawberry at #5 just didn’t feel right to me. I think Piazza and Strawberry should have flip-flopped. It’s all just semantics, though. Special features include a number of two or three minute snippets from big Mets victories. It’s an enjoyable disc that ensconces most of the best players to wear Mr. Met’s favorite uniform.
Being a Mets fan has afforded several truly special moments and a lot of hard times. Right now it’s a down time for the team, but this set offers a chance to look back on those times when being a Mets fan was a blast. The team will be back and offer many more thrills. For now, this set will get me through another fall and winter where the Hot Stove season is going to be the only meaningful moments until next spring.