Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 15, 2020)
On May 23, 2019, the Washington Nationals’ record stood at 19-31, a .380 winning percentage that left them with the second-worst record in the National League. Any chances they’d reach the playoffs seemed non-existent.
However, the Nats went 74-38 the rest of the way – a .661 clip – and made the playoffs via the Wild Card. The Nats went on to earn the World Series trophy in seven games, each one of which they won on the road, the first time a home team won zero games in a World Series.
Why do I mention this in a review of 2020 World Series? Because I’m a Nats fan – one who attended Game Five at no insubstantial financial expense – and since Shout! never sent me a review copy of 2019 World Series, I need to get that off my chest!
Back to your regularly scheduled review. More than three decades after their last championship, the Los Angeles Dodgers won their seventh World Series. We review this event in a documentary called 2020 World Series.
The program mixes ballgame footage and interviews. In the latter vein, we hear from managers Dave Roberts and Kevin Cash and players Brandon Lowe, Will Smith, Clayton Kershaw, Charlie Morton, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Mookie Betts, Blake Snell, Brett Phillips, Hunter Renfroe, Willy Adames, Kevin Kiermaier, Max Muncy, and Kike Hernandez.
After a little less than seven minutes about the COVID-shortened regular season, Series leaps straight to the start of the Fall Classic. It goes into details for all six games that led to the Dodgers’ victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
In general, athletes tend to be less than enthralling interview subjects. Some exceptions exist, of course, but the Bull Durham model holds true, so players often rely on banalities.
That becomes the case here, as the various athletes and managers don’t give us much perspective about the events. Oh, they toss out some observations about the games, but they keep things fairly superficial, so we don’t feel like we gain true insight.
Instead, Series attempts to goose the excitement level with a relentlessly urgent presentation. The documentary occasionally gives the viewer a breather, but it usually tosses elements out like the climax of an action movie.
This gets tiresome before long, especially because the 2020 didn’t offer one of MLB’s most compelling Series. While competitive enough to go to six games, it just never turned as exciting as the best Series – especially after the craziness of 2019.
That said, the documentary amps up the excitement to artificial levels, and this makes it something of a chore to watch. It doesn’t become a fatal flaw, but it lends an annoying air to the show.
At its best, 2020 World Series gives us a competent summary of the games, and it’s nice to get narration from legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. However, it lacks the depth to become much more than a collection of highlights, one damaged by an overly dramatic presentation. It’s not a bad show but it could’ve been better.