Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 15, 2021)
More than three decades after their last championship, the Los Angeles Dodgers won their seventh World Series. We relive this event in a massive package called 2020 World Series Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers.
A smaller set entitled 2020 World Series offered a documentary overview of the pandemic-shortened season and the Dodgers’ path to their seventh MLB championship, their first since 1988. This set gives us every game of the 2020 World Series in its entirety.
Each disc details a game, and by “detail”, I mean that Champions offers complete Fox broadcasts. Or mostly complete – we don’t get pre-game material and the games tend to start somewhat abruptly, as we get no title cards or introductions.
Instead, we enter the broadcasts right as the first batter comes to the plate. This isn’t a major issue, but it seems more abrupt than it should be – the package’s producers surely could’ve found a smoother way to launch the games. We do find post-game summaries from MLB Network analysts, though.
Transitions between half-innings can also be awkward. Sometimes the games cut to/from commercials in a smooth manner, but on other occasions, the games fade in/out in a strangely sudden way.
These “complaints” remain minor, though, as Champions does what it needs to do 99 percent of the time. The Blu-rays give us all the game action as we would’ve seen it on TV, and that’s a fun way to re-experience the contests.
If you’re a big fan, that is. Let’s face it: even most of the LA faithful aren’t going to sit down and watch more than 16 hours of old baseball games, so Champions comes with limited appeal.
That said, I really like the concept. Sure, a highlight package or a documentary offer a more efficient capsule, but it feels less “honest”. Here we can experience every pitch and swing in real time and not be subject to choices made by others.
Champions offers a cool option that expands its versatility: multiple audio tracks. In addition to the default Fox TV announcers, we can listen to the local LA radio broadcasters.
While they comment on the same action, they offer differing perspectives and stories, so this audio addition boosts the package’s value. Unfortunately, unlike earlier releases, the 2020 set lacks the losing team’s radio announcers, so we don’t hear from the Rays’ crew.
As for the games themselves, they varied in terms of competition. Games One and Three offered blowouts, as LA took Game One 8-2 and then won Game Three 6-2.
The other four events provided tighter affairs, though. Two runs separated winner from loser in three of those contests, and Game Four became the most exciting of the whole Series, as the Rays came from behind to win 8-7 with two runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Speaking of top/bottom of innings, the 2020 World Series got played on neutral territory to negate the risks of COVID transmission. MLB treated LA as the “home team” for games 1, 2, 6 and 7 (if they’d needed the latter) whereas Tampa was “home” for games 3, 4 and 5.
However, the 2020 World Series took place entirely in Globe Life Field outside of Dallas, the Texas Rangers’ home field. Due to the pandemic, MLB also limited crowd size, which meant about 11,500 fans per game rather than the park’s usual capacity of 40,300.
This may make this package more appealing to LA fans, as so few could see the Dodgers play in the Series. Granted, only a fraction of their boosters would’ve gone to the games anyway, but with the contests 1400 miles away and with relatively small crowds allowed, TV became even more important as a viewing option.
Personally, I don’t’ think the 2020 World Series offered a great event, especially after the insanity of the 2019 Nationals/Astros battle. The overall story of the 2020 MLB season remains the most interesting due to all the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
That won’t matter to Dodgers fans, as they’ll enjoy the chance to relive their 32-years-in-the-making championship. Despite some minor quibbles, this package becomes a fun way to rewatch all six games.