Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 26, 2022)
Though the Atlanta Braves dominated Major League Baseball in the 1990s, they only earned one World Series title to show for it. 2021 brought them back to the Fall Classic and gave them their first championship in 26 years.
We relive this event in a massive package called 2021 World Series Champions: Atlanta Braves. This follows their triumph over the Houston Astros.
A smaller set entitled World Series 2021 offered a documentary overview of the season and the Braves’ path to their fourth MLB championship, their first since 1996. This set gives us every game of the 2021 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 Atlanta faithful aren’t going to sit down and watch more than almost 17 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 those feel 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 Atlanta or Houston radio broadcasters.
While they comment on the same action, they offer differing perspectives and stories, so this audio addition boosts the package’s value. The 2020 World Series set dropped the “losing team” radio option, so I’m happy to see it return here.
As for the games themselves, they varied in terms of competition, as Games One, Two, Five and Six offered blowouts. Actually, despite the lopsided 9-5 Houston victory in Game Five, it remained competitive until the fifth inning, but the other three were over early.
At least Games Three and Four provided tighter affairs, though the “narrative” would seem stronger if Games Five and Six became the close ones. Game Three went to Atlanta 2-0, while Game Four saw the Braves win 3-2.
Personally, I don’t’ think the 2021 World Series offered a great event, especially since it came only two years after the insanity of the 2019 Washington Nationals/Astros battle.
That won’t matter to Braves fans, as they’ll enjoy the chance to relive their 26-years-in-the-making championship. Despite some minor quibbles, this package becomes a fun way to rewatch all six games.