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on November 30, 2011
First of all, this is simply a wonderful ballgame. Of course, there is the exciting finish, the great Oz hitting it out seconds after NBC flashed a graphic telling us that he had never hit a home run left-handed (the only comparable bit of prescience that comes to mind is the information offered in 1988 to the effect that Jose Canseco had never hit a grand slam).

Equally fascinating, at least if you're a baseball fan, is watching Fernando Valenzuela manage to keep his team in the game for eight innings without a semblance of his usual control (eight walks!). And Ozzie Smith makes a play at shortstop, coming across the second base bag, twisting to make a perfect throw to first, that offers a hint as to why at his peak he played the position like no one before or since. Most of us, if we tried to make our bodies do something like that, would end up in traction.

But what makes this DVD extra special is the chance to listen to two of the greatest play-by-play men ever, Vin Scully on TV and Jack Buck on radio. Buck's call for a home-town audience ("Go crazy") is justly famous, but (like all the great ones and unlike most of today's panderers to the MTV generation) Buck also has a perfect sense of the pace and tension of the game. And Scully is, in the words of Jon Miller, "the best there ever was, the best there ever will be." Ideally, he would work alone, as he has for more than 60 years with the Dodgers, but fortunately, Joe Garagiola is in one of his mellower moods and doesn't feel a need to tell us over and over how things were in his day. Of course, Vinnie had seen every inning Valenzuela had ever pitched in the majors and knew almost immediately that he didn't have his best stuff. Buck never really picks up on that, but then he's calling the game from a Cardinal perspective.

My only regret is that NBC, presumably for reasons of time, chose to cut away from the game within minutes of the end ("Of course, Ozzie Smith is the MVP bye now."), but at least they gave us time for the crowd reaction--both Scully and Buck know that there are times when the best thing to say is nothing.

This is a treasure, a must for anyone who loves the most nearly perfect team sport ever invented. It's so good, I'd even recommend it to Dodger fans.

Now how about Game 6? Then we could argue all over again about Lasorda allowing Tom Niedenfuer to pitch to Jack Clark. For the record, I think it was defensible: the on-deck hitter was Andy van Slyke, left-handed and definitely not chopped liver. But that's the thing about percentages: sometimes doing the right thing doesn't work out according to the probabilities (after all the probability of anybody getting a hit in any at-bat is at best one in three or so).
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on January 11, 2014
Without question this game is worthy of being called one of Baseball's Greatest Games. You can feel the tension build during the game. NBC handled the LCS's in 1985, and Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola handle announcing duties. As for Vin, well what more can you say? I'd listen to him read the Applebee's menu. The two work well together. There's only one instance that I recall (during a Cesar Cedeno at-bat) where they are talking over each other, each discussing something different.

The DVD's only drawback, which is why I didn't go five stars, is during the top of the 7th there are audio and video issues. The picture is blurrier and Vin and Joe sound like they're announcing over the phone. It clears up before the half-inning is up, so don't let this deter you from buying this. It's still a very good DVD worth getting.
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