MSRP: $79.98
RUNNING TIME: 16 Hours, 20 Minutes + Extras

  • Clubhouse celebration
  • 2006 World Series trophy and MVP presentation
  • NL Central Divison and NLDS clinching highlights
  • Rare
    interviews with Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Tony
    LaRussa, Jeff Suppan, Adam Wainwright, Jeff Weaver, and Preston Wilson
  • Highlights of the Cardinals’ 1982 World Series victory
  • Opening ceremonies of the new Busch Stadium
  • Spanish audio track of Fox En Espanol broadcast
  • Essential statistics (on box sleeve)

The Pitch

25 players. One team. One goal.

The Humans

Tony LaRussa. Albert Pujols. Yadier Molina. Scott Rolen. Jim Edmonds. Chris Carpenter. Scott Spezio. Chris Duncan. Jason Marquis. David Eckstein. Jeff Suppan. Jeff Weaver. Juan Encarnacion. Preston Wilson. Ronnie Belliard. The Detroit Tigers. The New York Mets.

"Dear God, please let me open my eyes and there be no New York Mets."

The Nutshell

The St. Louis Cardinals opened up a new stadium in April and a can of whupass in October, completing a truly magical season for one of the most gloried and storied of baseball franchises. They had the least wins of all the teams in the postseason and they almost gave their division away in the second half. They had no right winning the whole thing, especially after the Cinderella team in Detroit kicked the Yankees home and set themselves out to be the big story of 2006 sports. Right or not, win they did and this is their tale…

A great catch made even better when, three innings later his team lost.

The Lowdown

The focus of this set is to showcase the last few games of the 2006 season for the Cardinals, beginning with their upset of my hated New York Mets with amazing pitching and some truly clutch hitting by guys like Yadier Molina, whom from a certain angle looks like he just popped Medusa’s headbag in Clash of the Titans. Games 5 and 7 of the NLCS are two of the closest and most tense games in recent memory and the clincher in particular is a nail biter no matter which team you follow. The 7th inning is one of the most incredible bits of drama you’ll see on a baseball diamond.

After that emotional pick-me-up (the Mets were a heavy favorite) it was off to Detroit for a surprisingly brief World Series. 2006 was an incredible year for the sport. The year kicked off with the World Baseball Classic, an event that to me was everything they’d promised it’d be. Pure baseball. All sorts of incredible players. A testimony that fundamentals kicks the ass out of big muscles and star power. From there on, the year showcased a much more stern (though hardly wholly comprehensive) approach towards performance enhancing drugs, some really exciting pennant races, and most importantly… steps towards more parity in baseball. For the first time in ages, there were no guarantees of who would emerge as playoff teams and that is what most sports aspire for. Sure, the teams that spend the most usually have a great chance [aside from the Cubs, who will make amends and win the central in 2007] of pulling it off but this was a year of damn good baseball. Possibly the best since the player’s union gave us all an enema in 1995.

Well, it’d have been a lot better if the Braves made it, but it was still a lovely year.

Tell me that guy isn’t THE poster boy for New York fans.

The thing I really got from revisiting these games was how special the Cardinals team really was. They underperformed during the regular season, no doubt. There were injuries. There was some surprising surges by their division rivals (except for the Cubs, who were a pile of bastard). There were factors, but when it counted they reminded us why they are perennial darlings to go to the dance. If you remember, it was these guys were the ones steamrolled by the Red Sox in 2004 but with that considered they still have been as dangerous as any team in the 2000’s. With the three pronged attack of LaRussa, Pujols, and Eckstein, these guys stepped up to be a rather old school champion.

They had their big names and contracts but there was a very grunt-like and team oriented nature to them. The same can be said for the Detroit Tigers, who are still THE team of 2006, but the Mets weren’t. They have swagger in spades. The St. Louis Cardinals had a youth-like joy of the game which is evident in every of the many game-winning hits on the bonus DVD. This is a good team to be winning a World Series at the nadir of the Steroid Era.

Keep in mind, I am not a fan of the Cards. I wanted them to get blasted out of first place by the Astros in the last week of the season because the underperformed so hardcore.

But they deserved this.

The real Cap’n Hook.

This is a pretty cool little set of discs, not as timeless as the Red Sox set or as classy as the Yankees one, but a really "everyman" chunk of baseball games. They’re rather addictive, and on more than one occasion I had to pop in the next game right after the previous one rather than waiting for the right time to watch baseball. There’s really no better time to review baseball DVD’s than when there’s no baseball on the tube.

If you like good baseball and don’t give a damn which teams are playing, this is a really swell set.

Disclaimer: Nick Nunziata loves baseball as much as air. He owns an XM subscription for one channel, XM 175 Home Plate. He watches damn near every Braves and Yankees game in the season and thanks to MLB extra innings a lot of the others teams as well. He is what you would call certifiable. Go about your business.

Revealed: How Scott Spezio gets from home to first in 3.2 seconds and with an impressive 19 MPG in the city!

The Package

Let me first go on record by saying that whomever is responsible for the packaging of A&E’s line of baseball boxed sets is not only a genius but a genius with a giant rod. The usage of the DVD case to convey box scores, trivia, and all the stats any man (or Bill James) would want is absolutely phenomenal. It makes watching the ballgames even more fun as you ‘cheat’ to see if the next guy is gonna get his walk or home run int hat at-bat.

On top of that there’s always a bonus DVD with these sets that feature the celebrations and P.R. appearances, and this one has some really amazing interviews with the principle members of team and staff. Really nice stuff, and if you like me read 3 Nights in August, there’s a lot of nice intimate moments with Tony LaRussa which showcases just how good of a baseball man he is.

Although, I bite my knuckles every time he makes a pitching change. Captain friggin’ Hook.

One thing I really think they need to do with these sets is to have a commentary track with select players and personnel. From both teams. I know these sets cost a lot to make and are boutique items that aren’t going to sell Pirates of the Caribbean kinds of numbers, but I think commentaries serve this material well. I want to know what these guys were thinking as they see the game from our perspective. I want to know what we DIDN’T see. Stuff like that. That’s all I’d need to make these sets even more of a mainstay in my collection.

As it stands, this is choice stuff. Some of the best DVD sports available.

Even if it’s the Cardinals and not the Braves or Yankees.

The swing that broke the Mets’ back. Thank you, Yadier!

8.5 out of 10