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Baseball: A Film By Ken Burns (DVD Review)

28 Mar, 2010 By: John Latchem

Sports Documentary
$99.99 10-DVD set
Not rated

The April 4 start of the 2010 Major League Baseball season provides a perfect opportunity for fans to re-acquaint themselves with all that came before.

Ken Burns’ Baseball is the definitive history of the game, from its origins in the 19th century to the formation of the Major Leagues, the important games, the rise of the great players and even the history of the Negro Leagues. Through archival footage and interviews with those who influenced the game and were influenced by it, Burns presents the national pastime as a metaphor for America, growing and changing with the times.

This is not just a wonderful sports DVD, rich in memory and detail, but also one of the all-time great documentaries. I think it ranks up there with Burns’ classic The Civil War, if not better, and is a must-have for any fan of Burns or baseball.

The nine-part documentary first aired in 1994, just as a players strike had prematurely ended the season and canceled the World Series. Yet here was Baseball, reminding fans of everything we were missing and why we loved the game so much.

The narrative of Baseball ends before Burns had to deal with the strike, but the filmmaker has indicated he’s preparing a follow-up to cover the years since then, focusing on the resurgence of the game and the controversies of steroids. I can’t wait to see it.

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