The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: PBS - 2010
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 240 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH
Directed by: Ken Burns & Lynn Novick
Written by: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, David McMahon
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 5, 2010
"The hope of a child (The gift of baseball)"
The Tenth Inning picks up the story of the national pastime where Ken Burns' epic 1994 documentary film series Baseball left off. As the tumultuous twentieth century is drawing to a close and a new millennium is about to begin, the game of baseball continues to reflect the complicated country that created it. Players and owners wage a cataclysmic battle over money and power; dazzlingly talented Latin and Asian players transform the sport; Cal Ripken becomes the game's new Iron Man; sluggers Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds do things that have never been done before; the Yankees build a dynasty, while their arch rivals, the Red Sox, stage the greatest comeback in history. In September of 2001, at a time when America seems most threatened, baseball offers the hope that things will one day return to normal. The national pastime has become more popular, and more profitable than ever, but suspicions and revelations about performance enhancing drugs keep surfacing, threatening the integrity of the game itself. Still, through it all, baseball endures a game of infinite possibility and surpassing beauty.
Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and written by Burns, Novick and David McMahon, Baseball: The Tenth Inning celebrates baseball's enduring appeal and how it continues to reflect the complicated country that created it. Following baseball's trajectory from 1992 through 2009, the film vividly presents the ups and downs of the sport against the backdrop of the social and cultural changes in the Unite States at the turn of the millennium. The four hour miniseries is divided into two segments, First is the Top of the tenth (1992-1999):
In 1994, the national pastime faces its worst crisis in 70 years when a bitter and prolonged strike forces the cancellation of the World Series, infuriating fans dismayed by the athletes and teams they once worshipped. Baseball has to rebuild. And rebuild it does, with new stadiums, an infusion of new players from Latin America and the shattering of historic records previously considered unbreakable. Cal Ripken Jr. sets an amazing record of consecutive games played, helping rekindle the country's love of the game. Barry Bonds, son of the great right fielder Bobby Bonds, signs the most lucrative contract to date in baseball history and thrills San Francisco fans. Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux pitch the Atlanta Braves to the pinnacle. The Yankees return to glory after two decades of disappointment. The bulked up sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivate the nation as they chase Roger Maris' single season home run record. Meanwhile, more and more players are making life-altering decisions about how far they are willing to go to succeed.
The second is The bottom of the tenth (1999-2009): In the first decade of the 21st century, baseball is booming. In an age of home runs and power, Pedro Martinez and a handful of other superb pitchers still manage to dominate. The astonishingly talented right fielder Ichiro Suzuki becomes MLB's first Japanese position player and a hero back home. As America reels from the horror of the 9/11 attacks, baseball provides solace, and in an incredible World Series, gives the country something to cheer about. As the rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox reaches the boiling point, long-suffering Boston fans rejoice in their first World Series victory in 86 years, while Giants and Cubs fans endure devastating losses. Barry Bonds demolishes Mark McGwire's home-run record and sets his sights on Henry Aaron's revered all time mark. The game is more popular than ever, but revelations about steroids cast a shadow on many of the era's greatest stars and their historic accomplishments.
I love baseball. I have loved it since I was a kid and first picked up a bat. Having played it at various levels I have an appreciation and passion for its inherent complexities, unpredictability, and exhilarating fun. I have only seen bits and pieces of Ken Burn's documentary series BaseBall but what I saw of it was enthralling. Watching The tenth inning is every bit as fascinating as it encapsulates the time period. It's easy to forget the impact that the last twenty years has had on the great game of baseball. This is in both good and bad ways but in either case it hasn't diminished our love of the game. Speaking of the good, there is plenty to reflect on: Ichiro, Pedro, Cal chasing Gehrig, the kid, young Barry Bonds, the Braves dynasty, McGuire/Sosa/Griffey chasing Maris ('98), Joe Torre and the Yanks '96-2000, 2004 Red Sox (down 3-0 the comeback), inter-league play, the first subway series in decades, and the influx of Latino players, to name a few. The bad/sad, unfortunately there is plenty to reflect on there as well: The strike, an average player salary of $2.4 million, 2003 Cubs, 94 Expos and what could have been, 9/11, performance enhancing drugs, the Mitchell report, the wild card, and the negativity associated with steroids which places an asterisk (*) in the hearts and minds of fans. On the field there was much to celebrate as the game rebounded from the adverse effects of the strike, reveled in some of the best young talent ever to take the field, and thrilled us with exciting and dramatic post season play. Narrated by acclaimed screen and stage actor Keith David, The Tenth Inning includes interviews with a new generation of international superstars as well as veterans of the game, writers, broadcasters, and fans. It's a compelling, informative and nostalgic film with an enriching appeal that speaks to baseball fans from all generations. The film is evenly spread over two BD-50 Blu-ray Discs with the top of the tenth on Disc 1, the bottom of the tenth on Disc 2, and bonus content on each.
This film isn't rated but is suitable for general audiences.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Baseball: The tenth inning comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount and PBS featuring 1080i AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.
It should be noted that much of the film utilizes standard definition archival video footage. The quality of that footage ranges from fair to poor which results in similar imagery when upconverted to 1080i. I kept that in mind while evaluating this presentation and factored it minimally. This documentary style film boasts pleasing colors and fleshtones that appear lifelike and quite natural in depiction. The interview segments were shot in high definition and look quite good as images are well resolved appreciable detail rendering and depth. The full framed still photography looks terrific. White and black levels are consistent which helps stabilize the variable nature of the video. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack won't test the limits of your surround sound system but sounds fine. Keith David's narration and the reproduction of dialogue during the numerous interview segments is crystal clear and definitively rendered. Dialogue that was recorded as part of the originally aired footage/interviews etc. is sometimes less prominent but intelligibility isn't a problem. Other than the music score's lightly bled rear channel ambience the mix remains front oriented. Being a documentary style film there is little call for an active surround mix and to that end I didn't find the presentation lacking in any way.
- (HD) Back to the ballpark: An interview with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick - 17 minutes
- 5 additional scenes
- Interview outtakes about the era's stars - 8 segments
- Interview outtakes from each of the film's segments - (16 total)
Baseball: The tenth inning is a wonderfully informative and captivating experience as illustrated by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. I found it to be a compelling, and nostalgic documentary with an enriching appeal that speaks to baseball fans from all generations. It brings Ken Burn's Emmy Award-winning series, Baseball, an epic saga spanning the game from 1840 -2009 up to date and is a film well worth every minute its four hour runtime. Its faithful Blu-ray Disc presentation from Paramount doesn't make for eye popping high definition video however it mates well with the source material and doesn't negate the experience in any way. I thoroughly enjoyed Baseball: The tenth inning and highly recommend it.
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