- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Another season of professional baseball has begun, so here’s a look at some multimedia magic that will complement fans’ lives as they slide onto the couch to watch their teams in action.

First, A&E; Home Video offers an unbelievable amount of footage via DVD that will immerse any fan into the world of Major League Baseball. Its boxed sets offer days’ worth of nonstop action as viewers digest unforgettable moments from the big leagues.

• New York Mets 1986 Collector’s Edition ($89.95). The Boston Red Sox were a strike away from a World Series title until a ball hit by Mookie Wilson squirted through Bill Buckner’s legs and eventually turned the Mets into the champs. The seven games of the series on this nine-disc set offer 28 hours of pain (for the Red Sox fan) or glee (for the Mets fan). Bonus interviews and features from 1986 and years later include a heartbreaking talk with Mr. Buckner, who looks befuddled by all of the attention his error has gotten over the years.

• Chicago White Sox: The 2005 World Series Collector’s Edition ($69.95). Within 20 hours of viewing, South Siders from the Windy City can bask in watching their team finally recapture the coveted title after an 87-year drought. Six complete games from the playoffs and World Series are complemented by parade footage and players’ speeches.

• Boston Red Sox: 2004 World Series Collector’s Edition ($89.95). Twelve discs highlight the impossible dream for the Red Sox fan as the curse of the Bambino finally is lifted and the team wins the World Series. The footage delivers the memories, including all seven games of the American League Championship Series versus the Yankees and the four games versus the St. Louis Cardinals that cemented the crown. Extras include the 90-minute official World Series film and 12 bonus clips, including one of the team visiting the White House.

• The New York Yankees Fall Classic Collector’s Edition 1996-2001 ($79.95) The Joe Torre-managed Bronx Bombers, who won four titles in this span, get the royal treatment through this seven-disc set, which features five complete games from each of their championship battles. Fans also get goodies such as four World Series films, an inning from Doc Gooden’s no-hitter in 1996 and various Yankees commenting on their favorite moments from those years.

Next up, the Legend to Legend: Conversations With Bob Wolff DVD (Hart Sharp Video, $19.99) offers more than two hours of interviews conducted by the sports broadcasting great culled from the Baseball Hall of Fame’s film archives. Everyone from Mickey Mantle to Eddie Murray to Yogi Berra to Casey Stengel passes by Mr. Wolff’s microphone.

Now, saturated with league history, PlayStation 2 owners can test their managerial prowess and the speed with which they can perform virtual athletic miracles as they become one with MLB 06: The Show (Sony Computer Entertainment, $49.99).

I cannot even begin to comprehend the mountains of options afforded the serious baseball gamer in this title, especially players wanting to take part in a full season or online fanatics out to challenge the world. Just a few include controlling a 40-man roster, a sports news ticker updated every hour and 32-team online tournaments.

This average guy just wants to easily pitch, hit and field a ball while mixing it up with some of my favorite players, and MLB 06 delivers.

The look of the title still needs work, as the stadiums and fields are rough around the edges, and though the fielders’ movements are almost incredible, the faces are still a bit creepy-looking. A batter in the box, however, appears to be nearly at live, broadcast quality and is a sight to behold.

Players who want to take the game on the road can grab the PlayStation Portable version of MLB 06 ($39.99). It does not include the life-consuming franchise mode, in which a gamer manages a team from spring training through an entire season, but it has almost all of the other features offered by its PS2 brother while providing wireless multiplayer connectivity.

Write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; or send e-mail ([email protected]washingtontimes.com).

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