All droughts end with rain. The cleansing washes away all of the curses and superstitions and improbable losses. The Chicago Cubs ended their drought. Fly the W! The Cubs are 2016 World Series champions! The 2016 Fall Classic was the end of a long road. Generations of families and friends celebrated cherished memories newly washed by a championship. And it was, perhaps even the beginning of a new kind of journey for the Cubs and their fans. Owner Tom Ricketts and General Manager Theo Epstein collaborated to shape a staff and team that could pull off the most epic of championships. With a powerful combination of talent and grit, Manager Joe Maddon’s cast of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Jake Arrieta, Dexter Fowler, Jon Lester and World Series MVP Ben Zobrist, the Cubs played better baseball than the Giants and Dodgers to set up a historically dramatic World Series against the Indians. Of course, it would come down to a Game 7 full of surprise, anxiety, and excitement. The Cubs would overcome a tenacious Indians comeback, using a mythical rain delay, inspirational speech, and an extra inning of baseball to crown a 103-win season with a World Series title. All the way, Cubs. All the way. This historic official film from Major League Baseball presents the exciting story of the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series championship run through comprehensive highlights, exclusive access and interviews, and breathtaking footage.
"The longest drought in the history of sports is over..."
If there's one thing that sports, in particular Baseball, forces fans to do is believe in the impossible. When a team lives in a drought without making a serious bid for the Championship, you start to believe that story is the reality the team will live in for the rest of time. But time has a funny way of playing tricks and making the impossible possible. 2016's World Series saw time catch up with two teams who hadn't been to the Big Show in decades, the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. Both teams had a fierce and devoted fan base thirsty for the big win. But, with games of this sort, there could only be one winner.
After seven games and extra innings and a heart-stopping rain delay, the 2016 World Series between the Indians and the Cubs was one for the books. Pitch after pitch, inning after inning, fans of both teams were glued to their seats either in the stands, a local bar, or on their couches. As someone living in Chicago during all of the drama, the air was electric. You had to be a part of it and fly the W. You didn't even have to be a fan or even love baseball to feel like you were apart of something bigger than you. When the pride of an entire city is caught up in something, that energy is magnetic. '2016 World Series Champions' from Major League Baseball perfectly recaptures the emotional highs and lows of watching that series unfold.
This recap film is a nice little summary of events that transpired. Both Cleveland and Chicago had a lot on the line. The Cubs hadn't won a World Series game in their home stadium in 71 years and Cleveland hadn't had a World Series championship in over 60 years. Two of the longest droughts in Baseball history came together and emotions were at their height. I watched every game, I knew the big plays, I experienced the heartbreak as Cleveland took a three game to one lead in the series. I experienced the excitement mount as the Cubs started to win in game 5. Each inning became a battle right up to the bitter end for both of these ballclubs. Every win was met with fireworks and fans storming the streets cheering for the Cubs. They had hope and faith that it could be done in the face of statistical odds that said they would likely lose. Game seven was simply an incredible experience. Through personal interviews, recap scenes with appropriately slowed down dramatic moments, and some somber narration from Cubs super-fan Vince Vaughn, this little 90-minute documentary efficiently and effectively recaptures the dramatic magic of those seven games.
In a matter of full disclosure, I was not born a Cubs fan. Being from Ann Arbor, Michigan, I was born into a Detroit Tigers home. Those who know their baseball history know the bit of bad blood between these two teams, but I feel like a bridge fan between these two clubs. As a Tigers fan, I took to the Cubs as my adoptive home team because of our shared hatred for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cleveland Indians, and a shared experience of going decades without a run at the Fall Classic. If there is one thing that the Cubs' victory has confirmed is that the impossible is possible - eventually. As I write this review for 2016, the Baseball season is long over, the city still flies the big blue W but there is hope that this one season wasn't the end of a drought, but the beginning of a dynasty. That big night may be long past and covered in a few inches of new snow, but seeing that W on a store window or on a passing car just makes you feel proud to have been a part of it.
This is quite possibly the most meandering review I've ever written for this website, but it's the best way I know how to capture the emotion of that experience and what this short documentary is able to capture in 90-minutes. It's overwhelming when you really take into account that it took 108 years to get this ball club a World Series win. '2016 World Series Champions' is a nice little recap event film. It's certainly one for a select audience, namely Cubs fans. If you weren't a part of that experience, this films won't be enough to help you feel that energy or magic. However, if you were at a game, a pub, or tuned into fervently to each game, then this film is the perfect way to relive the emotional rollercoaster. Baseball fans, and in particular Cubs fans, will love digging through this little flick.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'2016 World Series Champions' arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout Factory in a two-disc Blu-ray and DVD set with a Digital Copy voucher. The disc is housed in a two-disc Blu-ray case. The disc loads directly to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
With a 1.78:1 1080i presentation, '2016 World Series Champions' boasts an impressive image transfer. As this film is compiled from multiple sources, you get a little good with a little bad, but overall the image is well-detailed, bright, beautiful, colorful, and suits the needs of the film. Occasionally some of the crowd shots that were filmed outside of stadiums, at bars, or deep within the stands can exhibit some video noise and a bit of banding, but those moments and anomalies are limited to those source elements. Shots of runners on base or pitchers staring down batters are beautifully dramatic. Some of the slow motion shots really do a great job of capturing the drama of each moment in a World Series that could have gone to either team. Black levels are on point providing the image with a striking sense of three-dimensional depth. Primaries have plenty of pop - Cub's Blue and the Indians' Red for example - leap off the screen.
While the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix given the '2016 World Series Champions' is a bit heavy on the front/center channels, it does a great job managing narration, player interviews, and the energy from the crowds. When a big play would happen, that roar from the crowd is fantastic and echoes around the surround channels making you feel like you're there in the moment. Otherwise, this documentary is very much like watching a game, you get little bits of play-by-play calling, a crack of a baseball bat, the WHOMP when a ball slams into the catcher's mitt, it's a lively mix that fits this film's nature perfectly.
Regular Season Highlights: (HD 5:25) This is a very, entirely too brief collection of season highlights. After a World Series like this one, fans could sit back and watch this stuff for hours.
Clinching Moments: (HD 2:44) This is a very quick look at the plays that took the Cubs to the World Series.
World Series Highlights: (HD 9:02) Personally, I would have just liked to see the last three games of the series all over again, but this nine-minute little montage does a pretty good job of it.
World Series Parade: (HD 2:12) I made the bad decision to go to the DMV that day to get my new license plates and got caught in the craziness of Cubs Win fever. It was a wild afternoon and this little feature doesn't begin to cover the insanity on the ground.
Cubs on David Ross: (HD 1:35) Ross was a big reason the Cubs go to where they are today and this is a nice if too short tribute to the retired catcher.
If you are a massive baseball fan or happen to live in Chicago, '2016 World Series Champions' is the perfect companion piece to one of the greatest World Series ever played. Of course, that is coming from an adoptive Cubs fan, if you're an Indians fan this film amounts to rubbing salt in an open wound. Shout Factory brings this little documentary recap of events to Blu-ray in terrific order with a pristine A/V presentation and a couple decent bonus features. Obviously, this Blu-ray isn't for everyone out there and really is for the fans.