Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series: Ultimate Edition Blu-ray Review

The Cubs Win the 2016 World Series in a Thrilling Game 7

108 years. That is how long it took for the Cubs to break the Curse of the Billy Goat. It had been over a century for the Chicago Cubs and their long-suffering fans before their epic, come-from-behind World Series victory in 2016 over the Cleveland Indians. The overwhelming elation their fans feel must be incredible in the afterglow of their long overdue win.

For those fans that want to relive that experience again and again, MLB and Shout Factory teamed up to release the complete Game 7 in this two-disc Ultimate Edition set. Already considered one of the all-time great Fall Classics, the 2016 World Series will be remembered for generations by all MLB fans.

Every inning, play, and heart-stopping moment of Game 7 from Fox network’s broadcast is included. Calling the game are Fox announcers Joe Buck and Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz. The complete, unedited footage of the network broadcast is shown exactly as it aired on television, minus commercials. That includes the post-game portion with on-the-field interviews and the trophy presentation. Also shown is the 17-minute rain delay, which built up suspense for the fateful tenth inning. For those fans that dislike for Joe Buck as announcer, both the Cleveland and Chicago radio feeds are included as alternate soundtracks.

Cubs fans should embrace this moment for everything it’s worth

Who can forget the Indians’ Rajai Davis’ two-run homer off the flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the Eighth Inning? The improbable homerun capped a remarkable comeback by the Indians after an early deficit in the game, when their ace pitcher Corey Kluber coughed up four runs over four innings. That homerun pushed the game into extra innings for only the fifth time in Game 7 World Series history. The rest as they say is history, ending the 108-year championship drought. It was fitting that their young superstar Kris Bryant made the final play that secured them the World Series victory.

It was a bittersweet loss for the Indians, so close to their own championship for the first time in 68 years. The city of Cleveland finally broke their sports championship drought when the Cavaliers won the NBA Finals earlier in the year, but that is little consolation to Indians fans that have seen their team lose incredibly close World Series before. The 1997 team also lost in extra innings in Game 7, to the Marlins. The 1995 team lost a close six-game World Series to the Braves.

Somewhere Harry Caray is smiling down on his beloved Cubbies for finally winning a World Series. This thrilling Game 7 will fondly be remembered for generations by baseball fans everywhere. Ending the longest championship drought in pro sports, Cubs fans should embrace this moment for everything it’s worth. They don’t come around very often. I still cherish the memory of my Atlanta Braves and their lone World Series win in my lifetime, back in 1995.

If you already laid out the money for the 8-disc Collector’s edition of this World Series, this is the same Game 7 disc. Some minor, new special features with footage of the Cubs’ parade is exclusive to this release.

Video

This two-disc set from Shout Factory presents the uncut Fox network broadcast of Game 7. That is 220 minutes of HD video exactly as you remember it from television in its 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

The game broadcast gets its own BD-50, encoded in a transparent AVC encode with no artifacts. It is clear, bright video typical of sports broadcasts, less polished than studio-shot productions. That doesn’t mean it has any real problems. The color saturation and contrast are completely dialed-in with sharp focus.

Audio

The primary audio is a 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack in stereo featuring Joe Buck and John Smoltz as announcers. A bit tinny, Fox broadcasts for baseball are fairly conservative affairs. Some crowd noise seeps into the broadcast and boom mikes pick up on-field audio when needed.

The great thing is that both teams get their radio broadcasts included as secondary options. Being a fan of neither team beyond my general rooting interest in MLB, the Cleveland radio announcer does a better job with the bigger moments. He goes absolutely crazy when Davis hits the game-tying homer. The Cubs’ announcers have a more reserved style, and I thought their final call when Bryant got the final out was underwhelming. The Spanish broadcast is a fourth option.

No subtitles are included.

Extras

This is where some new material is included on this set, differentiating it from the 8-disc Collector’s Edition which has every game included. The actual Game 7 discs are identical. What is new here is raw footage of the Cubs’ championship parade in Chicago, including speeches by Zobrist and Rizzo. I’m not exactly sure what makes this an Ultimate Edition. It feels kind of light on special features considering these are one-time viewings at best.

World Series Parade Highlights (15:54 in HD) – Raw footage of the Cubs in their championship parade, including speeches by team leaders Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo. This was left off the more expensive Collector’s edition and some fans requested its inclusion.

NLDS Highlights (16:54 in HD) – Clips of Cubs’ highlights against the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. People forget the Cubs would have lost this series if the Giants’ bullpen hadn’t blown it. Shown without context or commentary, this featurette wasn’t as useful as I would have thought. The selection of plays is also questionable, mostly going for scoring plays.

NLCS Highlights (29:12 in HD) – Highlights of the Cubs beating the L.A. Dodgers in the NLCS.

World Series Highlights (30:56 in HD) – Highlights from the entire series against the Indians.

MLB Promo (02:51 in HD) – A promo reel of MLB-related trailers opens up both discs in this set.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not influenced DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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