Now on the gift list: The World Series and The World Almanac

by Mark Burger

The holidays are right around the corner as are the NFL playoffs, but A&E Networks Home Entertainment has a special offer for those who can’t get enough of baseball. Until Jan. 7, there will be a special holiday discount on iTunes to download every official World Series film from 1943 until 2012.

Each World Series documentary, produced by Major League Baseball, is available for $9.99 (standard definition) or $12.99 (high definition) at at

Originally, the official World Series films were produced at the behest of the US State Department so that troops overseas could enjoy a highlight reel of the World Series. The practice proved so popular that the films were continued every year afterward, even after World War II ended.

Now, of course, these films are as popular as ever with sports fans who want to relive their favorite team winning the World Series. In my case, that’s easy: The Philadelphia Phillies in its 130- year history have won a grand total of two championships — in 1980 and 2008. (I tend not to revisit those World Series’ in which they lost!) For those baseball buffs on your holiday gift list, MLB Productions and LionsGate have released The Official 2013 World Series Film, which recounts the recent Boston Red Sox triumph in six games over the St. Louis Cardinals. The DVD retails for $29.98, the Blu-ray for $34.99. Or, for the serious Red Sox fan, there’s the Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series Collector’s Edition, which includes the full network broadcasts of all six World Series games as well as bonus features including the complete ALCS Game 6 victory over Detroit, player interviews and other post-season highlights. The DVD boxed set retails for $59.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $69.99. After more than 80 years without a Red Sox championship, the team has won three in the last decade. This year’s was especially interesting since in 2012 the team finished dead last in the American League Eastern Division, thereby going worst-to- first in a single season.

MLB/LionsGate also pays tribute to other ball clubs with the self-explanatory Detroit Tigers: Hometown Heroics (the DVD retails for $14.98); St. Louis Cardinals Championship Collection, a two-DVD collection ($24.98 retail) that features seven of the Cardinals’ 11 World Series titles, including the very first highlight film produced in 1943; and The New York Yankees 2000 World Series Collector’s Edition (the DVD retails for $29.98), which highlights the Yankees’ five-game victory in the “subway series” against the New York Mets.

For the trivia buff on your wish list, The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2014 offers a wide assortment of facts and figures in the latest edition of this annual favorite.

In addition to such ever-popular topics as “The Year in Sports,” “The Year in Pictures,” “Top 10 News Topics,” “Offbeat News Stories,” “The World at a Glance” and “Time Capsule,” this World Almanac adds a few new topics, including “Marriage in America: A Changing Picture,” which examines the changing demographic trends in marriage; the selfexplanatory “Memorable Winter Olympic Moments,” which also prepares readers for the upcoming 2014 Games; and a “Voter Guide” that provides state-bystate information regarding key election dates and voter information.

“This latest edition and its new look are a testament to our commitment and ability to stay current as well as relevant each year,” said Sarah Janssen, senior editor of The World Almanac, in an official statement. “Our world might be changing at an increasingly rapid rate, but readers can be confident that The World Almanac will always be a reliable, up-to-date resource for any information they need.”

It’s nice to know that some things don’t change, isn’t it?

The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2014 is 1,008 pages — there are a lot of facts to cover! — and retails for $13.99. !