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A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

May 31, 2000|STEVE PRATT

What: "Major League Baseball 1999: A Season of Heroes" video.

Running time: 60 minutes.

Price: $14.95 at video stores or by calling (800) 367-7765.

USA Home Entertainment and major league baseball salute last year's season with dramatic highlights and compelling interviews in a video that every baseball fan will want to see.

Starting with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's second consecutive 60-home run seasons and concluding with the New York Yankees' 25th World Series title, the video doesn't miss much, highlighting milestones such as McGwire's 500th home run, the dominance of Cy Young winners Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, David Cone's perfect game and even the Gold Glove winners.

The most dramatic footage is from the runs Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs made at 3,000 hits. They achieved the feat on consecutive days, with Gwynn first on Aug. 6 at Montreal. Gwynn described the emotions he felt as he sought refuge in a tunnel leading to the clubhouse, breaking down while remembering his father.

"I really wish he could have been here because I think he would have really enjoyed it," Gwynn said.

Similarly, Boggs remembered his mother, who died in a car accident in 1986, as he rounded the bases after becoming the first player to reach 3,000 hits with a home run. He blew her a kiss, then kissed home plate. "Giving thanks back to the baseball gods," he said.

The video also brings to mind that last year was the year of the grand slam: Robin Ventura hit two in a doubleheader, Nomar Garciaparra hit two in one game and Fernando Tatis hit two in one inning against the Dodgers' Chan Ho Park.

The one major flaw was the timing of the release. The video came out April 25, three weeks into this season. That's just enough time for fans to forget the excitement last season generated.

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