Overall, TV ratings were down for the 2009 baseball season, especially late in the year when, outside of Detroit and Minnesota, there wasn’t all that much to play for. Fortunes have changed in the postseason, however:
The first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs helped TBS to its best one-week ratings in its 33-year history.
The Turner Broadcasting Systems network said it averaged almost 4.8 million viewers for each of the 13 division series playoff games, up 11 percent from last year.
Best ever for TBS? You mean to tell me that baseball outdrew the 115th showing of “Two Mules for Sister Sara” and that prime time Rock and Roll Express vs. Ivan and Nikita Koloff match in the summer of 1985? Show me the numbers or else I’m not buying it.
Overall, I think the lesson here is that, whether we care to admit it or not, having
five four (oops, somehow forgot Minnesota) of the six playoff teams come from top-5 media markets certainly drives the ratings. It’s also why FOX will be privately rooting against the Phillies, who are residents of the tiniest media market (a paltry 4th in the nation!) among the remaining teams.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.