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 Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.