We’ll see the Game 2 ratings later today, but the ratings for Game 1 are in, and they’re very, very high:
Game 1 was the second-highest-rated MLB postseason game since 1999. It was seen by 19.5 million viewers, which marked a 33 percent increase over last year’s Game 1. That increase also marked the second-biggest year-to-year increase in World Series Game 1 viewership since data was first collected in 1968, trailing just 1976-77 (56 percent increase).
The Yankees and Phillies are both from gigantic media markets, so it’s not surprising that the ratings are high. Throw in the marquee Sabathia vs. Lee matchup, and it’s even less surprising.
But last night’s Game may very well have set the stage for even better ratings — and if not ratings, certainly high-level excitement — down the road. The Yankees win keeps it close. Pedro Martinez’s lion-in-winter performance, even in a losing effort, was inspiring. The fact that we’re now four for four in strong starting pitching performances is another key factor: chicks may dig the longball, but pitching duels keep people riveted to the TV come October.
One game in was too soon to crown the Phillies champs, and two games in may be too soon to call this Classic a classic. But after two sharp games, it certainly feels like we’re heading in that direction.
We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.