Red Sox ratings are way down this year

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The Red Sox bandwagon has a few empty seats in it this year according to Sports Business Journal:

The Boston Red
Sox’s six-year reign atop MLB’s local television ratings is about to
end, as the team’s local numbers have plummeted from first to fifth this
season.

Entering the All-Star break, ratings for Red Sox games on
NESN have dropped nearly 36 percent from last year, for a 6.25 average
rating.

The last time the Red Sox finished out of the top spot was
in 2003, when the Mariners posted an 11.53 rating on FSN Northwest. The
Sox averaged a 7.86 rating that year on NESN. This year, Red Sox
ratings trail the Cardinals (9.70 on FS Midwest), Twins (7.85 on FS
North), Phillies (7.20 on CSN Philadelphia) and Reds (6.52 on FS Ohio).

Obviously they still reach a ton more households than just about any team, and some of this drop also probably reflects the Celtics and Bruins’ long postseason runs, though at least the Celtics’ success is not new.

It would seem that the most likely explanation here is just a general decline in enthusiasm about the Bosox. Check out this fan quote from the article:

“People expected a
bigger splash in the offseason. There’s a general
feeling that the ownership took a pass on this season, and I think
you’re seeing fans question why they should invest in it.”

If that’s true it speaks of a pretty damn big sense of entitlement on the part of Sox fans, doesn’t it?  They brought in two of the most sought-after free agents in all of baseball in John Lackey and Adrian Beltre and returned the rest of a team that just won 95 games last year.  Has it really gotten to the point that unless a $100 million free agent comes in that fans consider ownership “taking a pass?”

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.