Don’t call it a “small-market” World Series matchup

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I’ve already seen a lot of grumbling from various media members on Twitter about how the Giants-Rangers matchup is going to be a ratings nightmare for FOX. That may turn out to be true, but it won’t be because the markets involved are small ones.

J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics notes that Nielson ranks Dallas and San Francisco as the fifth- and sixth-largest television markets in the country, respectively.

For comparison, here’s the top 10:

1. New York
2. Los Angeles
3. Chicago
4. Philadelphia
5. Dallas
6. San Francisco
7. Boston
8. Atlanta
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Houston

No one would be predicting ratings nightmares for, say, a Phillies-Red Sox matchup, but based on market size that’s basically the same as Giants-Rangers. Instead, what the people worried about ratings are really saying is that the World Series matchup is devoid of East Coast teams and thus unlikely to attract significant interest from the No. 1 market, New York.

And that’s probably true, but the No. 5 and No. 6 markets are going to be glued to their television sets and my guess is that the No. 2 (Los Angeles) and No. 10 (Houston) markets will also be more likely to watch than usual. Plus, if you’re not a FOX television employee or Bud Selig should you really care about TV ratings?

Giants versus Rangers is an extremely compelling matchup featuring two of the elite pitchers in baseball, the potential MVP in the AL, and two franchises that are very hungry for a championship. You can be certain that hardcore baseball fans will be watching, and if some casual fans on the East Coast decide not to tune into the games … well, that’s their loss.

Umpire admits he blew the call that got Joe Maddon ejected last night

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Last night in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game, Curtis Granderson struck out. Or, at the very least, he should’ve. After the game, the umpire who said he didn’t admitted he screwed up.

While trying to squelch a Dodgers comeback, Wade Davis got Granderson into a 2-2 count. Davis threw his pitch, Granderson whiffed on it, it hit the dirt, and Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out. End of the inning, right? Wrong: Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, Wolf, after conferring with the other umps agreed, and Granderson lived to see another pitch.

Before he’d see that pitch, Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and got so agitated about it all he was ejected for the second time in this series. He was right to argue:

It all ended up not mattering, of course, because Granderson struck out eventually anyway.

Normally such things end there, but after the game a reporter got to Wolf and Wolf did something umpires don’t often do: he admitted he blew the call:

It’s good that the bad call ended up not affecting anything. But the part of me who likes to stir up crap and watch chaos rule in baseball really kinda wishes that Granderson had hit a series-clinching homer right after that. At least as long as it didn’t result in Cubs fans burning Chicago to the ground.