downward trend

We’ve likely seen the last of the early World Series starts

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I liked the early start to Game 3 on Saturday. With the game getting underway just before 7PM my kids were able to watch a bit of it — even if it was Justin Bieber-inspired — and the thing ended early enough to where I was able to not only watch the whole game without getting sleepy, but I was able to watch both (a) the Ohio State-Minnesota game I had recorded; and (b) the last hour of “Evil Dead II” on AMC.  Epic television night at the Calcaterra house, I can tell you. Groovy.

But sadly, we’ve probably seen our last early start World Series game, because this one got killed in the ratings. In fact, it was the second lowest-rated World Series game of all time. The only one worse was the weather-delayed game in the 2008 series that didn’t get going until after 10PM. Yikes!

I’ll always maintain that low ratings are no reason to hate on a given World Series matchup and that they shouldn’t affect a true baseball fan’s enjoyment of the thing. But the folks in charge can’t ignore it, and you have to imagine that they’ll respond to this by ensuring that every future World Series game either (a) starts in prime time; or (b) involves the Yankees.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.