Folks are going to complain about the World Series ratings as soon as they start trickling in. They’re really going to complain when the Rams-Cowboys game on Sunday doubles the ratings of the Cardinals-Rangers game just around the corner later that evening. We know that by now.
But as Variety’s (and Dodgers Thoughts’) Jon Weisman reports, Fox is quite pleased, thank you very much, with the state of the ratings and their investment.
Ads sold out earlier than ever, Fox Sports’ vice-chairman Ed Goren said. And the ratings, while certainly not what they used to be, aren’t bad when you compare baseball to itself and other programming in this increasingly fragmented media landscape as opposed to simply comparing it to the ratings behemoth that is the NFL:
“First off, the World Series last year, we won primetime for the week. Even last year’s World Series … in 1971, there was a Pirates-Orioles World Series, and it was the eighth highest-rated show of the year. Last year’s World Series was the eighth-highest rated show of the year also. In this 500-channel universe, the numbers that the World Series pulls in viewership are substantial year after year. Some years are better than others — the more games you get, the better you’ll be — but it is still a major, major ratings attraction.”
Baseball TV rights will be up for bidding again after the 2012 season. I’m guessing Fox, and other outlets, will be involved in the bidding. All of these are companies, it should be noted, that aren’t in the business of burning cash for the hell of it.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.