St. Louis’ whole “best fans in baseball” thing can get a little tired. But there are times when the city truly backs it up. Like… well… last night.
Via MLB’s public relations department, 80 percent of the televisions in St. Louis were tuned into the FOX broadcast throughout Friday’s World Series Game 7, and 89 percent of the city’s screens were tuned in by the final out of the 6-2 victory.
St. Louis is different than other baseball-loving cities (like New York, Boston, Chicago or San Francisco) in that nearly all of its inhabitants were born or raised (or both) in the area. Because of industry, geography, and other factors, it’s not a place that attracts a ton of permanent out-of-towners.
Almost everyone grows up watching the Cardinals, with a decent-to-extensive understanding of the club’s history and the current roster makeup. Of course they were watching. But that 89 percent mark is still quite amazing, and a reflection of how baseball-crazy the Gateway City really can be.
Friday’s Game 7 drew a total of 25.4 million viewers around the country, making it the most-watched baseball game since the Red Sox ended their 86-year championship drought in St. Louis back in 2004.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.