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.
Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.
Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.
Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.
Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:
“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”