Jon Weisman of Variety and the excellent Dodger Thoughts brings word that Game 7 of the World Series between the Rangers and Cardinals drew 23.2 million viewers last night according to preliminary Nielsen estimates, making it the most watched baseball game in seven years.
Weisman notes that the audience could go up by more than a million when a more precise reading is released later this afternoon, but it will almost certainly fall short of Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, which drew 28.8 million viewers when the Red Sox swept the Cardinals to win their first World Championship since 1918.
Game 6 on Thursday night had more than 21 million viewers, so we’re not talking about a tremendous jump here, but while FOX may have garnered bigger ratings if Wednesday’s rainout didn’t ultimately push Game 7 to a Friday, they have to be thrilled this series built buzz throughout and went the distance.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.