The numbers are out for last night’s All-Star Game and they’re pretty good:
The All-Star Game telecast on Fos drew an 8.1 metered market rating according to data from Nielsen, representing a +3% increase over the 7.9 from last year’s game in Phoenix. Fox won the night in prime time, beating its nearest competitor by 47%. St. Louis led all markets with a 20.5 rating, followed by host Kansas City which averaged an 18.7 and Detroit which delivered a 16.1. Among the markets seeing the biggest increase in ratings over last year were Detroit (+50%), Washington (+36%), Los Angeles (+27%) and Dallas (+27%).
Not bad considering it was a crap game, competitively speaking, ending before it really started. And the 50% increase for Detroit must have been a function of that can’t-look-away-from-a-car-crash thing with respect to their boy Justin Verlander.
MLB is also touting all of the social media buzz surrounding the game. Specifically, that initiative they launched this year in which players tweeted from the ballpark after they were removed from the game:
On social media, the All-Star Game generated 807,603 total public Twitter and Facebook comments, a 257% increase over last year’s All-Star Game (226,461), based on data from Bluefin Labs. In fact, by the end of the first inning last night there were already more social media comments than the entire 2011 All-Star Game generated. Among 27 different All-Star related topics that trended worldwide on Twitter last night, the hashtag #ASG was used in 245,362 social media comments making it the most trended term for the telecast (30.4% of all comments).
I would guess there is some relationship — the nature of which I have no idea, but I suspect exists anyway — between social media buzz and ratings. Maybe it’s weak. Maybe it’s counterintuitive, but I bet it’s something.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.