Phillies and Cardinals drew strong ratings in NLDS Game 5

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From the Associated Press, via MSNBC.com:

St. Louis’ 1-0 victory over Philadelphia in Game 5 of the NL division series Friday night received a 5.1 rating and was seen by 8,389,000 viewers on TBS, a National League record for first-round games on cable.

For reference, the NLDS Game 5 played between the Diamondbacks and Brewers at 4:05 p.m. ET drew a 3.0 rating and was seen by 4,592,000 viewers.

The numbers aren’t surprising. Philadelphia is a major media market and the Cardinals have a wide-ranging following. Milwaukee, on the other hand, is baseball’s smallest market and the Snakes are still working on cultivating a dedicated fan base. Add to that the different start times and it all makes plenty of sense.

It’s doubtful that the NLCS between the Cards and Brewers will be a major ratings hit — and the same goes for the ALCS — but more of the same would surely be satisfactory in the eyes of Major League Baseball.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.