The World Series beat the NFL in the ratings last night

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Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Journal reports that Game Five of the World Series between the Indians and Cubs beat the regular-season Eagles-Cowboys Sunday Night Football game in the ratings. Pretty decisively too: the Cubs and Indians generated a 15.3 rating. The Eagles-Cowboys: 11.6. It’s the first time a World Series game has beat the Sunday Night Football rating head-to-head since 2011.

There are a lot of people who have sent me this info and have asked me to write a “Hey, maybe baseball ISN’T dying” post. Or to, alternatively, write a “Football is Dying, You Guys” post. Given the issues the NFL has had this year with declining ratings, I suppose one could do that at least half-credibly.

But I’m not gonna read that much into it, really. Yes, the NFL has some challenges these days and, I suspect, there may be some oversaturation of football on TV that is starting to be felt, but I don’t see some serious new trend emerging out of this. Last night’s game was a possible clincher for a team that hasn’t had one in 68 years facing off against a team that hasn’t been in the World Series for 71 years. A team which also happens to possess one of the largest and most geographically dispersed fan bases in the country. The Cubs and Indians was destined to be a big ratings grabber and, not surprisingly, it’s grabbing big ratings.

I’m sure Major League Baseball is pleased by this and that the NFL is less-than-pleased, but I will not declare football dead or baseball, um, undead, even with my tongue placed in my cheek based on a year that I suspect is a bit of an outlier. Of course, I’ll reassess if the Pirates and Mariners make the Series next year and still beat out a big NFL game. That’d really be somethin’ eh?

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”