Final word on World Series ratings: Decline is recent; off 27 percent compared to 2005

Again, yesterday I read tweets saying it isn’t fair to compare baseball’s current World Series ratings to its heyday in the 70s and 80s. Hard to imagine, but the ’78 and ’80 Series both averaged a 32.8 rating.

This year, the seven-game KC-San Francisco Series did an 8.2 rating with a 14 share. Big difference, right?

Of course, the entire prime time landscape has changed considerably. Back then, shows like “All in the Family” pulled 30 ratings on a weekly basis. Now, the numbers for all programs are much lower in the era of 500 channels.

But as I continue to point out, the decline in the World Series ratings is a recent trend. Just look at the numbers from Baseball Almanac.

This year’s World Series was down nearly 50 percent compared to the ’99 World Series, which averaged a … Continue Reading

Chicago story: Buffone and O’Bradovich give voice to disgruntled Bears fans

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on how former Bears Doug Buffone and Ed O’Bradovich still hit hard after all these years. This time on their Bears postgame shows.

You also can access the column via my Twitter feed at Sherman_Report.

This is one of the most enjoyable stories I’ve written in 30-plus years in the business. I hung out with the two throw-backs last Sunday. All I can is that it was the most fun you can have watching the Bears lose 51-23 to New England.

From the column:


I could have gone to Rush Street last night and found 24 players who could do better than the Bears did today.”

Doug Buffone opening last Sunday’s “Doug and OB Show.”

The game is only a couple of minutes old when Doug Buffone and Ed O’Bradovich erupt for … Continue Reading

High praise from Roger Angell: Bumgarner’s performance best he ever saw in Series

Madison Bumgarner’s performance wowed Roger Angell. And that’s saying something since the 94-year-old Hall of Famer has seen it all.

Angell captures Bumgarner’s historical postseason as only he can in the New Yorker:

I don’t know what it felt like watching (Christy) Mathewson pitch, but watching Bumgarner is like feeling an expertly administered epidural nip in between a couple of vertebrae and deliver bliss: it’s a gliding, almost eventless slide through the innings, with accumulating fly-ball outs and low-count K’s marking the passing scenery. It’s twilight sleep; an Ambien catnap; an evening voyage on a Watteau barge. Bumgarner is composed out there, his expression mournful, almost apologetic, even while delivering his wide-wing, slinging stuff. Sorry, guys: this is how it goes. Over soon.


And the great Angell had a rather atypical ending to his piece:

I don’t know how to

Continue Reading

Breeder’s Cup: Eddie Olczyk pumped to cover his other favorite sport for NBC

I caught up with Eddie Olczyk for a post on the Chicago Tribune’s site. For a change, he wasn’t en route to a hockey game.

From the post:


Eddie Olczyk will be busy covering his other favorite sport this weekend for NBC.

The Blackhawks and NBC’s lead NHL analyst will be part of the network’s crew working the Breeder’s Cup Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita in California. It is a dream assignment for Olczyk, a passionate horse player.

“I’m really excited,” Olczyk said. “I’d be doing it (analyzing the races) at my house or at Hawthorne. This is the Super Bowl of horse racing. To be there for NBC really is going to be special.”

Olczyk said his start in broadcasting actually occurred in horse racing, not hockey. While playing for the New York Rangers in 1994, Meadowlands … Continue Reading

Game 7 shows potential for underachieving baseball in postseason

Even though I have been a resident curmudgeon in this space when it comes to baseball, I’ve never been in the camp that says the sport is dying. Far from it.

The game has many positive indicators that attest to the game’s health. There are plenty of sports that wish they were dying like baseball.

However, there seems to be little question that baseball is underachieving when it comes to the postseason. As I have written many times, World Series ratings declines of 20 to 30 percent aren’t a function of a changing media landscape. This is a relatively recent trend in the last 10 years. In 2005, there were plenty of viewing options when the White Sox four-game sweep of Houston averaged an 11.1 rating.

Back then, that rating was an all-time low for the Series. Now Fox and … Continue Reading

Does anybody care? One-sided World Series games are disaster for Fox, MLB

The schedule has been a bit crazy, and I haven’t had the chance to watch as much of the World Series as I normally do.

So with nothing on the agenda last night, I settled into the couch to watch Game 6. Nothing like a World Series in the late stages, right?

Well, after the Kansas City smacked around former White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy for seven runs in the second, I was out for the night. I switched to ESPN’s excellent 30 for 30 on Brian Bosworth.

Other viewers did a similar tuneout. The overnight rating of 8.9 likely would have cracked double-digit with a better game.

Another lopsided game was the worst thing that could have happened for MLB and Fox. With the exception of Kansas City’s 3-2 win in Game 3, this series has been a major … Continue Reading

1917 World Series: Rare film found when the White Sox were clean

It’s not easy being a White Sox fan. They go to the World Series about once every two generations. And they are much better known for the Series they threw (1919) than the recent one they won (2005).

So as a long suffering fan, it was exciting to learn of rare footage being found of the White Sox winning the 1917 World Series, two years before they became forever known as the Black Sox.

1917 NY Giants – NL Pennant winners from Bill Morrison on Vimeo.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports that rare film has been discovered of the 1917 World Series between the White Sox and New York Giants. And in of all places, a small town in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Sandomir reports that Bill Morrison, a White Sox who lives in San Francisco, found … Continue Reading

DVR alert: New 30 for 30 delves into the world of ‘The Boz’

Definitely one of the most unique characters from the 80s.

Here is the trailer for tonight’s film on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET.

Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman had an interview with the film’s producer Thaddeus Matula:

“Brian and The Boz” describes Bosworth’s strained relationship with his demanding father, Foster, which led to insecurity.

“When I got to meet Brian, it was immediately apparent to me that there was trauma in his childhood that he was trying to escape from and he created this mask that allowed him to act without consequence when really the Brian inside was frozen,” Matula said.

“He couldn’t act in any situation because he was frozen in that sort of ‘Am I good enough? Who am I? state.’ Much like an alcoholic turns into a completely different person without any consequences, The Boz was this out-of-control

Continue Reading

NSJC’s Michael Bradley: ESPN’s true bias is for ESPN

Michael Bradley, my fellow columnist at the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana, has a good column regarding allegations that ESPN now is biased toward the SEC since it is running the new SEC Network.

Bradley knocks down that theory, detailing ESPN’s true bias.

ESPN’s more insidious influence comes when it promotes itself and its programming under the guise of presenting news. One had only to watch the SportsCenter that ran after Monday’s Washington-Dallas game to see that in action. It was bad enough that the network chose to provide World Series coverage a full half-hour into the show (ESPN doesn’t broadcast baseball’s signature event) or that it promoted Friday’s Lakers-Clippers NBA game (10:30 Eastern on ESPN) with meaningless Kobe Bryant interview footage before any World Series mention. That’s standard procedure for ESPN, which uses SportsCenter as an hours-long infomercial

Continue Reading