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 snooze. The average score for the six games has been 7-1.5. The combined score in the last three games is 26-4, with both teams being shut out.
Little wonder why nobody is watching.
My colleague, Paul Sullivan of Chicago Tribune, addressed the situation in his column today, calling it “bleak.” Citing the pace of play plague, Sullivan wrote it took nearly two hours to play four innings on Tuesday.
His story included this passage:
“There’s a lot going on at this time of year,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “All the other sports are starting, or have started, and in some areas of the country (the competition is) college football.
“Baseball is not the American sport. Football is, and especially pro football, which is followed by some family member in everybody’s family. But that has evolved over time. It really has nothing to do with the World Series.”
Yes, there is a ton on competition this time of year. But it wasn’t that long ago when the World Series was considered such a force, the NFL wouldn’t schedule a Sunday night game against it.
As I have repeatedly written, the World Series ratings decline is a relatively recent trend occurring within the last 10 years. The White Sox four-game sweep over Houston in 2005 did an 11.1 rating.
Now Fox won’t even come close to a 9 rating for a seven-game series.
Baseball and Fox desperately need a dramatic game tonight. Something on the order of a Bill Mazeroksi finish would help change the narrative and get people talking about baseball. At least for a day or two.
It absolutely can’t have another blowout. That would make it the least memorable seven-game World Series of all time.