If given the choice, Fox Sports and MLB would take a Seattle-San Diego series that goes 7 games over a one-sided 4- or 5-gamer featuring two of baseball’s most storied franchises.
It’s all about games, namely 6 and 7 in the postseason. Those have been in short supply for baseball, which has suffered through a remarkable string of bad luck with its World Series.
Since 2004, when the Red Sox took four straight from the Cardinals (seem to recalling hearing something about breaking an 86-year drought), only 2 of 9 World Series have gone more than five games. There have been four sweeps, including last year with San Francisco running over Detroit; and three five-game series. The lone seven-game series was in 2011 when St. Louis rallied to beat Texas.
By comparison, the NBA has seen three Game 7s since 2004, and 6 of the 9 series went to six or more games. The NHL even has fared better. Since 2001, 6 of 12 Stanley Cup Finals have gone the full 7 games, allowing viewers to hear Mike Emrick, the game’s best, to enhance the drama with his wonderful gift for play-by-play. Only two series failed to reach six games.
Fox’s Joe Buck only wishes he was as fortunate. When Buck was asked about this year’s supposed dream match-up, he tempered his answer.
“Year after year, we talk about the match-up, and who the networks want, and the major markets,” Buck said. “To me, if it isn’t a compelling series, if it is four or five games and out, it doesn’t matter who is playing. If you don’t get down to the games that make it fun, like at the beginning of the post-season where it is win or go home…That’s when the game gets exciting. That’s when the game is great.
“We had Boston in 2007 and they won in four straight (over Colorado). The ratings went down. You don’t have to be a genius to figure it out.”
Indeed, last year’s World Series averaged a 7.6 rating, an all-time low. The previous low was an 8.4 for the 2008 Phillies-Rays and 2010 Giants-Rangers series, which each went five games.
Meanwhile, the 2011 Cardinals-Rangers World Series averaged a 10.0 rating for the full run. As Buck said, you don’t need to be a genius to see how the run of short series have hurt baseball and Fox.
Given Buck and Tim McCarver’s ties, they certainly will be accused of favoring the Cardinals.That would be wrong. They only are pulling for one thing during the World Series: Getting to call a Game 7.