The Yankees raised their average to .500 with their fourth appearance in eight weeks on ESPN’s featured package with Sunday’s game against Texas. Seems a bit excessive, doesn’t it? It feels as if Dan Shulman calls as many Yankees games as John Sterling.
The good news, according to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, is that the Yankees are eligible for only two more Sunday night appearances this year.
“A lot of it has to do with the way the schedule plays out,” said Doug White, a senior director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN. “Three of those matchups have been against teams of high interest — two against the Red Sox and one against the Mets when they were hot. Obviously, you have to take your opportunities when they come in the schedule.”
White said ESPN’s early focus on the Yankees was not intended to capitalize on the return of Alex Rodriguez from a season-long suspension. Instead, he said, the Yankees retain a national appeal and have played reasonably well, and games against Boston draw a broad range of viewers. Although the Rangers are struggling, their television market is the nation’s fifth largest.
Sorry, but Yankees-Texas hardly rated a featured Sunday night date. Not when St. Louis was playing Kansas City on the same day. That was a much better match-up featuring two possible World Series teams.
Now it isn’t as if the Cardinals are getting slighted on Sunday night. Sandomir notes St. Louis is scheduled five games through July 19.
But instead of the Yankees, how about doing more with the Royals? Kansas City is showing last year’s October run wasn’t a fluke.
Here’s also hoping a surprise team like Houston also gets its games on Sunday night. And who saw Minnesota getting off to such a good start?
Sure, the Yankees always do solid ratings. But if other teams get their chance in the spotlight, perhaps a following will build for them. Then people get interested in those teams during the postseason. That’s when the ratings count the most.
Let the record the show, the Yankees only have played in one World Series since 2003.