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Don’t call it a “small-market” World Series matchup

Oct 25, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

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I’ve already seen a lot of grumbling from various media members on Twitter about how the Giants-Rangers matchup is going to be a ratings nightmare for FOX. That may turn out to be true, but it won’t be because the markets involved are small ones.

J.C. Bradbury of Sabernomics notes that Nielson ranks Dallas and San Francisco as the fifth- and sixth-largest television markets in the country, respectively.

For comparison, here’s the top 10:

1. New York
2. Los Angeles
3. Chicago
4. Philadelphia
5. Dallas
6. San Francisco
7. Boston
8. Atlanta
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Houston

No one would be predicting ratings nightmares for, say, a Phillies-Red Sox matchup, but based on market size that’s basically the same as Giants-Rangers. Instead, what the people worried about ratings are really saying is that the World Series matchup is devoid of East Coast teams and thus unlikely to attract significant interest from the No. 1 market, New York.

And that’s probably true, but the No. 5 and No. 6 markets are going to be glued to their television sets and my guess is that the No. 2 (Los Angeles) and No. 10 (Houston) markets will also be more likely to watch than usual. Plus, if you’re not a FOX television employee or Bud Selig should you really care about TV ratings?

Giants versus Rangers is an extremely compelling matchup featuring two of the elite pitchers in baseball, the potential MVP in the AL, and two franchises that are very hungry for a championship. You can be certain that hardcore baseball fans will be watching, and if some casual fans on the East Coast decide not to tune into the games … well, that’s their loss.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 25, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    All year long I’ve been waiting for Cliff Lee to go one-on-one versus Cody Ross and now it’s almost here!

  2. mangothefruit - Oct 25, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    Hopefully this ESPN poll quiets the people complaining about ‘SMALL MARKET, LOW RATINGS’.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/fp/flashPollResultsState?sportIndex=pollindex&pollId=100289

    How unlikely is Texas looking forward to baseball over a Cowboys game?

    • Richard In Big D - Oct 25, 2010 at 11:23 AM

      Ley’s see, the Cowboys, who always win, are losing. The Rangers, who always lose, are winning. Throw in the vocal Christian superstar, the legendary hero owner who’s accesible to the masses, and the understated genius of a leader with a personal flaw, and what else could you expect? Good to see though, that my neighbors are finally waking up to the superiority of the Great Game over the semi-organized gangfight that goes on every Sunday in the fall.

  3. stealofhome - Oct 25, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    This is a little bit misleading because NY has such a large portion of the TV ratings, so basically every market looks small compared to them. DAL + SF only have 49% of the number of TV households that NY + PHI do.

  4. amhendrick - Oct 25, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Not small markets, but both play in the West divisions, meaning that most of the country has fewer chances to see them play.

  5. mattraw - Oct 25, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    It’s also looking like a sizeable number of hardcore baseball fans in NY and Philly won’t be able to watch it due to the Cablevision Fox blackout. Damn you Dolan, I’m tired of schlepping to Queens to watch baseball!

  6. Professor Longnose - Oct 25, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    You know what I’d watch? I’d watch closed circuit footage of Reuben Amaro watching Cliff Lee win a championship.

    • Kevin S. - Oct 25, 2010 at 11:41 AM

      Co-sign.

  7. apbaguy - Oct 25, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Lots of Orange and Black yesterday at the local coffee shop. Since we had residual tropical storm rain all day my little group didn’t go into town for Blue Bottle, hence the disturbing sight of inferior mass market coffee fueled Giants madness. I got 10 cents off my coffee because of my Giants hat, and I swear people were going to church in their Giants jerseys, lighting candles and intoning entreaties to the God of all Sliders to please, please, not allow any SF pitcher to throw anything lacking in movement to Hamilton or Cruz.

    I won’t say things are crazy here, but the emotion is stronger for this Giants team than for the last Bonds team to make the Series. That team had a real shot at it, but the town seemed to understand at a gut level that Bonds was some unnatural presence disturbing the fabric of baseball, even if his prodigious moonshots were worthy of awe, rooting for team of Bonds and 8 guys whose presence was primarily due to their ability to tolerate his diva-tude was not. Plus the Angels were underdogs, or at least unknowns, what with Glaus, Lackey and a pre battery K-Rod seeming so fresh.

    Anyway, this team has Timmy, a guy you could reasonably expect to see in a stained white apron hauling trash out of the back of your favorite restaurant. Plus a quirky, effective closer. All it needs is a front office type in a trench coat and fedora standing in some fog smoking a Lucky and you’d have 3 of the SF archetypes represented.

    Out here on the sunny Peninsula we could care less about that stuff. The locals just want a good series. An SF Championship is too much, really, and people only whisper about the possibility. No one dares speak of it aloud, in the open, for fear such energies would disturb the fragile forces that have brought us this far.

    Another thing you notice is that our Latin population, steady at just under 30%, is very into baseball as opposed to our football. It was a common sight to see papa y sus ninos walking down the street in their church wear, each topped with a Giants hat. Since the 49’ers have politely done nothing to distract us from baseball this period of pre game excitement will be savored like a snifter of Germain-Robin XO after a perfectly cooked steak. Right now, all things are black and orange.

    • doctorfunke - Oct 25, 2010 at 12:54 PM

      Great post.
      Once my Twins were eliminated, I jumped on with these two teams. I am now having a hard time deciding who to now root for.

      • tulsatim - Oct 25, 2010 at 1:18 PM

        Root for both. I grew up in Tulsa and was a big Wille Mays/Sf fan until I moved to TX. Would be great to see either win.

    • anythingbutyanks - Oct 25, 2010 at 2:18 PM

      Funny that both of these cities had high hopes and expectations for this year in the NFL and now might just watch the Series instead. This would be quite the retro Superbowl matchup in the NFL.

    • shandbi - Oct 25, 2010 at 3:41 PM

      Um Dude, please don’t speak for all Giants fans when you say, ‘I won’t say things are crazy here, but the emotion is stronger for this Giants team than for the last Bonds team to make the Series. That team had a real shot at it, but the town seemed to understand at a gut level that Bonds was some unnatural presence disturbing the fabric of baseball, even if his prodigious moonshots were worthy of awe, rooting for team of Bonds and 8 guys whose presence was primarily due to their ability to tolerate his diva-tude was not.’
      There are many of us who LOVE the Giants AND Barry Bonds, so shut your pie hole and go back to your ‘sunny Peninsula’ living.

  8. willmose - Oct 25, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    SF and Dallas aren’t on the east coast, so they are small market by definition.

  9. schoenbaum - Oct 25, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Who cares? Let them watch law and order reruns.

  10. Old Gator - Oct 25, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    All this brouhaha (Brouhaha? Ha ha ha ha….) over a small market World Series matchup?

  11. anythingbutyanks - Oct 25, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Just reminds me how high the narcissism is in New England, that anything not directly affecting them is somehow not worth watching. I am 1) a baseball fan 2) a Cubs fan 3) a Yankee hater; in that order. New Yorkers are like 1)New York fan 2) Yankees fan and 3) baseball non-fan.

    I would never buy SF or Texas gear, as I don’t specifically care how they do during the regular season, but I will watch as much of the Series as I can because I love the game. I’m excited to see Hamilton, Lee, Guerrero and co. go up against Lincecum, Cain, Posey and co.

    PS, I have a sneaking suspicion that a majority of like-minded people also think Hernandez deserves the Cy Young award more than CC. Be interesting to see how that shakes out in a study if I had the time…

  12. mommadanko - Oct 25, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    We’ll have to call the WAmbulance for FOX TV. I’m so sick of hearing Joe Buck talk about how the Eastern Division is so much better than the West… Hello… who is in the Series? He said that the only reason SF was in the playoffs is because of their pitching… Hello, who scored more runs? That would be hitting Joe! Also defense kept the other teams from scoring more runs… I am in NO WAY a fan of the SF Giants, but the last few games were GREAT!!! I bleed Dodger blue, however the rest of my household are Giants fans, so I watch. My husband almost needed oxygen when Wilson walked two guys in the ninth inning of game 6, however the Giants won, and my husband hopes that he will see a World Series champion in his lifetime in San Francisco…

    As the previous commenter, I am 1) a Dodger fan, 2) a baseball fan, 3) an anybody but the Yankees fan, in that order. I love watching baseball, and especially the next few weeks, then I will be wishing for baseball until next April!

    Joe Buck and FOX need to realize that there are millions of fans West of the Mississippi, and we are tired of hearing about the East Coast teams and will thoroughly enjoy watching Western Division NL and AL Champions…

    “LET’S PLAY BALL!!!!!!”

  13. mvd513 - Oct 27, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    Anyone who considers themselves any sort of baseball fan and doesnt watch the World Series should be shot.

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