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This is why they did it: wild card game ratings high

Oct 8, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT

old TV

People like me (i.e. fans of the team that lost the wild card playoff) can whine all we want about how baseball is poorly-suited for a one-game playoff, but it’s pretty academic when Major League Baseball issues press releases like this:

Through its first two days of coverage, TBS is averaging 3.9 million viewers, up +26% over last year’s first two days of Postseason coverage. The two Wild Card Games averaged more than 4.6 million viewers, up +61% over last year’s first day of coverage and also exceeded the average 4.2 million viewers for the entire 19-game 2011 Division Series.

I’m assuming there won’t be too much crowing about the third day of the playoffs in which the first two games were opposite afternoon NFL action and the Yankees game — likely slotted at 6PM to avoid going head-to-head against Sunday Night Football — was forced to go head-to-head against Sunday night football thanks to the rain delay.

  1. skids003 - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    All about $$$$.

    • natslady - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      This is news?

  2. recoveringcubsfan - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Yes, and in chasing the money MLB has basically handed a golden ticket to a team – St. Louis – that didn’t deserve to be in the post-season at all. Unfortunately, now that they’re in, they have just as good a chance to win the whole thing as anybody, which makes me sick. In no way can anyone say they are the best team in MLB if they win the WS. This is a sick joke.

    • chill1184 - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      I strongly doubt that you would be complaining if the Cubs grabbed the spot instead of the Cardinals.

    • atom55 - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      Well, by the old rules, Atlanta didn’t deserve to be in the postseason either.

      Rules change. The wild card was a huge rule change, and we got to see the wild card winner knock the division winner out of the postseason countless times. I assume you were on your high horse complaining about it then as well?

      Under this set of rules, the Cardinals won. Get over it.

    • Kleinz 57 - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      Yeah. Besides, the Cards haven’t had any success as a WC team anyway…

    • natslady - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      Look, the Cards didn’t choke and Atlanta did–and their fans “choked” too. The game wasn’t over when it was men on 2nd and 3rd with two outs. A Nats rookie got the game-winning hit yesterday in EXACTLY the same situation!

      Pressure was on, and Atlanta (especially Larry) sent balls flying around the infield. Torre was pretty patient or Atlanta would have forfeited that game.

      If you don’t like the WC play-in game:
      (1) Win the Division or
      (2) Win the game.

      Same goes for Texas.

      • pw38 - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:38 AM

        Agreed. Texas had no business being in the playoffs anyway with as bad as they played down the stretch. You could tell just watching the game that they knew the season was over. The play-in game was almost a way to punish the Rangers for letting Oakland catch them by making them suffer for one more game. As a Rangers fan maybe this was for the best. They needed the wake up slap to the face. Josh needs to go and they need to really beef up the rotation.

    • natslady - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      The Cards weren’t the “best” team in MLB when they won the WS last year either. The playoffs are a different season.

      • natslady - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:58 AM

        chill– I believe “recovering” is a Nats fan. Not sure why he’s bitter about the format. By preseason projections it should have been the Nats scratching for the 2nd WC, and with 10 wins less they would have been St. Louis. The Cards are tough but not invincible.

      • ajcardsfan - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        Out of the 4 NL teams playing right now, from the looks of how they’ve played (with the exception of one team) you wouldn’t think that these were the people going to be in the playoffs. By the way, the team that’s look like they belong there, as bitter as it is to say it, is the Reds.

        National’s Game 1 Starting Pitcher was very shaky
        Cardinals Relief pitchers and bats have all been in the air [Hoping for both teams to be on it for Game 2, I like good, competitive baseball, not baseball won via errors]
        The Giants Game 1 Starting Pitcher gave up two key homers and then the whole team got trampled yesterday.

      • chill1184 - Oct 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM


        I never buy to what so-called “experts” project before the season starts. I’m the type of fan that says STFU and play the damm game! The same clowns predicted that the Mets were going to loser over 100 games, have a fire sale and MLB was going to contract the team. None of that happened. Same thing with the Marlins supposedly being the team to bump off the Phillies and play for the NL Pennant. I’m a New Jersey Devils fan and no one had us getting into the playoffs let alone the Stanley Cup final. Everyone kept screaming that the Devils are old and that Marty Brodeur needs to hang it up. Obviously they didnt win Lord Stanley’s cup but it was still a nice punch in the mouth the team delivered the sports media establishment.

    • wretchu - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      1) The Cubs, Padres, Rockies, and everyone other team in the league that wasn’t a division winner or Atlanta had the same chance to get that second Wild Card slot. All teams knew the rules coming into the season, so quit your whining as if MLB knew that the Cardinals would have the 5th best record in the league and added the second WC slot just for them.
      2) You’re crazy if you think the Cards – or rather ANY Wild Card team from now on – has just as much chance to win the World Series. If anything, that was true in previous years, but now it’s not. Now the Wild Card team must first face a one-game playoff every year, thereby burning one of their best pitchers – if no the ace – before they even get to the LDS. Previously the only disadvantage to being a Wild Card team was one less game at home in the series. Now it’s one less game at home AND only one appearance from the ace. That’s going to be a huge advantage for the top team in the league from here on out.
      3) This isn’t about giving one WC team and advantage, it’s about giving DIVISION winners an advantage as I just alluded to. If you don’t want to be put in a one-game playoff, win your division. And there is no viable option other than a one-game playoff. You can’t do a series because then the division winners are sitting for 4-5 days and lose all timing and momentum they may have had.
      4) The best team in baseball is the one that wins the World Series, period. There’s no special award for the team with the most wins in regular season, nor should there be so long as there’s an unbalanced. A team like the Rays in a division with the Orioles and Yankees gets beat up in divisional play while a team like the Tigers can feast on the Royals, Indians and Twins. If you win the World Series, you have beaten the best of the best in the league head-to-head.

      • themuddychicken - Oct 8, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        Eh, I think of the World Series as declaring a champion, rather than determining which is the best team in baseball. The two don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

  3. hisgirlgotburrelled - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    Which is a good comparison being that game 1 last year was the first of a 5 game series, not an elimination game.

  4. darthicarus - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I’m curious how good/bad the ratings were for the Tigers/A’s game on MLBN. I know quite a few people who don’t subscribe to the right tier of cable to get MLBN from the Detroit area & weren’t too happy about not being able to watch the game from home.

  5. heyblueyoustink - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    As a detractor for both the Cards and the Braves, I have to say that was one of the most captivating baseball games i’ve seen, including the fan jackassery. I’m cool with the new format, it intrigued me into watching the games rather than popping in The Avengers for the sixth time in seven days. ( Though the quiet coming from Craig’s twitter feed was a downer, I had my trolling gloves on )

  6. willclarkgameface - Oct 8, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    When you have these games broadcast on a night where nothing else sports-wise is going on, then yeah, it’s gonna get high ratings.

    Plus, this was the first time out of the gate.

    Just wait until the one-game playoff is Miami vs. San Diego. Apathetic fan bases du jour.

  7. jericoc - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    For the folks who “thumbs-downed” my comment last week about Saturday’s CFB slate:

    Wild Card Games (average, pct of US households): 2.5
    Miami – Notre Dame: 2.4
    LSU – Florida: 4.7

  8. natstowngreg - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Ironically, the Rangers and Orioles would have played an elimination game regardless, because they finished in a tie. Under this year’s setup, they played the wild card game. Under the old setup, they would have played an elimination game for the one wild card spot.

    The Cards were the team that got in due to the new setup. They’re still playing, so they have a shot at the championship. Hopefully, the Nats will take care of that.

  9. stex52 - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    I go through something similar to this every year with Rice in the NCAA baseball championships.

    You play 162 games to get a ticket to the dance. The distinction of “who is the best” is pretty artificial. “Who is the best when?” would be closer, but that’s also pretty irrelevant. If you want baseball to choose “who is best”, it’s best decided by the team with the best 162 game record. Don’t have any playoffs, no WS, and everyone goes home. What we actually have is a ten-game tournament that the ten best teams are invited to. Whoever wins that tournament is the best. It’s really pretty simple.

  10. footballchic777 - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    What I find ironic is that many of the people who have supported this sport for years….those older folks who have stuck with teams through thick and thin…..are the same viewers who cannot watch the games because they have to have cable to get them. You cannot even get many regular season games on network channels anymore. In any sport, when it gets to the playoffs, they should be broadcast on network channels for all to see…..not just those who can afford cable or can get out to a restaurant that carries the game!

  11. thetruth702 - Oct 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    You are gonna get high ratings for any playoff game. How effin stupid. Commish needs to fix baseball. Hd’s a dumba..

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