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The World Series continues to get poor ratings

Oct 25, 2013, 9:05 PM EDT

old TV

Major League Baseball has had ratings problems in recent years and that has continued during the World Series. The website Sports Media Watch writes that Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night got the third-worst overnight ratings ever, ahead of last year’s Game 2 between the Giants and Tigers, as well as the Phillies and Rays in 2008.

They add that Games 1 and 2 between the Cardinals and Red Sox thus far earned a single-digit overnight for the second time in history, joining Games 1 and 2 between the Tigers and Giants in 2012.

There are a lot of reasons why the World Series is struggling and it’s not a problem that can realistically be addressed in one fell swoop. Some of it has to do with the scarcity of baseball games, some of it has to do with the pace, some with the culture surrounding the game, and that’s just the start. It seems like an issue that will need to be addressed by whoever takes over as commissioner of Major League Baseball once Bud Selig retires following the 2014 season.

113 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. chiadam - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Baseball’s biggest problem is fairly evident. There are only three to five teams that have a reasonable chance of winning a championship, and over half the teams in the league have no hope of ever being anything but a feeder system to big market teams. Until teams like the Dodgers and Yankees are not able to spend eight times more than a small team, baseball will suck. Until teams like the Marlins and Astros are forced to spend more for an entire team that some teams spend on one guy, baseball will suck. Salary cap + Salary floor = better product. Just look at the NHL, where small markets like Carolina and Tampa have won a Cup.

    • Jonestein - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      I just love it when people who obviously don’t follow the game give us matter-of-fact opinions like this dreck. The Dodgers haven’t won a championship since 1988 and haven’t been in the playoffs since 2009. What did the Phillies 2nd ranked payroll buy them this year? And boy oh boy, that big-spending Angels team has just torn it up the last couple of years.

      Meanwhile, teams like Oakland (2 straight AL West titles) and Tampa (competitive every year since their WS appearance in 2008) continue to thrive despite ridiculously low payrolls. Texas was 27th in payroll when they went to the World Series in 2010, and didn’t even crack the top ten when they returned in 2011.

      Try actually following MLB before making spewing your envy-mongering, misinformed opinions.

      • Jonestein - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        *hadn’t (Dodgers)

      • chiadam - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        Envy? I am not envious that a team some guy I don’t know watches on TV is better than the team I watch on TV. If you take a personal sense of accomplishment in what your favorite team does, then you’re a loser and you need a life, which is likely the case given the needless way you attack someone on your keyboard, you twerp.
        Further, not every big-spending team wins the Series because not every big-spending team CAN. Only one team can win, and it always a team with a large payroll. Do you think teams buy players for no reason? And Tampa (who has never won a title, and winning a title was the crux of my argument, you pinhead), would have won a Series if they were able to keep their own players. As far as Oakland, what the fuck have they won? The crappy AL West two years in a row? And then what?

    • metroplexsouthsider - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      So not true. Pirates get back in postseason this year. KC looks competitive. Marlins won twice in their early years. Indians made it twice relatively recently. There’s been more variation in winners in baseball than in other sports. As for the likes of the Marlins? They’ve been sitting on revenue sharing money. The Astros are a big-market team.

  2. misterj167 - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Baseball is a game for the long-term, football is a game for the Big Event, and since the Super Bowl is one big event, naturally it’s going to be hyped more. As for the popularity of the teams that are playing, well, as bad as Selig is he’s at least not David Stern, who has pretty much destroyed the integrity of pro basketball. And as bad as baseball owners are, they’re not as bad as hockey owners, who intentionally shut down the sport last season for no real reason at all except perhaps to see how much they could get away with being total assholes.

    People have been predicting the demise of baseball for a century, and yet here we are. It’s not about how good the national ratings for the World Series are, it’s about the local ratings for each team throughout the year, and the fact that the leagues remain competitive late in the season. Those games can be just as exciting as the Series.

    How many here are old enough to remember when pro boxing was a huge event? Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton, even Mike Tyson, all internationally known names. Who’s the heavyweight champ now? I have no idea. Can anyone here name him without Googling it? The reason for that is because of the brain damage caused by the sport, and it’s quite possible that football will go that way in twenty or thirty years for the same reason.

    And baseball will still be there. Perhaps a century from now fans will be discussing the same issues and comparing baseball to some other sport.

    Oh and yes, McCarver and Buck are awful, but then again all the FOX clones sound pretty much alike. I miss Kiner, Murphy and Nelson, Skip, Pete, and Ernie. If only we could somehow make Vin Scully thirty years younger…

    • gloccamorra - Oct 27, 2013 at 3:28 PM

      At least Fox gave up on those super-close close-ups, the ones where you could count the nose hairs on the players sitting in the dugout. That must have turned off a bunch of female fans. The fact that Fox can learn, and they’re paying even more for TV rights in the next contract, means it’s possible there will be changes in the booth – eventually.

    • metroplexsouthsider - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      I hate the in-game interviews in ALL sports of managers/coaches. Let them work.

  3. anythingbutyanks - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    I would suggest changing the format of the playoffs entirely. You have the top six teams from each league in the first round, but do it round robin style (one game against each team) for the first round with the teams from each league with the best RR record facing off for the Series. While this may water down the import of regular season records, it would certainly make the first round extremely interesting.

    Baseball’s biggest problem is that, over the long term, it is fairly predictable. No one but the most passionate fans tunes in to watch an event play out over many hours when the outcomes are limited and mostly routine. Introduce an element of unpredictability to get you TO the Series and, just maybe, there will be more interest in the final product.

  4. dangle1223 - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    I would but with games starting at 8 I can’t stay up late enough to watch plus I can’t take 3+ hours of Joe Buck comparing everything to the Yankees and Tim McCarvers useless rants

  5. sportbuff99 - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    1) Go back to World Series day games on the weekends. The NFL starts the Super Bowl at 6:30 EST, no reason why Saturday WS games can’t start at 2:30 EST and Sunday games at 5:00.

    2) Shorten TV timeouts to 1:45. The NFL has 1:45 timeout length during the regular season, 2:15 during the playoffs. Baseball’s runs on 3:00 during the WS.

    3) Can’t do much about Buck and McCarver. TMc is gone after this year, so that change gets made. I think a lot depends on the teams involved, as well. I love baseball, but another St. Louis-Boston matchup makes me sick.

    That said, I am rooting for the Sox and hoping Jonny Gomes and David Ross get rings.

  6. rlefty14 - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Baseball is not as popular as it once was. But the fact that the cardinals are always in it hurts the MLB, they are a boring team to watch.

  7. stairwayto7 - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    No one cares about the Bo Sox!

  8. gloccamorra - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    Everybody in TV land wanted LA – Boston, for that east coast – west coast thing. We may have to wait awhile for the premier matchup, Mariners – Marlins.

    Wait a minute! How about shaking it up: Have the bottom six teams in an anti-playoff with the anti-pennant winners in an anti-World Series? Every World Series game is a doubleheader: The two worst teams in the matinee match and the pennant winners in the main event.

  9. djtierta - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    The ratings would be a whole lot higher without Joe Buck.

    • drelms - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      Thank you djtierta, I have been saying it all along joe buck is the worse freakin announcer out there, and I am not saying it because he is gay, that’s a sidebar issue. He is very opinionated and dull, his coverage always highlights any team opposing the Sox, yes I am a Boston kind if guy and he needs to go.

      I found that I could stream a free world series coverage from abroad, link my laptop to my TV with an HDMI cable and have been enjoying MLB coverage destined for other Countries, the best broadcaster and fair and equal treatment to both teams. And I got to see the pick off on first base live, while you on FOX saw it only on replay because FOX apparently had their cameras pointed some other way.

  10. stanmrak - Oct 31, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    1. Enough of the center field camera. Can’t tell if it’s a ball or strike anyway. Only when they show the replay from behind the plate, further back, can you see all the action… baserunners, fielders, cut-off men, defensive positioning. Get a clue, FOX and TBS! The center field camera should be used for replays only.

    2. Too many closeups… it’s nothing but closeups! You see the player, but totally out of context. Baseball is not a game of closeups!

    3. Radical, but necessary. Each at bat should be 3 balls and 2 strikes! Eliminate wasted pitches, too many of them and just time consuming. I played in a softball league where you just got ONE pitch per at bat! And it worked. The game is just way too slow for the 21st century.

    • ckendall27 - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      Why don’t we make the games THREE innings long & get it over with, if THAT will be enough to satisfy today’s generation of fans with short attention spans, how ’bout it??

      EVERY year all people do is complain about the game of baseball, the way it’s played, the speed of the game…it’s been played the way it’s been played since the 1800s! You CAN’T control the speed or time of the games! There’s NO stopwatch. Baseball is what it is. Today’s generation wants everything done FAST FAST FAST, right away, because they have no time to wait around anymore, do they?

      Leave the game ALONE the way it is.

  11. ckendall27 - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Does everyone who posted comments here HATE baseball now??

  12. ckendall27 - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    And does EVERY announcer suck in baseball?? Can any of YOU folks do better??

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