Baseball could’ve used a competitive World Series to put a bow on what’s been a very good postseason.
Instead, the Giants have jumped out a 3-0 series lead and look to close out the championship Sunday night or soon thereafter.
Television ratings for the series became a concern the moment the Tigers and Giants clinched its respected League Championship Series.
With little national interest in either team, the series’ television ratings tanked through the first two-games and only looks to worsen with the Giants headed towards a 4-game sweep.
No team, after all, has ever lost the World Series after winning the first three games, and the Tigers don’t exactly appear poised for a comeback given its struggles offensively.
Pablo Sandoval’s three-homer performance in Game 1 remains the signature moment of this Fall Classic, but Miguel Cabrera’s fifth inning pop out with the bases loaded in Game 3 was the pivotal turning point in the series.
If the Triple Crown winner manages a hit in that situation the Tigers likely tie the score 2-2, if not take a lead, and maybe win the game.
With a Game 3 victory Detroit would’ve been sitting pretty with Matt Scherzer pitching Game 4 and Justin Verlander taking the hill at home in Game 5. It could’ve been a whole different series, both on the field and in the ratings.
“Major League Baseball must privately long for the day when the Chicago Cubs win a National League pennant and participate in a World Series against the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox or Angels.”
-Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., Clinical Associate Professor od Sports management at New York University
Now that it appears the Giants have the series in-hand and the series bumping up against the NFL on Sunday night, I wouldn’t be surprised if Game 4 is the least watched World Series game in the series’ ratings history.
Obviously, Major League Baseball can’t dictate the outcomes of its postseason to increase World Series viewership. But the league could hold the general fan’s interest longer by taking the necessary steps to increase competitive balance among its teams long before October baseball ensues.
Banking on the Yankees and Red Sox winning in October has made it far too easy on baseball to cash in on the television side and justify it’s gaudy payroll disparity throughout the league.
Give every market a financially competitive shot to win in April and baseball will win the television ratings come October.