What if they threw a World Series and nobody watched? If current trends continue we may soon find out. Going into Friday’s Game 5 of the Heartland Series, television ratings were at at embarrassing lows. The 10.1 average for the first four games was well below the 11.1 of last years four-game sweep by the White Sox.
Thankfully, St. Louis put Fox out of its misery by defeating the Tigers, 4-2, to win the series 4 games to 1.
What’s going on? Well, forget the continued erosion of broadcast ratings for any programming that’s not the NFL. Baseball has issues. Primarily, it’s slowly becoming a “market” sport, popular only in cities that happen to have an MBL team. Outside those markets, few fans care – at least they don’t care enough to stay up until all hours.
And as I’ve said before, baseball has few transcendant stars – players who make you tune in to watch them perform. Even the wonderful Albert Pujols doens’t inspire folks to turn the dial when he comes to bat. Like it or not, only Barry Bonds does that.
The Series might be saved from ratings hell if one of the nation’s top markets – New York, LA, maybe Philly – qualify. But beyond that, it looks like from now on, baseball and the network that broadcasts the Fall Classic are only dreamin’.