So, the Tampa Bay Rays have gone worst to first and will meet the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of the World Series on Weds. at Tropicana Field.
Congrats, St. Pete and Philly, you deserve it.
But, as opined last week, it should be the lowest rated World Series in history.
More than a few have said, â€śSo what? Ratings donâ€™t mean a thing.â€ť
Iâ€™m here to say, it means a whole lot.
The low ratings weâ€™re about to embark on have nothing to do with bad teams, or some Series prone to be aÂ lopsided affair. On the contrary, it may be one of the best match-ups in recent history.
So why, oh why, will the ratings be low? Blame broadcasters, for one.
Low ratings show, in part, that when you spend week after week, year after year showing the Red Sox and the Yankees during the regular season, you brainwash the average fan. If you want to make October something special, no matter who is playing, you better get America to follow all 30 teams.
This requires doing a bit of detox on FOX, ESPN, and TBS' part. Understandably, you have America hooked on the Red Sox and Yankees, and with that you get your precious regular season ratings. The problem is, if one or the other team isnâ€™t in the World Series and ratings are low, thereâ€™s a mountain of articles talking about how itâ€™s a matter of being a â€śpoor Series.â€ť
Thatâ€™s a load of manure.
Many will point to the NFL and say, if they can get small markets to draw for the Super Bowl, why canâ€™t the same be done for the World Series? Well, because itâ€™s the Super Bowl. An event. One game for all the marbles. MLB doesnâ€™t get to leverage the â€śeventâ€ť atmosphere. They live or die on market size, brand recognition, and regional alignment by the two teams. You get very little of that with a Rays/Phillies World Series.
For one, both clubs are situated on the East Coast, making national interest low. Ask yourself how often Joe and Jane Average fan on the West Coast is able to watch either of those teams during the regular season.
As far as brand recognition, wellâ€¦ thereâ€™s almost zero of Tampa Bay, and the Phillies havenâ€™t pulled in a steady stream of postseason runs, as well.
Phillyâ€™s a large market, and Tampa/St. Pete is not small, but itâ€™s just not going to have the same draw as a New York, LA, or Boston team being in the World Series.
So, I say, the low ratings do mean something. It means that broadcasters will decide that, in the end, they will get on bended knee and pray for the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Angels or Cubs to make the World Series, and hope that they drew high ratings during the regular season.
Too bad that wasnâ€™t the case this year.
Or, theyâ€™ll wean America off their addiction to Red Sox and Yankees games and get the country interested in baseball. After all, there are 30 teams, not just 2.
Thatâ€™s why ratings matter. Itâ€™s a way to gauge Americaâ€™s interest in baseball, not just a handful of teams. If the ratings were to be high for a Rays/Phillies World Series, then youâ€™d have to say, all of baseball was popular from top to bottom in small towns and big cities coast to coast. Letâ€™s hope that we can get there shortlyâ€¦ with a little help from national television broadcasters, mind you.