You could say that the more Canadians saw of the 2010 World Series, the less they liked it. The further the Series went the less Canadians watched San Francisco's curb stomping of Texas. Sportsnet's coverage peaked at 703,000 on opening night in San Francisco with the 11-7 marathon win by the hometown Giants. From there on it was, to quote Jerry Howarth, swing and a miss. Baseball's numbers drooped to 617 K (Game 2), 497 K (Game 3), 564 K (Game 4) and then a modest spike to 659 K (Game 5) as the Giants closed out the punchless Rangers in a matchup many thought would go the full seven games.
Even without the rain delays that plagued the previous two World Series, ratings for the Giants win in five games were down 19 per cent from the 2009 Series featuring the Yankees and Phillies (but about even with the 2008 Series featuring the Rays and the Phillies). What the numbers say is that baseball's greatest showcase still can't outdraw an average Blue Jays contest (Toronto's top single game ratings in 2010 easily surpassed the Series' best results).
Baseball viewership in Canada suffered when matched against regional NHL games in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver (Game two), Hockey Night in Canada (Game Three) and the regular season Sunday NFL contests (Games Four). It got its only break on Monday when the NFL contest between Indianapolis and Houston proved to be a quaalude special. Still, sobering for those who remember the glory days of MLB on Canadian TV.
Low Down: In the U.S., the Giants/ Rangers tied for the lowest-rated World Series in history. Despite featuring the fifth and sixth largest media markets in the U.S., this year's Series was down 26 per cent from the 2009 New York - Philadelphia matchup. A seventh game might have helped top the Rays/ Phillies result but then the Rangers performed the dead parrot in five games.
No mystery where American viewers went as they continued to flock to the NFL. A rather humdrum weekend of football contests topped 25 million viewers for the seventh time in eight weeks on Sunday - that without the huge markets for the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears. Last year the NFL hit the 25 million mark just nine times during the entire season.
Sunday's Pittsburgh/New Orleans cash drew 18 million versus 15.5 million for the World Series game. No wonder MLB commissioner Bud Selig is rooting sotto voce for an NFL labour lockout this time next year.
Error On the Play: Play-by-play announcers would trade a limb for the iconic sound bite, one that lives in posterity. Chris Cuthbert debated how to put the right words to the moment when a Canadian team won the 2010 gold medal in men's hockey. Perhaps no one captured that moment better than Tom Cheek (typically not a wordsmith) with his fabled, "Touch 'em all, Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life" to mark the 1993 Blue Jays World Series triumph.
So imagine the distress of KNBR play-by-play guy Duane Kuiper who muffed his big moment Monday night as the Giants won their first World Series since 1954. "For the first time in 52 years the Giants are world champions..." Kuiper gushed in the moment as closer Brian Wilson embraced catcher Buster Posey. (Those of us born in 1954 wish were still 52 years old.)
Kuiper was transposing the fact the Series win was the first in the 52 years the Giants had been in San Francisco with the 58 years since the Giants had won while based in New York. Good thing for Kuiper they invented editing. No doubt his call will sound perfect in the team's highlight film.
Youth Movement: Love Jon "Chucky" Gruden's enthusiasm on ESPN. ("Let me just say that Rocky McIntosh is a great, great football player...") But sometimes his NFL-centricity can produce a groaner. Describing the defensive backfield of the Houston Texans, Gruden called them the "youngest in football". In all of football? Forget Canadian football for the moment - Gruden thinks CFL is a food additive - but younger than the NCAA, John? They must need a note from Mummy to be out so late.
Gathering Moss: Randy Moss is a coach's nightmare but he's apparently still box office for TV executives. Moss's return to New England (in what turned out to be his final game as a Minnesota Viking) drew a whopping 17 rating on FOX TV in the U.S. on Sunday. For comparison, remember that an NHL playoff game that drew a 4 sent hockey folks into ecstasy. So network execs will be hoping the diva receiver catches on somewhere soon.
To that silver lining there's the Dallas Cowboy cloud. With Jerry Jones' team headed for Boot Hill, ratings on America's team are sagging. Ratings for their implosion against Jacksonville were down 5 per cent from last year's Dallas Week Eight number. With more Cowboy carnage on the horizon, expect the numbers on Dallas to keep diving.
Own Goal Blues: Why the new media sucks: Calgary's Cory Sarich inadvertently beat his own goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with a nifty wrister on Saturday night. Hey, it happens. (Sarich has 15 into the correct net in 757 NHL games.) In the old days, you'd catch crap from the coach and the goalie then move on. Today? Sarich's blunder had 171,639 witnesses on YouTube as of Tuesday. Like we say, it sucks.
Maybe this will make Cory feel better: Patrick Stefan missing an open Edmonton net in 2007 has almost a million views on YouTube. So you got that going for you, Cory.