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Published October 6, 1995
The Baseball Network's coverage of Game 2 of the MLB divisional playoffs drew a 10.7 national rating, up from Tuesday's 10.3 (THE DAILY). The two-night 10.5 average is off 15% from CBS' coverage of the first two nights of the '93 LCS and equals the dip in NFL ratings when they went to the wild-card in '78, according to Rudy Martzke. With the markets of the eight teams averaging a 24.2, NBC research figures that if only one game were played in the 8-11pm time slot, the average would have been only an 8.2. BBDO's Steve Grubbs: "If you televise all four games separately, you'll have a dilution of audience levels and advertising dollars. At an 8 rating, would baseball remain a special event for advertisers? Probably not" (USA TODAY, 10/6). HAPPY NETWORKS: In Washington, Leonard Shapiro writes regionalization "is achieving one of its primary objectives" -- a "healthy national rating" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/6). In Ft. Lauderdale, Rachel Alexander writes, "You may be suffering, but for the networks, things couldn't be better." ABC Sports spokesperson Mark Mandel: "This situation keeps the ratings high, keeps advertising coming in and we have an exclusive product" (Ft. Lauderdale SUN SENTINEL, 10/6). NOT-SO-HAPPY: Barry Frank, MLB's chief TV negotiator, on an NBC promo last night (probably from NBC's entertainment division) that took a shot at ABC: "It was a terribly low blow, a cheap shot and I told NBC so. You won't see it again" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 10/6). MEDIA WRITERS KEEP SLASHING: "The only good thing about The Baseball Network is the fact MLB is pulling the plug" (Carlton Thompson, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/6).... "Regionalization ... is an affront to the very people baseball needs to win back" (Prentis Rogers, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/6)...."The drama of the first two nights of baseball's postseason has been overshadowed by the outrage over the regionalized coverage" (Barry Jackson, MIAMI HERALD, 10/6). ...."We can look forward to next year, when The Baseball Network is history" (Randy Covitz, K.C. STAR, 10/6)...."Not only is regionalization an artisic failure, but a financial flop" (Jack Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/6).... "Before we bury The Baseball Network, we should praise it ... for its productions" (Steve Nidetz, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/6)....Front page headline in Burlington, VT, where the Yankees-Mariners is coming over Plattsburgh's WPTZ: "Red Sox Fans Cursed by Coverage" (BURLINGTON FREE PRESS, 10/3). ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: "Then again, at least people are talkin' baseball, and when was the last time this many people cared?" (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 10/6).