SBD/Issue 21/Sports Media

TBS Continues To See Ratings Jump For Divisional Series Coverage

The three MLB Divisional Series (LDS) games on TBS yesterday averaged a 3.5 metered-market rating, up 9.4% from a 3.2 rating for the three games on the comparative fifth day of the postseason in '08. The Angels' 7-6 series-clinching win over the Red Sox in Game Three of their ALDS matchup drew a 5.9 local rating in the L.A. market and a 14.8 rating in the Boston market. The Yankees' 4-1 win over the Twins in Game Three of that series, which also was the series finale, drew a 16.1 local rating in the N.Y. market and a 22.9 rating in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The Phillies' 6-5 Game Three win over the Rockies drew a 16.9 local rating in Philadelphia and a 19.6 rating in Denver (THE DAILY).

'09 GAME
'08 GAME
% +/-
Angles-Red Sox 12:00-4:07pm
Yankees-Twins 7:00-10:40pm
Rays-White Sox
Phillies-Rockies 10:40pm-2:22am
Angels-Red Sox

MLB Receives Criticism For Scheduling
Phillies-Rockies Games So Late
MISPLACED PRIORITIES: MLB postponed Phillies-Rockies Game Three on Saturday due to cold weather and snow, moving the game to last night at 10:07pm ET. MLB VP/Business PR Matt Bourne said the league "set the schedule before the Cardinals were knocked out" by the Dodgers on Saturday, preventing MLB from playing Phillies-Rockies earlier yesterday. Bourne: "In order to change the time (and) give fans and everyone involved putting the game on less than 20 hours to be made aware of the time change, that's just not really enough time" (USA TODAY, 10/12). YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk wrote scheduling Phillies-Rockies for 10:07pm last night was a "monumentally stupid scheduling move" by MLB, and it forces the question "why MLB is so beholden to TBS and Fox that they're playing night games in the cold and dark Denver night, instead of the relatively more accommodating afternoons." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "can't control the weather, but he and his schedule makers could sure use a lot more common sense in anticipating and avoiding the worst of it" (, 10/10). In Philadelphia, Phil Sheridan notes Phillies-Rockies Game Three originally was scheduled for 9:37pm ET Saturday, and "no sane person could defend" that start time. Sheridan: "When it comes to selling programming to the highest bidder, MLB and pretty much every other sports entity are prepared to play their games at 3 a.m. on Christmas Day at the bottom of the ocean -- as long as the check clears" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/10). In St. Petersburg, John Romano writes MLB officials "hand over the most important time of their season to network television executives to do whatever they please with the playoff schedule." Phillies fans in Philadelphia "had to stay up until 2 o'clock Monday morning to watch" Phillies-Rockies, while Angels fans in Anaheim yesterday "were treated to a 9 a.m. start" for Game Three of the team's series against the Red Sox. Romano: "There is simply no justification for these schedule decisions" (, 10/12).

STILL MISSING THE MARK: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote TBS announcer Chip Caray is "erratic," and that is "being kind." The fact Turner Sports officials "placed Caray in such a high profile gig, and continue to stick with him, is a mystery for the ages." Caray Friday during the network's coverage of Yankees-Twins Game Two "totally blew a promo for the new George Lopez show." Caray said, "It's 'Lopez Tonight' weekends." After silence, Caray continued, "I think I meant to say weeknights." Raissman wrote, "Why, through all the errors and scathing critiques, do they stick with him? Maybe it's a contractual thing? Or maybe it's out of loyalty" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/11). Also in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes Caray "doesn’t just talk fancy nonsense, he has no grasp of baseball beyond a clichéd, elementary level." Meanwhile, TBS "often keeps that PitchTrax gizmo thing on the screen … adding to the clutter" (N.Y. POST, 10/12).

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: In Denver, Dusty Saunders writes TBS is producing "more hits than errors during the postseason this year, even though Chip Caray's glitches have caught national attention." TBS' Brian Anderson and Joe Simpson "kept the first two Rockies-Phillies NLDS games in clear focus." Anderson and Simpson are "broadcasting with the assumption that most national viewers are avid, or at least knowledgeable, baseball fans," thus the "yakety-yak about each pitch and swing has been minimal" (DENVER POST, 10/12). The N.Y. POST's Mushnick wrote Anderson and Simpson "have helped make Phillies-Rockies a good watch and an even better listen," as they "don't choose to analyze every pitch and swing nor are they inclined to decorate their thoughts with extra fancy." They have been "alert, yet relaxed, pleasant and amusing without being silly or shticky," and when something happens, they "sound excited, not hysterical." Anderson and Simpson "let the telecasts breathe, allow games to sometimes speak for themselves" (N.Y. POST, 10/11).

Orsillo Praised For Not Having
Red Sox Bias During ALDS
WEST COAST COVERAGE: In L.A., Diane Pucin wrote though TBS' Don Orsillo is a "regular Red Sox broadcaster," Angels fans "shouldn't be able to find a hint of bias" in his coverage of the Angels-Red Sox series. Orsillo "has been nothing but fair," but he "still shouldn't have been assigned to this series" (L.A. TIMES, 10/10). Pucin noted announcers can help fans "when the team on the road is batting because you're not going to get that big roar" when the road team succeeds. But by the "monotone voices" of Orsillo and Buck Martinez when Angels 1B Kendry Morales hit a home run during yesterday's Angels-Red Sox Game Three, it was "hard immediately to know that Kendry's ball was long gone" (, 10/11).

DODGE BALL: The TIMES' Pucin wrote in the third inning of Dodgers-Cardinals Game Three, Dodgers 1B James Loney was "safe at first" on a play, while Dodgers LF Manny Ramirez moved to third base. But TBS announcer Dick Stockton said, "Manny safe at first." Pucin added she "hoped there would be more discussion in the later innings" of the game when the outcome "seemed pretty clear, about whether the effect of the Colorado-Philadelphia snow-out would be positive, negative or neutral, on the Dodgers" (L.A. TIMES, 10/11).

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