TBS yesterday featured a tripleheader of MLB LDS games, with Cardinals-Phillies Game Two in primetime earning the top audience with a 2.8 overnight Nielsen from 8:45pm-12:08am ET. The game earned a 21.9 local rating in Philadelphia and a 21.4 rating in St. Louis. Tigers-Yankees Game Two earned a 2.3 overnight earlier in the day (Detroit 13.1 local, N.Y. 7.2 local), while D’Backs-Brewers Game Two earned a 1.6 overnight (Milwaukee 5.8 local, Phoenix 5.7 local). The first Sunday of LDS coverage last year featured all Games Threes and Fours. The best audience for the '11 LDS to date remains Tigers-Yankees Game One, which earned a 3.3 overnight on Saturday.
RAIN, RAIN: Turner Sports averaged a 2.0 U.S. rating and 3.1 million viewers for the first five games of the MLB LDS through Saturday across TBS and TNT. Those figures are down from a 2.9 rating and 4.4 million viewers for the first two days of LDS coverage last year on TBS, which featured six games on Wednesday/Thursday. Turner’s audience numbers this year were hurt by the suspension of Tigers-Yankees Game One on Friday night, which featured a Justin Verlander-CC Sabathia pitching matchup. The net also had two games overlapping on Saturday, with TBS’ Yankees-Tigers Game One at 8:30pm ET and TNT’s Rays-Rangers Game Two at 7:00pm (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Bob Raissman cites sources as saying that for Sunday's Tigers-Yankees Game Two, TBS "wanted a 1 p.m. start but both managers objected because of the short turnover." MLB execs "interceded and the 3:07 start was agreed on, pushing the two NLDS series back to later start times" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/3).
DREADED GLITCH AWARD: The DAILY NEWS' Raissman noted during the sixth inning of Tigers-Yankees Game One Saturday, viewers "suddenly were switched momentarily" from the game to Rays-Rangers. Raissman: "Glitches are part of live TV. Yet for this to happen in prime time, in baseball's postseason, is hard to fathom. It's also darn embarrassing." Meanwhile, after Tigers RF Magglio Ordonez "hit into a double play, a TBS camera lingered in the Tigers dugout," and while this "totally meaningless, gratuitous shot aired, viewers heard play-by-play man Brian Anderson shrieking about a 'diving' catch" by Yankees RF Nick Swisher. While Anderson, "in other national appearances, has rocked steady," Saturday night he "needed to take a breath and come up for air." Raissman: "He talked too much. And in a three-man booth, working with [John] Smoltz and Ron Darling, this wasn't a great idea" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/2). In Albany, Pete Dougherty noted TBS' switch from the Tigers-Yankees game over to the Rays-Rangers lasted "for 14 seconds" and when the net switched back, "no explanation was given" (TIMESUNION.com, 10/1).
STRIKING OUT: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick reviews TBS' coverage of the MLB playoffs and writes, "Excessive talk, excessive use of gizmos, graphics and tape machines quickly turns good TV forgettable." Mushnick: "TBS's all-time, off-to-the-side computerized pitch-box, while less intrusive and annoying than ESPN's version that it pastes around home plate during live pitches, appears to portray all batters as the same -- same size, same batting stance, same strike zone" (N.Y. POST, 10/3). Mushnick yesterday wrote "three of the coverage networks seen here did a great job" covering last Wednesday's final day of the MLB regular season as four teams contended for wild cards. Mushnick: "Predictably, the night's only failure was ESPN, which figured that Red Sox-Orioles ... was the perfect time to shove its virtual strike zone gizmo endlessly over live pitches and down America's better baseball senses" (N.Y. POST, 10/2).
TV TREASURE: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones noted the Rays-Yankees series to end the regular season was "TV ratings gold for Sun Sports" last week. Tuesday night's game drew an average 9.1 rating, a "little more than 163,000 homes," while Monday night's numbers "were almost as solid with an average of 135,000 homes tuned in" (TAMPABAY.com, 9/29). Jones today writes Sun Sports "saved the best for last." Jones: "Its coverage of the final nights of the Rays' regular season was equal to that of the team it was covering. ... The direction and production were first-rate, the announcing of Dewayne Staats and Brian Anderson were equally informative, stirring and entertaining and sideline reporter Todd Kalas showed great hustle and knowledge" (TAMPABAY.com, 10/3).