Fox earned a 13.8 overnight Nielsen rating Thursday night for the Cardinals' dramatic 10-9 11-inning win over the Rangers in Game Six of the World Series. The rating is the highest for a World Series game not featuring either the Yankees or the Red Sox since the final game of the '05 White Sox-Astros series. Cardinals-Rangers through six games is averaging a 10.2 rating, up 4% over last year's Giants-Rangers matchup, which only went five games. St. Louis led all markets with a 49.4 local rating, while Dallas/Ft. Worth drew a series-high 47.1 rating. Fox easily won the night with a 12.6 overnight, far outdistancing second-place CBS (8.0). If the ratings hold, it will be Fox's biggest Thursday night rating since an episode of "American Idol" that aired last March (THE DAILY).
SOME QUALITY FATHER/SON TIME: Fox' Joe Buck echoed his late father with his call on Cardinals' 3B David Freese's game-winning home run in Game Six. Recalling Jack Buck's memorable call of Kirby Puckett's game-winning homer 20 years ago in Game Six of the Twins-Braves World Series, Joe Buck said, "We will see you tomorrow night." NFL Network’s Rich Eisen: “Love Joe Buck. What a dream to be able to pay tribute to your dad like that. He nailed it.” NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner: “Joe Buck can retire now, after reprising his pop's call of Puckett's HR to win G6 of '91 WS. Anyone else=ripoff. Him=tribute to old man." Newsday's Neil Best: "Cool touch by Joe Buck to use his father's Game 6 line from '91." SI.com’s Jimmy Traina: “Knock Joe Buck (and me) all you want. I thought that call was a very cool thing.” NBCSports.com's Craig Calcaterra: "Really thought this was great from Joe Buck." The Orange County Register's Mark Whicker prior to Freese's home run wrote, "think Joe Buck will say, 'We'll see you tomorrow night!' if the Cards pull it out? No one would begrudge him." The Ventura County Star's Jim Carlisle: "You have to think Joe Buck had had the idea of saying his dad's line long before Game 6 ever started..." Meanwhile, Broadcasting & Cable's Ben Grossman wrote, "I know you all hate Joe Buck for whatever reason, but his 9th inning is clinical: totally laying out and letting nat sound work. Perfect."
GIVING THE SIGNAL: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes Fox' Tim McCarver is "an anomaly" because for a generation of MLB fans, he "is World Series TV analysis." The Rangers-Cardinals series marks his 22nd World Series TV assignment, and while McCarver in the past "sometimes overanalyzed action," he and Buck have "an eye for interesting detail on the Series." McCarver noted that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa "taking off his glasses means he'll make a pitching change." Buck during Game Five noticed that Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols "called his own hit-and-run that cost the Cardinals a potentially big inning" (USA TODAY, 10/28). In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes Pujols' hit-and-run call "probably wouldn't have come to light had it not been for some detective work" by Buck, who "deduced what happened while looking at replays during a commercial break," and brought it up on-air. McCarver said, "In the 16 years we've worked together, Joe's said a lot of things and that was No. 1. It was definitely the best. If he doesn't say it, it goes away. It was one of (the most timely) comments ever" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/28).
CALL TO THE BULLPEN: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes Buck publicly has "gone out of his way" to defend La Russa following the mishandling of his relief pitchers during the eighth inning of Game Five. Buck Wednesday said, "The Cardinal hitters lost Game 5 -- period. There is no way you can tell me that years from now when somebody looks back, the story will be who came out of the bullpen in the eighth inning." Raissman: "Just in case anyone interested in such matters was not aware of the extent to which Buck provided cover for the Cardinals manager, the Foxies emailed their play-by-play man’s statement from sea to shining sea." Raissman also writes the "way Buck and Tim McCarver handled that inning of Game 5 was curious" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28).
RATINGS DETAILS: AD AGE's Brian Steinberg noted the "fact is that TV viewership for the World Series has been in decline for years." When both teams "hail from smaller markets, smaller ratings are the inevitable result." Fox has "beaten some other networks in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic on many fronts, and the World Series has helped in that laudable effort." But it is "hard to crow about being the tallest entity when the ground underneath you and your rivals continues to be soft and permeable." TV nets would "usually love to have 10 million to 15 million viewers on any given night, but when sports rights fees cost so much, and when the Series gets in the way of launching fall series that Fox hopes will last much longer than even a seven-game series, one can see how the numbers might be disappointing" (ADAGE.com, 10/27). Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley noted ratings for the World Series "are up big time in the Milwaukee market." WITI-Fox Research Dir Eric Steele reported that through Monday, World Series games "averaged almost 10.4 or 94,208 households, a 53% jump compared to the five-game World Series in 2010 between Texas and San Francisco (6.8 average)" (JSONLINE.com, 10/25).
ISLAND TIME: The HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER reports Oceanic Cable viewers "lost TV coverage of Game 6 of the World Series for about 20 minutes” due to a “power supply problem.” Video of the game “was lost” at approximately 4:05pm local time. The game came back on at 4:28pm, “but via a lower resolution, slightly jerky Internet video.” The regular TV signal, “including high definition, returned at 4:50.” Oceanic VP/Operations Norman Santos said that one of the company’s hubs was carrying the KHON-Fox signal “when it lost power a little after 4.” Santos added that the “generator for the hub didn’t immediately turn on” (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 10/28).