TBS earned a 4.6 overnight rating for the Orioles' extra-inning win over the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALDS, topping the 4.4 overnight earned by NFL Network for the Steelers-Titans "Thursday Night Football" telecast. Orioles-Yankees earned a 4.1 rating from 7:30-9:00pm ET, then dipped slightly to a 4.0 rating during the Vice Presidential debate from 9:00-10:30pm. Once the debate ended, the rating jumped up to a 5.4 rating from 10:30pm until the game's conclusion at 12:15am (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
FOR THE BIRDS? In St. Louis, Dan Caesar writes MLB Network's Cardinals-Nationals NLDS Game 3 experienced "a ratings thud in St. Louis and a bevy of unhappy fans who don't purchase MLB Network -- or don't even have access to buying it because it's not carried by their programming provider." The 11.7 local rating in St. Louis "not only was significantly lower than what the Redbirds have been doing on TBS ... but didn't even rival some regular-season viewership levels." Caesar: "To put things in perspective, 14 regular-season Cards telecasts this season had a rating equal to or higher than what MLB Network generated" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/12). In DC, Dan Steinberg notes the game earned a 2.8 local rating (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/11).
WORTHY OF PRAISE: In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes Wednesday's Orioles-Yankees ALDS Game 3 was "another great playoff game ... and once again, TBS delivered a telecast worthy of it in almost every way." TBS' Cal Ripken Jr. is "doing a very good job as an analyst," and he is "doing it with the same kind of integrity and inquisitiveness that he brought to the game when he played." Ripken, Ernie Johnson and John Smoltz are "taking us inside some truths not only of this great series, but also the game of baseball" (Baltimore SUN, 10/12). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes of Thursday's Orioles-Yankees ALDS Game 4, "For the second consecutive night, the suits got a nerve-wracking, extra-inning affair that will probably produce some healthy ratings." The "close nature of each tilt has made for exciting telecasts." As was the case in the first three games, Smoltz "was the dominant voice." That means "plenty of pitching talk. He was not at a loss for insight." For the second straight night, "and probably much to the disdain of the Yankees, Ripken commented on how quiet the crowd is at the new Stadium" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/12).
JEER ME, BOYS: Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, TBS, "throughout these MLB playoffs, has been unable to perform the simplest task: Providing an instantly discernible, right-now score, inning-and-count box in the corner of the screen." The crew of Johnson, Smoltz and Ripken "quickly established itself as another non-stop baseball lecture series when we only signed up to watch a game" (N.Y. POST, 10/12).
FIELD OF DREAMS: YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan writes under the header, "Postseason Of Bud Selig's Dreams As Every Division Playoff Series Goes The Distance." MLB is "having one of its finest weeks ever, one in which every grand moment seems to tie into another." This is "no hyperbole, no exaggeration." Passan: "The facts bear it out. Take the most important one first: For the first time ever, teams will play all 20 of the possible division series games" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/12). In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes, "For a second day in row, it was hooky heaven, baseball's revamped wild-card schedule stocking our televisions with the heaviest yet brightest postseason baseball we've seen in years" (L.A. TIMES, 10/12). In a special to USA TODAY, the paper's Founder Al Neuharth writes MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "gets a home run for adding two additional wild card teams this year." However, the "only problem is that if there is a seven-game World Series this year, it won't end until Nov. 1." If MLB is to "continue as America's pastime, a season running from April through October is its best bet." Fewer days off "will make that possible" (USA TODAY, 10/12).
N.Y. STATE OF MIND: On Long Island, Anthony Rieber writes Yankees radio play-by-play announcer John Sterling "has not gone through the process of trademarking his signature game and home run calls," and neither has Yankees TV play-by-play announcer Michael Kay with his "See Ya!" home run call. Kay said that he "once looked into it," but "decided against it." Kay: "It was actually a very long process and it was going to be somewhat expensive." Sterling said, "I'm so stupid that I haven't! Stupid! Lazy and stupid. Really" (NEWSDAY, 10/12).