Fox earned a 4.3 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Cardinals-Giants NLCS Game 2, down 7% from the net's Rangers-Tigers ALCS Game 2 last year, which also aired on a Monday night. The telecast peaked early (10:00pm ET) with a 5.0 rating as the Giants opened up a 5-1 lead in the fourth inning and eventually won 7-1. The game, which aired up against ESPN's Broncos-Chargers "MNF" telecast, led Fox to its best Monday primetime average for the current TV season. In the S.F.-Oakland-San Jose market, the telecast earned a 19.1 local rating, while in St. Louis, the game earned a 36.2 rating (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
MARKET WATCH: The ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH notes the local rating for Cardinals-Giants NLCS Game 1 on Sunday “exceeds any figure" for the market during the '11 Cardinals-Brewers NLCS. It is the “best rating for the first contest" of any of the seven NLCS matchups that the Cardinals have played in since '00. Sunday's telecast earned a 41.5% local rating in St. Louis, up 33% from a 31.2 rating for TBS' NLCS Game 1 last season. St. Louis was “by far the best-rated market in the country, more than doubling the 20.6 rating in second-place San Francisco” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/16). In New Jersey, Jeff Roberts noted Fox' Giants-49ers game on Sunday earned a 16.1 local rating in N.Y., which “comfortably beat” the 9.7 rating TBS' Tigers-Yankees ALCS Game 2 (NORTHJERSEY.com, 10/15).
BUCK-ING A TREND: SI.com’s Richard Deitsch noted Fox' Joe Buck had “previously called doubleheaders as a Cardinals broadcaster, but he'd never experienced the kind of Sunday he had in San Francisco” when he handled play-by-play duties for the Giants-49ers NFL game and NLCS Game 1. Fox Sports co-President & co-COO Eric Shanks “brought up the idea of the two-sport, same-day doubleheader if both the Giants and Cardinals won their divisional series.” Had Buck “arrived late for the baseball game, his longtime partner, Tim McCarver, would have handled the action until he got there.” After the NLCS game, Buck's voice “remained strong, and he announced that he was off to grab some pizza and a seltzer.” Buck said, “I'm fine; it's not like I was in the pentathlon. I just sat there and talked. It's cute for Fox, but beyond that, people just want to watch the game” (SI.com, 10/15). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes, “This was a stunt, a publicity grab. Does anyone think Fox’s cameras would follow Buck to work on a normal day?” Whether Buck “made the call here, or was just following orders, can’t erase the perception this was a case of big-footing.” Preparation "is important for a broadcaster," so "maybe the Foxies had the Double Duty contingency plan in mind weeks ago.” Raissman: "But if Buck didn’t know about the football assignment did he actually prepare? Or did he decide he could get by working the game off the cuff?” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/16).
BYE-BYE BIRDIES: In Baltimore, David Zurawik offered “some final thoughts” on the Yankees-Orioles ALDS broadcasts on TBS. The team of play-by-play man Ernie Johnson and analysts Cal Ripken Jr. and John Smoltz “was outstanding.” Johnson “sets a table as well as anyone this side of Al Michaels,” and was “superb all series long at drawing the best out of Ripken and Smoltz, who provided original and insightful analysis.” Zurawik wrote, “I also want to stress what fine work the production crew at TBS did in making viewers feel as if they were part of what was happening at Camden Yards and Yankee Stadium." The shots of Manhattan "at sunset and twilight that the producers used as they came back from commercials were fantastic” (BALTIMORESUN.com, 10/15).
CANADIAN BEEF: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin asks, “Why should Major League Baseball deny its fans the proper decision when a better alternative exists?” That is how Canadian baseball fans “feel watching the MLB international feed of the American League Championship Series on Sportsnet instead of the TBS broadcasts.” MLB wants to provide "clean feed devoid of U.S. graphics and advertising." Dowbiggin: "Thanks for nothing." This "works for Sportsnet perhaps, but these broadcasts annoy fans and lack the authority of the host broadcasters.” When Yankees SS Derek Jeter fractured an ankle during Saturday's ALCS Game 1, MLB producers “provided no replays of what happened till well after a commercial break.” But perhaps “our biggest beef is the absence of the virtual strike zone widget” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/16).