Fox is averaging an 8.5 fast-national rating and 14.1 million viewers for the Red Sox-Cardinals World Series heading into tonight's Game 6, marking the best figures for the Fall Classic since the Yankees-Phillies matchup in '09. This year's matchup is up from a 7.6 rating and 12.7 million viewers for the Giants' sweep of the Tigers last year. Monday night's Game 5 finished with an 8.9 rating and 14.4 million viewers, up slightly from an 8.8 rating and 14.3 million viewers for Cardinals-Rangers Game 5 in '11. The series-clinching Giants-Rangers Game 5 in '10 drew an 8.8 rating and 15.0 million viewers. Monday's game peaked at an 11.7 rating from 11:00-11:30pm ET. It had competition from ESPN's Seahawks-Rams "MNF" telecast, which finished with a 6.7 rating and 10.8 million viewers. That game peaked from 11:30-11:45pm with an 8.2 rating (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). SI's Tom Verducci notes the drama-filled tension has been "good for ratings, especially as it lasted deep into the night." The first pitch of Game 3 at 8:07pm on Saturday night drew 9.3 million viewers, but "14.1 million viewers watched the last pitch and that bizarre (but correct) obstruction call at 12:01am." That ended up being the "highest-rated, most-watched Game 3 since 2009 and gave Fox its best Saturday-night viewership since January" (SI, 11/4 issue).
STILL GOT JUICE: In L.A., Scott Collins writes this year's World Series is "generating actual excitement among viewers and has even given NFL games a run for their money in the ratings," proving that interest in baseball "hasn't totally waned." NBC's Packers-Vikings "SNF" matchup "pulled out the win" when it went against Game 4 of the World Series, but it "was close." It is a "little too early to declare that baseball is back as America's pastime," but the ratings "show the game hasn't lost its TV cred" (L.A. TIMES, 10/30). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes MLB "might take solace in knowing that Game 4 was probably largely responsible for 'Sunday Night Football' having about five million fewer viewers than its season average" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/30). In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes this year's World Series "should be a big television draw" by any measure. The two teams are "historic franchises with terrific national followings, and they're attractive teams with great pitching and plenty of interesting storylines." So why is the series "getting a relative ho-hum reaction from baseball fans, who are delivering another series of mediocre overnight TV ratings?" The series "is on pace to post the third-worst average audience" since MLB's postseason moved to prime time (Baltimore SUN, 10/30).
NOSTALGIC MCCARVER: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar writes Fox' Tim McCarver "maintained a matter-of-fact approach all season, his final one, in the Fox baseball broadcast booth," but now, with the end "near, he is much more reflective publicly." McCarver on Monday said, "This whole year, it’s been much more vivid, things are a lot clearer to me. I appreciate the game, I wouldn’t say more than ever, but as much as ever." Fox' Joe Buck said of McCarver, "He said to me before Game 3, 'I’m relishing this more than I ever have, more than I ever thought I would'" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/30). In N.Y., Andy Martino wrote, "I don’t know about you, but I’ll miss Tim McCarver." His voice is the "sound of baseball in October, the lone constant." As this series has "shown, his eye for the game remains sharp, and his insights educational." Martino wrote after watching Pedro Martinez "bring his sharp insight and goofy humor to TBS this month, we’d love to hear more of him, too" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 10/29). CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman wrote on his Twitter feed, "i know everyone likes to kill broadcasters these days on twitter. but tim mccarver has been a very good one" (TWITTER.com, 10/30).