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Postseason TV ratings get in the way of narrative

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

You know all that bellyaching we get every year about the terrible ratings for postseason baseball? Granted, there are a couple of easy excuses: except for the NFL, nothing does as well as it used to, plus baseball has largely become a local affair ... but it's still nice to get some good news about the ratings! Straight from Major League Baseball:

For the entire month of Postseason baseball beginning with the Wild Card games, viewership increased +20% across FOX, TBS and MLB Network (6.3 million average viewers), the largest year-over-year increase since 2009. In addition, 2013 marks the first year since 2001 that viewership increased for every round of the Postseason as well as the All-Star Game.


When the Red Sox recorded the final out last night, 86% of TVs on in Boston were tuned to the game. Overall, the game drew a staggering 55.2 local rating, the highest rating for any MLB game in any market since Boston got a 55.3 for Game 4 of the 2007 World Series. In St. Louis, Game 6 drew a 37.9 rating.

This should not be considered a knock against the good baseball fans of St. Louis, nearly all of whom were, I'm sure, watching Game 6. This does give an idea about how many fans lose a bit of interest when their team's on the verge of getting knocked out, without a chance to actually clinch a championship.

Obviously, a 20-percent bump in overall postseason ratings is impressive, especially considering -- according to the conventional wisdom, anyway -- the absence of a New York (or Philadelphia) team in the festivities. Obviously, there are a lot of Red Sox fans and Cardinals fans, which had to help, generally. You'd really want to see a breakdown including every major market, to figure where that 20 percent is coming from.

Wherever it comes from, though, 20 percent ain't small beer. Seems like maybe the old game's still got some life in 'er yet.