Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Really? Rays Phillies World Series A Ratings Bust?

The blogs are abuzz about the looming TV Ratings Bust that a Tampa Bay / Philadelphia World Series will bring.  Commenters by the dozen quip, "Who outside these two cities even cares?"

You can bet Major League Baseball and FOX were making room in the vault for a Pink Hat Nation (once known as the Boston Red Sox) and LA Dodgers matchup.  Tradition, 90 million years of drama, star studded camera angles... big buck$.  Even a Rays/Dodgers series would have play off starved fan appeal on two coasts.

But the Rays and the Phillies? The naysayers don't think that anyone outside those area codes knows a thing about 'em, much less care how it turns out.  While this matchup is not the cash cow it might have been, here are PTown's Points To Ponder when fickle fingers find the remote tomorrow night:
  1. Good time to buy stock in West Coast Pizza Chains:  An 8pm East Coast start time means mama's gotta cook during the game.  Ain't gonna happen in this house.  Pizzicato, Pappa Murphy's, Old Chicago, and Mary's Pizza are programmed into the speed dialer.  4 games, 4 pizzas.  4,000 miles of cardio at the gym between games.  
  2. Not one, but TWO players are repping the "707" in this series: Jonny Gomes does not have a lock on the love from fans to the north.  Eric Bruntlett, the Phillies starting shortstop, was acquired by the Phils last November. Eric, who lives in Santa Rosa, was t-h-i-s close to a karma filled coaching appearance at CampForACure until the Astros called to tell him his cleats would be waiting even further from home in 2008.  I'd say the commute was worth it.
  3. America loves an underdog. And the baseball world is full of them.  The Rays "zero to hero" story has a lock on the whole Underdog thing.  But baseball is full of hometown kids made good. There will be 50 of them on the field this week. Each with a network guys they played ball with from Little League on up... with their own legion of fans.  The thrill of a World Series victory with a home town connection. That's got to be good for a point or two in the ratings. Woonsocketians, just a stone's throw from BeanTown know what I mean. (Thanks Bugs and Cranks)
  4. "The dog ate my homework" only has a prayer of working on the East Coast: With a 5:00 start out west, there's still lots of time to git 'er done.  But back east, it's bedtime for the little guys before the game even starts. 
  5. This series will feature baseball players, not movie stars:  Seriously, it's annoying as hell when the TV dudes eat an entire inning interviewing some Hollywood Hottie DURING THE WORLD SERIES?  But Tampa Bay has a few. Apologies in advance for the predictable cameo appearances of The Great Hulk Hogan and Mike Alstott.   Jonny, 707's Shock Jock, has become somewhat of a hybrid in his 26th Man Role. Half MLB Star, half Papparazi Photo Op.  But at least he's in the dugout.  But seriously Jonny, when you go to meet the president in a few weeks, borrow a shirt OK?
Photo: Getty Images

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