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10/23/08 10:05 PM EST
Selig pleased with Game 1 ratings
Commissioner will mull limiting days off in 2009 postseason
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Commissioner Bud Selig said on Thursday night that he was pleased with the television ratings for Game 1 of the World Series. At the same time, he said that his office will mull limiting the number of days off during the postseason next year when the season starts a week later on April 6. FOX's broadcast of Philadelphia's 3-2 victory over the Rays on Wednesday night drew a healthy 9.2 rating, giving the network the most-watched show that evening. A single ratings point for over-the-air TV in the U.S. is about 1.1 million viewers. "I was happy [with the ratings], I was very happy," Selig told members of the media on the field about an hour before the start of Game 2 at Tropicana Field. "I know it's down a little bit from last year, but up considerably from the year before. "I think that's a great first-game rating. It was a good game that went right down to the end. You'll see the success if we get to Games 5, 6 and 7. And this one starting out [they way it did] I think is very encouraging. So far I think we're doing remarkably well." Selig said he is concerned about next year's postseason schedule, which has the World Series extending into November if it goes to a seventh game. This year, barring any inclement weather, the Series is slated to end next Thursday if it goes the distance, two days shy of November. Next season, players involved in the World Baseball Classic will be expected to report to Spring Training camps a week earlier. And the Classic itself is scheduled to run from March 5-23, thus pushing back the start of the regular season six days. The season opened this year on March 30 with the inaugural game at new Nationals Park in Washington. "What we've got to do in the offseason is look at maybe not having as many off-days during the postseason or days when we only have one game," Selig said. "It's tough, though, it is tough. You want to be good broadcast partners. Every sport does that. But if we can find a way to shorten it, and I'm not talking about a lot -- two days, three days -- that would be fine." When Major League Baseball moved the start of the World Series back four days from Saturday night to Wednesday night effective with the 2007 postseason, those four days were utilized as cushions during the first two rounds. There is now a travel day between Games 4 and 5 of each Division Series and an off-day between Games 4 and 5 of both League Championship Series. The latter was put in place as possible a rain day in each LCS. None of the first-round series have gone the distance the past two years and the rain day during the LCS hasn't been needed. Selig said the start of the World Series at midweek was fixed. "I like the way the World Series starts right now," Selig said. "I'm just talking about the first two rounds." As far as the ratings are concerned, last year's Game 1 of Boston's sweep of the Rockies drew a 10.5 on a Wednesday night, and Game 1 of the 2006 series, which the Cardinals won in five games over the Tigers, had an 8.0 mark on a Saturday night, considered to be the worst TV viewership evening of the week. Selig said it's important for the entire product that it be a long series. The Fall Classic hasn't gone as long as six games since the Marlins defeated the Yankees in 2003 and hasn't gone to seven games since the Angels beat the Giants in 2002. "It's always important [to go deep] in any series," Selig said. "The first two or three games it's just starting. Teams are trying to figure each other out. It builds. So if we can get Monday, Wednesday and Thursday games next week it's very important."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.