2010 World Series: Rated MB for Mind-Boggling

2010 World Series: Rated MB for Mind-Boggling

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
3:18 PM
By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, as they ended decades of misery by winning the World Series last night over the Texas Rangers. Their win was the first by the franchise since 1954, when the team was based in New York. Im guessing you noticed this. Maybe? Maybe not?

I like to think that the newsroom chatter at Comcast SportsNet Chicago serves as a fairly accurate gauge when it comes to interest and excitement levels in regards to local and national sports. Here is a sampling of what was said around the water cooler and copy machines Monday and Tuesday:

Can you believe Brett Favre? What a goof!How about that Bulls comeback the other night!?! And did you see what Luol Deng did against Portland?Randy Moss got dumped by the Vikings? My fantasy team is wrecked! Again!The Hawks are going to go on a big winning streak soon.The Tampa Bay Bucs are 5-2? And tied for first? And the Raiders beat the Seahawks 33-3? This year is crazy!

But one comment seemed to resonate louder and clearer above all the others. And its one thats been part of a common theme in the hallways and around the cubicles over the last few weeks or so:

I think I watched about five pitches of the World Series this year.

And you probably havent spent much time watching it either.

Is it just me or has the World Series fallen to insurance seminar-excitement levels? Maybe its because Chicago didnt have a team playing on the biggest stage this year. Or that the two teams duking it out were west of the Mississippi and had less than stellar playoff histories. Or because the two teams dont have Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies attached.

Or maybe its something greater.

To me, the world of sports is like a typical high school dance. Its pretty clear that the cool kids represent the NFL. They dance better, show off more and, naturally, draw more attention. Theyre the popular ones. College basketball, college football, hockey and the NBA represent the middle class: Likable and loyal. And then you have soccer and UFL representing the kids that are considered strange by some, wildly popular by others and simply intriguing by many. And then you have baseballthe kids who used to dominate the hallways and are now just looking up at the bigger, stronger popular kids in football jerseys.

I cannot remember a time where, aside from the onlookers in Dallas and the Bay Area and a few others across the country, that sports fans have cared so little about the game of baseball. The numbers back up a disturbing trend. Take a look at these mind-boggling statistics:

Locally, Mondays World Series clincher was a virtual dead-heat ratings-wise with the regular season Monday Night Football gameColts vs. Texans. Both games peaked at around an 11 (ratings point language). Nationally, although the World Series beat MNF 10.6 to 8.6, the game five rating was down 17 from last years Yankees-Phillies game 5.

On Sunday night, game 4 of the World Series and Sunday Night Footballs Steelers-Saints game went head to head. The World Series game drew a 10.4 rating nationally (which means 10.4 percent of TV households). Steelers-Saints drew an 11.8. The numbers were even more spaced out in the Chicago market. Baseball racked up a 7.26 rating. Football trumped it, scoring a 10.48. At one point (8:45pm quarter hour), football owned a 13.04-6.82 advantage.

Saturdays World Series Game 3 drew a 6.7 national rating, the second lowest rating ever for a World Series contest (game 3 of the 08 World Series, a late-starting, rain-soaked contest between the Phillies and Rays scored the lowest).

What do you think? Have the fantasy footballs and survivor pools of the world eliminated your craving for championship baseball? Is a 3 hour, 15 minute regular season football game just more intriguing than a playoff baseball game of the same length? Is baseball just too slow and boring? Do we not have the patience to sit through, not only a nine-inning game, but a fivesixor even seven-game series? Have you ever thought the day would come where a regular season football game would draw the same or more viewers than a World Series game? Twice?

The scary part of this World Series is that they had the perfect storyline in place: the Giants hadnt claimed a World Series title since 1954. The Rangers havent won anything period. One franchise was going to break through! And they couldnt sell this? Can you imagine if the Pirates and Royals were to shock everyone and get to the World Series? What would happen then?

I think the gap between baseball and football is only going to get bigger. Theyve been the popular kids at the dance for quite some time now. And the baseball kids are looking at their shoes by the punch bowl when a slow song comes on. If only they could get a hot one to come along and ask for a dance.

Or something like that.

Cubs don’t see Cardinals as ‘big brother’ in rivalry anymore

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Cubs don’t see Cardinals as ‘big brother’ in rivalry anymore

ST. LOUIS – Jake Arrieta’s breakdown of his performance sounded like something out of the maybe pile for Joe Maddon’s next T-shirt idea: “I picked a good day to be sh---y.”

The Cubs ace then messed with a reporter who asked a follow-up question after Wednesday’s 9-8 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, wondering if Arrieta would study anything in particular after giving up four runs in a regular-season start for the first time in 11-plus months…or stick with the same routine.

“Well,” Arrieta said, “I’ll probably, maybe, throw left-handed or underhand.”

Arrieta may have some underlying issues with his timing and command, but the National League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner is still 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA. By Year 5 of the Theo Epstein administration, and Maddon’s second season in the dugout, the Cubs now have first-division problems. 

Whatever turbulence the team with the best record in baseball may have experienced during a 4-5 road trip through Milwaukee, San Francisco and St. Louis, the Cardinals scored eight runs on Arrieta Day and still lost. While the Cubs have already won two series this season at Busch Stadium before Memorial Day weekend, after eliminating the Cardinals from the playoffs last October.    

“For the first three-and-a-half years when we were in Chicago, it just felt like they were the big brother,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “They controlled the game. They controlled what was going on, the tempo of the game. They were the more talented team, the more experienced team. 

“Now we’re two very good teams playing. And whoever plays better that night is going to win the game. I think there’s something really refreshing about that when you come in here. We know we’re good. We know they’re good.

“We know that there’s a lot of good teams in the National League and we match up well with them.”

The Cubs ambushed St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez for six runs in the second inning, getting the kind of bounces the Cardinals are used to seeing here.

Jason Heyward’s two-out, two-run double hit first base and bounced up the right-field line, and maybe luck will change for the $184 million player who turned down the St. Louis core. Ben Zobrist is still on fire, getting two hits that inning, including a bases-loaded, two-run single that skipped in between diving first baseman Matt Adams and diving second baseman Kolten Wong.

“I wouldn’t say (things) are shifting,” said Kris Bryant, who blasted what turned out to be the game-winning homer, a three-run shot off Seung Hwan Oh in the sixth inning. “It’s just really competitive baseball. Lately, we’ve come out on top. They play us hard every game. It’s going to make for a lot of fun games in the future.”

When it looked like the Cardinals might stage one of their last at-bat comebacks, Hector Rondon didn’t buckle in front of a sellout crowd (45,465). The Cubs closer roared back after allowing back-to-back singles to begin the ninth inning, striking out Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuk swinging and knocking down the ball pinch-hitter Jedd Gyorko hit back to the mound for the final out and his eighth save. The Cardinals are now a third-place team that’s one game over .500 at 24-23.

“Of course, I totally think they’re going to be there at the end,” Maddon said. “They’re really good. They have a very good offensive club. They need to get their pitching straightened out. They have a good bullpen. And they just play hard. They play hard every second of the game.

“You can never walk away from that. They have some really good players in skill positions. They’re going to get (shortstop Jhonny) Peralta back, I think, at some point, and that’s going to make a big difference for them. And then the problem’s going to be: Where do you put (Aledmys) Diaz?

“They have some nice problems on the horizon.”  

The Cubs (31-14) now have an eight-game lead over the Cardinals in the division and a 9-3 record combined record against St. Louis and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the other two heavyweights in the Central.  

“It’s going to be close to the end,” Arrieta said. “The Pirates and the Cardinals – these guys are going to continue to win games, in and out of our division. We just have to do our job to try and separate that gap when we have the ability to do so, because we know they’ll be close on our heels to the very end.”

Andrew White III heading back to Huskers

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Andrew White III heading back to Huskers

One of the Big Ten's leading scorers from a season ago will be back for the upcoming 2016-17 season.

Andrew White III announced Wednesday that he has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft and will return to Nebraska for his senior season.

White ranked sixth in the conference last season, averaging 16.6 points per game in his first season with the Huskers after transferring in from Kansas.

White shot 48.1 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from 3-point range, also averaging 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. He was a top-15 rebounder in the conference, and only three players in the league made more triples than White last season.

Struggling White Sox face daunting schedule

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Struggling White Sox face daunting schedule

It’s not about to get any easier for the White Sox.

A team that has lost 11 of its last 15 games and has had trouble at the plate is headed out on a three-city, 10-game road trip. The White Sox begin a four-game series at the Kansas City Royals on Thursday before playing three against the New York Mets. After a day off, the White Sox resume their trip with three at the Detroit Tigers starting next Friday.

It wouldn’t appear to be an easy recipe for a team that has lost its last five series and won only one of its last eight.

"There’s always a tough team on the other end of that," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We just have to regroup, whether it’s at home or on the road and do better at producing when you get opportunities and guys on base."

The White Sox have averaged 2.83 runs per contest over their last dozen. In that span, they’ve hit just .200 with runners in scoring position, going 18-for-90 with four doubles, a homer and 23 RBIs.

Ten of those games came at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox went 3-7 on a homestand against the Houston Astros, Royals and Cleveland Indians. For the team to get back on track, it will have to tap into the formula it has used on the road so far. The White Sox are 14-9 on the road this season and have averaged 4.74 runs per game compared to 3.48 in 25 home games.

"We don’t mind playing on the road," outfielder Adam Eaton said. "We kind of come together as a team, an us-versus-the-world-type mentality that we kind of enjoy. It’s a long road trip. It’s always big going on the road, especially when you’re playing divisional opponents. But as I mentioned (earlier), I could really care less. We take it one game at a time, it doesn’t matter who’s on the mound, division or non-division, we want to win the game. We want to score more runs than the next guy. That’s how we’re going to continue to approach. It’s a solid approach in my opinion, and we’ve had success with it earlier in the season. We’ll try to get back to that, get the offense going."