Buster Olney predicted that Thursday’s baseball slate could produce the same type of drama that unfolded on the final day of the regular season in 2011, and from a TV ratings standpoint, he was right.
In what MLB will surely trumpet as a rousing victory, Game 4 between the Yankees and Orioles on TBS narrowly edged out the Steelers/Titans game on the NFL Network, 4.6-4.4 according to overnight ratings. Those are subject to change over the weekend when the final numbers come in.
[UPDATE: Newer numbers show that the NFL actually won, 5.7 million viewers to 5.2 million viewers. MLB for two games had a combined 7.4 million viewers.]
It is unclear how much of a factor the Vice Presidential debate played into the great TV night, but that was actually my top priority over football and baseball. I don’t think I watched a second of the NFL game (but thanks for the +5.5 hit, Titans!).
Wonder who Bud Selig is rooting for tonight? The Cardinals – who have arguably the most passionate fan base in the sport – and the Yankees, right?
That would set up a big-city Final Four: Detroit vs. Yankees (2011 rematch, Midwest vs. Northeast, Triple Crown & Cy Young vs. the most popular franchise in the sport) and San Francisco vs. St. Louis (West vs. Midwest).
The alternative – Detroit vs. Baltimore and San Francisco vs. Washington – isn’t nearly as attractive (from a ratings standpoint). It’ll probably be impossible to win a night against the NFL without the Yankees.
Related: Jets (on ESPN) Crush Yankees (on TBS) in TV Ratings Nationally and in New York
Related: San Diego and New Orleans Generated a Higher Rating on NBC Than Both Baseball Games on TBS/TNT Combined