So much for the risk of major media-market teams missing the World Series. Twenty-five million people watched Game Seven between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers.
It's a truism of sports journalism — at least of the shouty AM radio call-in show variety — that no one's really going to care about the World Series if a marquee team doesn't make it to October. Think of the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers, or (somehow?) the Chicago Cubs.
That myth was demolished Friday night by Game 7 of the Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, which was watched by 25 million people, the largest audience for a baseball game since 2004, the year of the historic Red Sox comeback against the Yankees and their first Series win since Russia had a tsar.
The ratings were big, Sports Illustrated reports, and the game was the best-watched Friday TV event since the 2010 Olympics.
Some caveats: St. Louis has long thought of itself as a preeminent baseball town, and the Rangers' local fan base, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan sprawl-plex, isn't exactly a small market. But the results would seem to suggest that the best way to get a lot of people watching a World Series is to make it a really great series. And to go a full seven games.
(St. Louis won, by the way, and now their fans can turn to the real drama of baseball: waiting to see if the team will pony up enough cash to keep their best player, Albert Pujols, or not.)