For Kansas City Royals fans, being in their first World Series since 1985 is a baseball blessing and would complete one of the most improbable franchise transformations in MLB history. San Francisco Giants fans anticipate the honor of officially being part of a “baseball dynasty” if Bruce Bochy’s guys can win their third World Series in five years. The final leg of that long journey begins tonight at 8pm ET on FOX.
If San Fran can win MLB's 110th Fall Classic it would certainly be a feat to rival the accomplishments of MLB's previous dynasty. Joe Torre's Yankees won four World Series titles in five years from 1996-2000.
One problem though.
As electrifying as these teams have been in the postseason — winning walk–off after close game after extra-inning game —baseball got the shaft with this matchup.
With baseball supposedly on life support in this country (although retiring Commissioner Bud Selig will tell you it’s thriving at an all-time high), MLB heads, cable and TV outlets are always pulling for the big-dawg teams to grace the World Series stage.
High-profile clubs with superstar names and celebrity faces can draw fans outside of the usual baseball box. These major draws include teams such as the LA Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox and even St. Louis (a mid-market squad with a major-market following and operation).
Women who generally wouldn’t watch baseball, tune in to see Jeter or A-Rod do their thing. It’s bigger than a baseball game when these icons grab the spotlight. It becomes a movie flooded with tweets, FB posts, morning show banter, drama and heightened interest.
For the casual baseball observer, watching two teams with a combined one player (Buster Posey) who would place on MLB’s Top 25 players list is an automatic K. It’s more like a five-K day for ratings. Word to Kirby Puckett.
According to Wallethub.com, the Royals are stuck with the 31st media market in the country (Kansas City) and San Francisco has the sixth media market. Not a bad position for San Fran, but the Cali sports scene is crowded this time of year. No one is setting the DVR to catch old man Tim Hudson square off against some unknown KC pitcher in a World Series game during NFL and College Football season and the beginning of an exciting NBA season.
The NFL continues to be the crystal meth of TV ratings. Last year's Super Bowl attracted 111.5 million viewers even though it was a blowout.To put it in further perspective, the cost of a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl is $4 million and the cost of the same 30-second spot during the 2013 World Series was $470,000.
Why the disparity?
Well riddle me this front-running MLB fans. Who the heck are Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer? Those are the names you get when you take a team with a measly $90,994,500 pay roll full of homegrown talent and have them develop overnight. America hasn’t even gotten a chance to warm up to Mike Moustakas- a ninth-place hitter who’s been pounding like Mike Schmidt lately. Or Lorenzo “Coco” Cain? Where did this postseason reincarnation of Eric Davis come from?
But Ice Cube spit it best in the NWA classic “F*** Tha Police” when he said, “They rather see me in the pen, then me and Lorenzo rollin’ in a Benzo." Nobody really wanted this to be the WS matchup, but there’s nothing any administrative MLB authority can do to stop these deserved teams from bum-rushing MLB’s Fall Festival.
San Fran’s pay roll is a bit higher at just over 147,000,000, but Hunter Pence? He’s a baseball player? I thought he was a wrestler? Pablo Sandoval looks more like a cop from Fiji, than a guy who smashed three homers in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. The historic feat is easily forgettable to the casual baseball fan considering the names of the two guys who preceded Panda Bear in accomplishing this feat are Babe Ruth and Reginald Martinez Jackson.
Where the heck is that short dude with the long hair? Freak Lincecomb or something like that?
What’s going to make people stay locked on FOX? Maybe the guaranteed excitement of two doe-or-die teams slugging it out for unforeseen baseball supremacy. I seriously doubt it.
Last year's Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals drew an average of 14.9 million viewers per game which was a 17 percent increase over 2012 when the Giants swept the Tigers. The four worst-rated Series of all-time have come in the past six years, starting with the Phillies-Rays in 2008. The best the cronies at FOX can hope for is a seven-game series.
According to Wallethub.com, there's $43 million in ad revenue gained per game after the first four.
The theory behind that is the longer the series goes, the more drama that builds, the more national media begins to bloodsuck the story which incites interest in sheepish fans and bandwagon sports media outlets to tune in and ride the wave (thus creating a larger marketing audience).
This series is looking like a definite seven-game gem. So I guess it will be a win-win for everybody. The brand of baseball that is being played by the Giants and Royals epitomizes baseball in its purest form and every single pitch has purpose. Both bullpens are considered to be shutdown machines. You couldn’t find two teams with players who are more humble and clutch. The managers have become puppet masters at this point. San Francisco doesn’t lose World Series opportunities having won the last two times they made it that far in 2010 and 2012. And KC hasn’t lost a postseason game since Game 3 of the 1985 WS against St. Louis. The franchise is 11-0 in the playoff games since falling behind 3-1 to the heavily-favored Cardinals before ringing off three in a row to steal the ch’ip. KC's 8-0 start to this postseason is an MLB record.
The Giants have the edge in hardware and experience, but the Royals have the edge in youth and confidence. KC and San Fran fans are in for a rare display of MLB magnificence. Baseball fever is in full swing and both towns are alive. The local bars and nightlife will be popping and tourists and media will flood the town. I just wonder who else on the globe will be tuning in.