The 2022 Major League Baseball postseason is in full swing.
In the American League, the New York Yankees are back in all their late 90s glory, Cleveland is thriving as the Guardians and the Houston Astros are continuing to upset all of baseball with their success. Over in the National League, the NLCS is ready to take flight between the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres. The Phillies haven’t made the playoffs in over 10 years, when they lost the NLCS in 2011. As for the Padres, they played in the NLDS in 2020, but previously experienced a long drought.
With unlikely teams leaving upsets in their path, this postseason is shaping up to make exciting championship series games and a famed World Series contest.
Nevertheless, MLB playoff games aren’t treated like those of other leagues – like the NFL. Unless you’re a diehard baseball fan, probably with an affinity for memorizing statistics and MLB history, you’re not going to watch the MLB postseason unless your favorite team is playing. Bars aren’t throwing watch parties for every MLB playoff game, and I doubt you have friends who go out of their way to host World Series cookouts each year.
Major League Baseball postseason ratings are drastically lower than they were in previous decades. The World Series competitions of 1978 and 1980 tied for the highest ratings of an entire World Series. Both hold an average rating of 32.8 (Wikipedia).
Nielsen Media Research/Nielsen Ratings key measurements:
Ratings: the percentage of all U.S. households with televisions that watched a game
Share: the percentage of televisions with a game turned on
Viewership: the average number of people watching a game while it’s on
The lowest ratings for an entire World Series? The 2020 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays. The series averaged a rating of 5.2, and boasts the lowest average viewership of all time for an entire World Series – 9.785 million viewers. The individual World Series games with the highest ratings and viewership numbers all took place between the 1960s and the 1980s.
Game 6, 1980 World Series (Phillies beat Royals): 40.0 rating
Game 7, 1986 World Series (Mets beat Red Sox): 55 to 60 million viewers
Why watch the postseason this year? Why make the effort to raise ratings and viewership, if my St. Louis Cardinals lost in the first round?
Because we can’t call ourselves true baseball fans if we don’t. It’s time to get past the instant gratification and flashiness we’ve become accustomed to this generation. Sure, I love home runs and impossible catches over the wall as much as the next person, but that’s only a percentage of what baseball is. 2022 is offering so much more.
First, the Yankees and Astros have serious beef. Since 2017, they’ve met in the ALCS twice, and it’s time for a third. Just last May, Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Astros owner Jim Crane made a few comments about one another in the media. Cashman blames the Astros sign-stealing scandal for the Yankees drought, while Crane remembers “the Yankees were using the replay review room and dugout phone to decode signs in 2015-2016,” (Bailey).
Next, Cleveland hasn’t won a World Series since 1948. Their many “what could have been” heartbreaks since the 90s are looking to be mended. The Padres have never won a World Series, and the Phillies last won in 2008 (Schoenfield). These aren’t your usual postseason contenders. And who doesn’t love an underdog story? Baseball is supposed to be romantic, remember? Watch these teams and get to know the players you never hear about.
Lastly, we’ve got players like Justin Verlander. He missed the 2021 season after having Tommy John surgery, and at 39 years old is arguably having the best season of his already legendary career. He’s leading the American League in nearly every category: wins, ERA, WHIP and lowest batting average allowed (Schoenfield). After COVID, the Astros sign-stealing scandal, and Tommy John, it was unsure if Verlander could return to his Cy Young winning self. Who has a comeback season at 39? Will Verlander win another ring, and could this season be his last?
Try changing your routine this fall and challenge yourself to enjoy what you normally wouldn’t. With SCA Promotions running Evan Williams Bourbon Triple Play Sweepstakes for a second year, you could win some money too. Evan Williams will give away $1,783 to one lucky fan each time a triple is hit during a 2022 postseason game. And if a team turns a triple play, one fan will receive a prime prize of $1,000,000. This promotion will end with the close of the 2022 World Series.