After Chicago’s 9-3 victory over Cleveland Tuesday night in game six of the World Series Tuesday night, Cubs star Kris Bryant was asked in a post-game TV interview about Wednesday night's game 7.
“You dream for this man,” said Bryant.
The players were not alone in that dream after the Series was tied at three games apiece.
So were executives of Fox, who expect one of the highest-rated postseason baseball games in recent memory for game 7.
Inquiring minds want to know: What have been the ratings for the World Series in Western New York?
The short answer: Very strong, until Tuesday night.
Game 6 had a surprisingly low 9.8 rating for a potential series clincher on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, compared to other games in the Series.
There were a couple of reasons. Chicago had a 7-0 lead in the third inning, which drove viewers away. And many local sports fans undoubtedly were watching the Buffalo Sabres’ third straight victory, 2-1, over Minnesota, on MSG. It had a 5.7 rating.
This isn’t to say a 9.8 local rating for the World Series is anything to sneeze about. It was higher than all but one game in Kansas City’s five-game victory over the New York Mets in the 2015 World Series and all but two World Series games played the four years before the Chicago-Cleveland series.
The first five games of this year’s Series between the long-suffering franchises in Cleveland and Chicago had the highest-ratings here since the New York Yankees won the six-game 2009 series with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Of course, the Yankees always are a big draw in Western New York as well as nationally.
The local ratings for the first five games of the Cubs-Indians series were up about 43 percent from last year’s Series. Chicago’s 3-2 game five victory Sunday night had a 13.4 rating on WUTV, which led to expectations that game six would match or exceed it.
Game Five easily out-rated Dallas’ 29-23 overtime victory over Philadelphia on “Sunday Night Football” on WGRZ-TV, the local NBC affiliate. The NFL game, which went into overtime at the same time as the baseball game ended, had a 9.9 local rating.
Much has been made of the fact the Series game beat SNF nationally even though America’s team, the Cowboys, was playing. However, in the glory days of baseball, the NFL probably wouldn’t have attempted to put a regular season game against the Series.
The first five Series games averaged an 11.3 rating, with the 9.5 for game two the lowest-rated. That game started at 7 p.m. to avoid rain in Cleveland. Tuesday’s rating lowered the six-game average to an 11.0.
A year ago, Kansas City’s five-game World Series victory over the Mets averaged a 7.8 rating. The top-rated game had a 10.1 rating, which was lower than every one of the first five games this year except for Game 2.
As strong as this year’s ratings are, they are nowhere near the ratings here for the 2009 Series won by the Yankees. It averaged a 14.0 rating here, with the 16.2 rating for game six the highest-rated Series game locally in at least 11 years.