Judging by the local ratings for the Chicago Cubs’ 8-7 victory over Cleveland in game 7 to win the World Series, there are a lot of sleepy eyes and yawns around Western New York offices today.
What arguably will go down as one of the greatest games in baseball history had a 22.1 rating on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, over the four hours and 45 minutes. That made it by far the highest-rated baseball game here in at least 11 seasons.
Nationally, the game reportedly had a 25.2 rating in the top 56 metered markets.
The local and national ratings were close to the numbers that the World Series used to get in the glory days of baseball.
To put that rating in further perspective, it was a little more than half the rating for a Buffalo Bills regular-season game. It also was about 50 percent higher than the top prime time network entertainment program usually gets. It also was almost 6 points higher than the previous high in the last 11 seasons, a 16.2 for Game Six of the 2009 World Series won by the New York Yankees over the Philadelphia Phillies.
And more amazingly, WNYers stayed up in even higher numbers as the game went on.
The game peaked with a 27.5 rating from 11:30 p.m. to midnight. It slipped to a 19.5 rating during the 15 minute rain delay at midnight but then rose to a 22.1 in the 1oth inning at 12:15 a.m. and a 21.0 at 12:30 a.m. before concluding with an 18.0 at 12:45 a.m. at game’s end.
And people stuck around for the post-game show to celebrate the end of The Curse. The post-game show had a 9.6 rating at 1 a.m., the kind of rating any network prime time program would die for.
How significant was the Cubs' historic victory? NBC's "Today" led with it Thursday morning instead of the latest about the presidential election.
[Related: Mike Harrington's report from Cleveland]
Thanks to some excellent commentary by Fox analyst John Smoltz, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed baseball so much since I was a little boy who saw famed Dodgers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax pitch a doubleheader.
I tweeted that during the game. Here are some more of my tweets, with additional comments.
Kris Bryant: "That is one of the best games anyone will ever see." Agreed. He took the words right out of every baseball fan’s mouth.
Anthony Rizzo: “Best rain delay of all time." That was what the Cubs’ first baseman said on the post-game show about the rain that may have helped the Cubs gather themselves after blowing a late three-run lead.
“Oddly baseball has become exciting and NFL is boring”: This became one of my more popular tweets.
“I am watching this game to get away from the election. The last thing I want to do is watch an ad for either candidate.” Since both candidates bought national ads during the game, they annoyed us.
“When Chapman is tired he only hits 98 mph": Cubs pitcher Aroldis Chapman blew the three-run lead after being asked to pitch in the third game in four nights.
“Making America's Pastime Great Again”: No explanation needed here.
“There has been more excitement in this game than all this year's NFL games.” Have I mentioned the NFL has become boring this season, which undoubtedly has impacted its TV ratings.
“Well this is one Fall Classic that is Classic”: Again, no explanation needed.
“This is the equivalent off wide right” OK, a little overstated, it was tweeted after the three-run home run by Cleveland’s Rajai Davis tied the game, 6-6.
“A strike in baseball is now like a catch in the NFL. Confusing:” Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks was taken out after he didn’t get some strike calls that would have gotten him out of the fifth inning. Cleveland pitchers also were victimized by bad calls.
“Boy I am glad I'll be OK with whoever wins. Otherwise torture.” Imagine if a Buffalo team was involved in this classic.
“There seem to be as many Cubs fans in Cleveland as Leafs fans are usually in Key Center.” It should have been called the Stub Hub Game. We'll undoubtedly see and hear how many Leafs fans bought tickets from Buffalo Sabres fans for tonight's game.
“Smoltz is as good an announcer as he was a pitcher”: And that was written before he said several interesting things and predicted a failed Cub bunt with two strikes and a man on third. He made the game even more enjoyable to listen to for almost five hours. And he even advised employers to give their workers a break today since they were out or in front of a TV so late.
“That was a great ‘Sounds of the game’: This was written after a Fox microphone caught Rizzo saying how difficult it was for him to keep his emotions steady during the game.
“I think some famous baseball guy said ‘it ain't over till it's over.’" In honor of Yogi Berra, this was written when the Cubs had a four-run lead.
“Well if it only takes 108 years, Bills will win 2068 Super Bowl.” One can hope that curse will eventually end, right?