It seems like old news now, but yes the San Francisco Giants beat the Detroit Tigers in a sweep to win the 2012 World Series. What will people remember most about this series? Was it the poor performance of the heavily favoured Detroit squad? Or was it the fine pitching performance of the San Francisco rotation? Truth be told, the most poignant moment of the entire series that will probably define it for years to come happened off the field.
Interestingly enough, this series came out as the lowest rated World Series since the Phillies took the Rays to school in five games. As noted by AdAge, an average of only 12.7 million viewers tuned in to watch the series, again falling significantly shorter of the previous record which had an average viewership of 13.6 million viewers in 2008.
I guess the question now remains – why did people not bother tuning in to watch the baseball season’s climax?
There are a lot of theories that abound. I have heard from numerous sources that Hurricane Sandy may have played a role, as people were too pre-occupied with impending doom to watch the series. I really find this theory incredibly hard to believe – I don’t think people would simply stop everything they’re doing while at home to focus on a hurricane that may be coming their way. In fact, wouldn’t it keep more people at home looking for something to do? No doubt there was a lot of general concern about Sandy – but, in times of worry such as this people tend to turn to recreation to get their minds off things (i.e. sports, baseball, the World Series).
It has also been suggested that there were other media factors within the current environment potentially detracting from people’s attention, but I question, is the current media environment really that different this year from where it was in 2011? (The answer is: no).
My honest opinion as to why this World Series didn’t gain the same attention as previous years was just because it was kind of boring. Ultimately, the crux of this series was based on fine pitching performances. Outside of the home run clinic put on by Pablo Sandoval in Game 1, there really wasn’t a lot of action at the plate. Giants pitchers, Barry Zito, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and Sergio Garcia kept the Tigers at bay throughout most of the series and limited run production. Not only that, but the Tigers pitching also kept the Giants offense in check generally as well; Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez put up admirable efforts from the mound.
As in any sport, North Americans want to see scoring – they want to see a high scoring back-and-forth battle. This World Series didn’t produce that. I believe this is part of the reason soccer just won’t take hold amongst North Americans: it just doesn’t have those action packed and exciting high scoring battles that we all love. It’s interesting to note that the highest rated game of this World Series was Game 4 when 15.5 million people tuned into the extra innings showdown (AdAge), when the Tigers were on the brink of coming back because no one knew what to expect. News spread across social media like wildfire. Unfortunately their balloons were quickly deflated yet again. Hopefully, this isn’t a recurring trend and next year an intriguing matchup will again have the whole world watching.
Ever wonder why the World Series has “World” in the title yet is only comprised of two countries? If so, click here.