It was a heavenly Game 7
Sox-Yankees finale left many impressions
Sometimes, when you're living through an event, you can be too close to what's happening to realize the magnitude of it.
So, let's review two Fox graphics that aired during Wednesday's Game 7 of the Red Sox-Yankees American League Championship Series.
The first showed the Sox were the first baseball team to rally from a 0-3 deficit to win a seven-game series in 26 attempts. And they were only the third team to accomplish the feat in 237 attempts involving MLB, NBA, and NHL teams. Pretty select company.
The second ranked the Sox' comeback among these great sports upsets: Cassius Clay over Sonny Liston (1964), Jets over Colts in Super Bowl III, Mets over Orioles in 1969, the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" US Olympic hockey team, and Villanova beating Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA basketball final.
Meanwhile, Fox earned a 19.4 national Nielsen rating (30 audience share) for Wednesday night's game. That was the best rating for an LCS game since 1991, and certainly in the modern cable-fragmented viewing world.
Locally, the epic Sox victory was the highest-rated and most-watched sports since 1990. In effect, in this market, the audience was close to maxed out. Fox 25's audience topped out at a 60 rating at 9 p.m. and an 87 share in the final quarter-hour (meaning 87 of every 100 sets in use were tuned to the game).
The game did a 56.6 rating (77 share) in Boston between 8:30 p.m. and midnight. That's higher than the Patriots' first Super Bowl victory, a 56.1 rating (78 share), the 20-17 win over the Rams on Feb. 3, 2002. If the audiences get bigger for the World Series, the only larger Boston sports ratings numbers out there are a 59.0 (Game 7, Sox-Reds in the 1975 World Series) and a 59.9 (Game 7, Sox-Mets in 1986).
Thoughts from the evening:
Fox's broadcast crew (Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Al Leiter, and Kenny Albert) never mentioned the 2004 All-Star Game, which the network televised. In that game, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz homered to help the American League to a 9-4 victory and home-field advantage for the World Series, which means Game 1 will be at Fenway Park tomorrow night (Channel 25, pregame show 7:30).
Likewise, nothing was made of the Boston connection for last night's Game 7 of the NLCS in which former Red Sox pitchers Roger Clemens (Astros) and Jeff Suppan (Cardinals) were facing each other.
Why were there no shots of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner during the ALCS? Fox Sports president Ed Goren said yesterday it wasn't from lack of trying. The Boss just wasn't putting himself on display.
Diamond Cam can offer some key shots. The foul tip that caught Yankees catcher Jorge Posada off the knuckles in Game 5 comes to mind. But, like most new toys, it's being overused. And why didn't the producers prod former catcher McCarver to talk about the beating catchers take with the series of marathon games?
An explanation of why NESN was the last of Boston's local stations to go on the air after Game 7: "We waited until the Sox were presented the AL Championship trophy and Fox signed off on its telecast," said NESN spokesman Gary Roy.
On these pages, we've covered Ara Parseghian the football coach, who led Notre Dame to two national championships, as well as Parseghian the TV analyst. Tomorrow, we'll see him as a grieving grandfather in a halftime feature during the BC-Notre Dame game (Channel 7, 2:30 p.m.). We often hear the lament that no parent should outlive his children; Parseghian's is that no grandparent should outlive his grandchildren, after losing two and having a third battling a neurodegenerative disease called Niemann-Pick Type C. It may be a football analogy, but the Parseghians, after taking the hits, bounced back with a research foundation that has raised $23 million to fight the disease . . . NESN is airing Amherst-Wesleyan football tomorrow at noon with Bob Picozzi on play-by-play, Andy Gresh on analysis, and Greg Madden reporting . . . Through the magic of home connections, Curt Schilling was able to read the Top 10 list on last night's "Late Show with David Letterman" and then start his day today (8:45 a.m.) with his regular weekly segment with "Loren and Wally" on WROR (105.7-FM).
FSN has Celtics home exhibitions tonight (Nets) and tomorrow (Cavaliers) at 7:30. TNT begins its NBA coverage tonight with a Shaq and Kobe doubleheader; unfortunately, they're not facing each other. The Miami Heat, with Shaquille O'Neal, play the Atlanta Hawks (8 p.m.), with Kevin Harlan, Doug Collins, and Cheryl Miller calling the action. At 10:30, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers face the Clippers, with Marv Albert and analysts Mike Fratello and Steve Kerr . . . Some nice local work by the folks at Channel 56 has been lost in the tidal wave of Red Sox postseason coverage. First was live coverage of the Columbus Day Tufts 10K road race, a uniquely Boston event and celebration of women's running. This week, the station has done nightly segments on the 10 o'clock news in advance of this weekend's 40th Head of the Charles Regatta. Sports anchor Mike Ratte takes a look at two local collegiate programs tonight -- the BU women and Harvard men. Over the weekend, three Channel 56 crews will be at the event, producing a half-hour special to air Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. . . . Today's "Patriots All-Access" (Channel 5, 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.) previews Sunday's Patriots-Jets matchup of 5-0 teams (Channel 4, 4:15 p.m.). The Channel 5 show went behind the scenes at Gillette Stadium with the "Fox NFL Sunday" crew (James Brown, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson) last Sunday, and this week has cornerback Ty Law in studio and coach Bill Belichick looking at the Jets' offense and defense on the "Belestrator." . . . Wonder how tomorrow night's Revolution-Crew playoff telecast (Channel 56, 7:30) will fare in the ratings against Game 1 of the World Series?
Bill Griffith's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org