By Evan Brunell
While Game 7's St. Louis victory over Texas to win the World Series wasn't nearly as exciting as Game 6, baseball capitalized on the amazing Game 6 to soar even higher in ratings. Game 7 improved from Game 6's 21.1 million to over 25 million for Game 7, making it the most watched baseball game since 2004 when the Red Sox ended their 86-season drought. Excluding the 2004 World Series, you have to go all the way back to Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for similar ratings -- the last Series before 2011 to go the maximum number of games.
In total, Fox received a 14.7 household rating, which brings the average of all Series games to 10.0, 19 percent higher than 2010's Series played by Texas and San Francisco... and S.F. has twice the TV households as compared to St. Louis In the coveted ages 18-49 demographic, Fox scored big with a 6.8, besting the other four networks combined and gave the network the best Friday its ever had. It's also the highest-rated Friday since the 2010 Winter Olympics. While ratings were strong from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., it was from 10 to 11 p.m. that dominated the most, with 24.77 million viewers. Those are pretty good numbers given it was a Friday night and the Cardinals/Rangers series was not a TV network's dream matchup.
While we're dealing with numbers, let's take a look at some more, dealing with the World Seres...
There were plenty of parallels to the 2002 World Series, the last Series to go seven games before 2011. In that series, the Angels took down the Giants despite the potent bats of Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent carrying the load for San Francisco. In fact, until Albert Pujols and Allen Craig matched the feat, Bonds and Kent were the last set of teammates to have three or more homers in a single World Series. Pujols and Craig are now the sixth to do so.
There's more 2002 World Series-related stuff, don't worry. For one, David Freese broke the postseason record for RBI, driving in 21 across three series. Prior to Game 7, Freese was tied with Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1997), David Ortiz (2004) and Scott Speizio of the Angels, from 2002.
One more 2002-related tidbit... Matt Harrison lasted four or less innings for the second straight time in a World Series during Game 7. That was the first time since Livan Hernandez repeated the same feat for San Francisco in 2002. Here's a better trivia answer for Hernandez. Before Freese won the NLCS and World Series MVP, the last person to win a LCS and World Series MVP was Livan Hernandez, who did it for the 1997 Marlins. The last position player? None other than Darrell Porter, who did it for the Cards in 1982.
Here are some other assorted facts about the postseason...
- St. Louis won its 11th World Series and twice in the 21st century. It's their third NL pennant of the 21st century, and also Tony La Russa's third title (one other with the Athletics). He is just one of nine managers to accomplish the feat.
- The home team has now won nine straight Game 7s and St. Louis has participated in four of them (1982, '85, '87 are the other years). They have eight Game 7 wins, tops among any team.
- The Cardinals grounded into 15 double plays in the postseason. That's the fourth-most ever in a postseason, tied with the aforementioned '97 Marlins. Texas also tied a record for most walks allowed in a World Series with 40, matching those same Marlins.
- The Rangers blew three saves during Game 6. That's tied for the most they've ever had in one game since moving to Texas.
- There were 38 postseason games played, tying the all-time high set in 2003. There is only a possible 43 games that can be played. A record 13 were decided by one run.
- Chris Carpenter threw a total of 273 1/3 innings over the whole year, regular season and postseason combined. He is the second pitcher in the last 20 years to make three starts in a Fall Classic, matching Curt Schilling's Diamondbacks in 2001.
- Texas was the first team to score in the top of the first inning in a Game 7 since the Athletics in 1972.
- The Cardinals won the last game of 2011. They are slated to play the first game of 2012 stateside, as there is a series in Japan between the A's and Mariners. The team will to face the Miami (nee Florida) Marlins in their new park on April 4.