Reynolds Rap

Revisiting Fall Classic And Fox's Nielsen History

10/28/2009 5:53 PM

The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies have only met once in the World Series before — a four-game sweep by the Bronx Bombers over the Whiz Kids in 1950.

But there are plenty of historical ties linking the teams.

The Phils are looking to become the first MLB team to repeat since the 1998-2000 New Yankees. Charlie Manuel, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard & Co. are also looking to become the first senior-circuit squad since the Big Red Machine to defend their World Series crown, when they swept the Yanks in the rebuilt House That Ruth Built in 1976. Before that, the New York Giants were the only other National League team to repeat, when they beat their then Polo Grounds co-tenants in 1921 and 1922. The Yankees, though, in the first year of The House That Ruth Built, denied the Giants a three-peat in the 1923 Fall Classic.

Now, the Yanks will look to stop the Phils’ back-to-back quest in the rookie season of The House The Boss Built.

Many, including yours truly, thought a 21st century rekindling of the Yankees-Dodgers historic rivalry and DMAs No. 1 and 2 would be the best Nielsen match-up for Fox. But LA fans, perhaps reflective of their penchant for arriving late and leaving early at Chavez Ravine, didn’t exactly embrace the NLCS on TBS. Neither did followers of their neighbors in Orange County, as Angels fans, at least those who reside in Nielsen households, didn’t leave work early to check out the ALCS either.

But Phils and their now phanatical fans should make for a strong ticket against the Yankees. Indeed, while more Big Apple sports fans did the right thing and watched the Yanks send Mike Scioscia and his Halos back cross country with their Game 6 ALCS triumph — a 26.4 rating/40 share in the DMA –  instead of tuning in the New York Giants and the Arizona Cardinals on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in head-to-head telecasts — Philadelphians also tuned in Fox in big numbers. Sizing up the Phils’ WS opponent, viewers in the City of Brotherly Love ranked second in the nation for Fox’s Oct. 26 ALCS coverage with a 20.6 rating/30.1 share.

With power-laden lineups led by Ryan and A-Rod and a pair of former Cy Young Award winners in CC Sabbathia and Cliff Lee opening the Series and perhaps squaring up again on short rest (okay, Cleveland you’re exempt from having to watch your two former aces), Fox should score quite well with this I-95 match, provided the weather doesn’t become too much of a negative.

It may not approach the 15.8 rating in 2004 when the Nation watched the Bosox vanquish the 86-year-old Curse of the Bambino versus the St. Louis Cardinals. But if Jimmy Rollins is wrong about his club winning in five, six games over Yanks-Phils drama should make for the most-watched Fall Classic since New York’s last appearance in the Fall Classic — its loss to the Florida Marlins in 2003, averaged a 13.9 rating over six contests.