October 30th: MLB Season In Review

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, who brought home their fourth championship this century and won a total of 119 games during a season in which they dominated from start to finish! Even though the World Series consisted of these dominant Red Sox representing the east coast and the Dodgers representing a large market from the opposite coast, the World Series was one of the least watched since 2015. Game 5, which saw the Red Sox clinch the title, could not topple Sunday Night Football in the ratings. Fox did revamp the broadcast experience, though, with YouTube debuting its augmented reality advertisements throughout each game.

A quick recap of the MLB regular season:

  • The rise of three-true-outcomes continued in 2018, with the Yankees breaking the 1997 Seattle Mariners’ record for the most home runs in a single season by an MLB team. The record home run, number 265, was hit by Gleyber Torres against their bitter rival no less, the Boston Red Sox. All in all, the Yankees either walked, struck out, or hit a home run in 37.2% of their plate appearances.
  • For all the talk about a juiced ball, the home run per plate appearance rate actually dropped from 3.69% in 2017 to 3.38% in 2018. However, this was the first time in MLB history that there were more strikeouts (41,027) than hits (41,019).
  • On the other hand, local ratings for MLB teams increased by ~2% in 2018, which is even more impressive given the broader television market. Ratings are largely dependent upon win-loss record; the White Sox and Marlins brought up the rear, ranking worst and third-worst, respectively. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the A’s represented the second-worst ratings even in their playoff season.