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Wakeup Call: Pirates’ roaring ratings

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Home Run Derby is … um, hang on … uh … Zzzzzzzzzzzzz …

>> The Pirates’ last game before the break, the 13-2 rout of the Giants on Sunday, was the highest-rated broadcast for the team in the history of Root Sports, with more than 300,000 households tuning in.

For perspective, the Penguins’ average households over the past regular season was 101,000. And the Penguins’ local ratings were better than that of any NHL or NBA team.

This one Pirates game tripled that.

Now, before anyone gets carried away, I’m comparing one game to an average. I haven’t seen the Pirates’ average for the season. I also should point out, for anyone idly curious, that neither of these figures dips a toe into the ocean that is the Steelers’ astounding ratings.

But it’s still a sign that baseball is doing quite well here.

>> You’d think it might be a sign to our monopolostic national sports outlet at some point, too. The Pirates’ local ratings of late have been — in terms of percentage viewing — No. 1 in the majors. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone given how the other teams do.

Instead, Andrew McCutchen’s first round was relegated to side-screen viewing while Texas’ Josh Hamilton was being interviewed. This happened with a select few others. I saw that. And ESPN has done other things related to the Pirates of late. I’ve heard about those second-hand. But this moment was prime time. This was a moment when anyone outside Bristol city limits had to have realized Pittsburghers would be locked in.

And nothing.

>> This is to say nothing of the abysmal broadcast as a whole, one of the most self-absorbed productions you’ll ever see. Yes, even beyond Chris Berman standing at home plate for the intro, egging on different parts of the crowd like he was the lead singer for Foghat while the flashing blue signs behind him blared: “WELCOME CHRIS BERMAN!”

Somebody, somewhere, please start a rival network. It’s still a free-enterprise economic system. It’s not against the law, and Big Brother won’t come after you.

National sports! You’d think someone else would try!

>> The McCutchen travel non-story is one of those that will be repeated probably for years without a shred of truth to it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, these were my efforts to share facts yesterday.

>> The Penguins open rookie development camp today at Consol, details of which are found here. I’ll be up there, as well. Few things rarer in sports than a chance to see hockey prospects in person, as they get scattered all over the globe during the season. The public can only get in Saturday for the camp-ending scrimmage. It’s free.

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