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Turning in to the Series, tuning out Theo

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  October 28, 2011 05:01 PM

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Today's media column, on the oddity of the World Series teetering on record-low ratings and yet beating two consecutive prime-time NFL games, can be found here.

After last night's epic Game 6, any talk that this year's World Series would be the lowest-rated ever has gone the way of Ron Washington's common sense: The Cardinals' 10-9 victory in 11 innings earned a 13.8 overnight rating, topping all of the previous five games this year and every game from the 2010 World Series between the Rangers and Giants.

One other media note that I didn't have room to include in today's column: A number of you asked -- actually, asked probably isn't the right word -- why NESN didn't broadcast Theo Epstein's introductory press conference with the Cubs live on Tuesday afternoon, while other local stations, including Comcast SportsNet New England, did.

Here is the explanation I received Thursday from NESN spokesman Gary Roy:

While NESN decided not to cover the Theo Epstein Chicago Cubs press conference live, NESN did show the relevant excerpts of the presser during our special NESN Daily coverage that aired throughout the afternoon and evening. We anticipated that Theo would be addressing Chicago Cubs issues to fans in Chicago rather than speaking about Red Sox issues to fans here in New England.

As you know, Theo did speak to Boston fans directly through a print ad and Boston Globe op-ed piece which we had already covered in-depth on NESN Daily.

We decided it was of more interest to our fans to look forward to the future of the Red Sox.

And here is an explanation from CSNNE executive vice president and general manager Bill Bridgen on why the network did carry the press conference live.

Theo Epstein's press conference announcing his move to the Cubs--and his departing words to the Red Sox organization and Sox fans--was an important story to New England sports fans. We knew fans would want to see it, so we carried it. That's what we do. Having our friends at Comcast SportsNet Chicago on the ground helped us cover this saga from the beginning and the press conference punctuated our week long coverage from the ground in Chicago."

The thought here: Of course NESN should have showed it. Epstein may have been in Chicago, but it was a huge Boston story, and if the network wants to shake the perception that it's more interested in promoting Fenway Sports Group properties and making money than given Boston sports fans what they desire, it needs to deliver in circumstances like Tuesday's, even if the ratings may not justify it.

To NESN's credit, an interview with new general manager Ben Cherington, conducted by Tom Caron and Jerry Remy in the 6 p.m.-7 p.m. hour, was very well done, thorough and informative. The network didn't cover the entire scope of a pivotal day in Boston sports, but it did good work on the most important part -- helping Red Sox fans get a read on the new GM.

About Touching All The Bases

Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.

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