“It’s been a huge help,’’ MLB Network president Tony Petitti said. “We couldn’t have scripted it any better.’’
The only thing the script lacks is believability.
Showing the culminations of two perfect games and a would-be third that managed to eclipse them, then expanded coverage of the draft Monday, followed one night later by Stephen Strasburg’s stunning debut?
Still early in its second season, the network has ridden a wave of big events to more recognition from baseball fans, who are learning to turn to it when something interesting is happening.
"It’s been great,’’ Petitti said. “It’s something we talked about before we launched; when something important in baseball was breaking, make sure we’re covering it.’’
Being known for news is nice, but the network hopes to turn casual viewers to regulars with its mix of live studio coverage and a schedule of live games vastly more extensive than in 2009.
The MLB Network only has been rated by Nielsen since April, and its numbers have been modest. But the Strasburg game drew its biggest audience yet, enough so it was an easy decision to add his third start, June 18 against the White Sox, to the schedule.
(TBS added Strasburg’s second start, against the Indians, Sunday afternoon.)
The last time there were two perfect games in the same season was 1880, before the network’s launch. Is it possible commissioner Bud Selig somehow has been encouraging perfectos to help the league-owned channel?
Said Petitti: “If he has that power, we encourage him to use it more often.’’