LOOK: Pirates, Twins playing through snow flurries

Someone forgot to tell Pittsburgh it’s baseball season.The Pirates and Twins faced off in the Steel City Wednesday https://www.indiansedge.com/cleveland-indians/manny-ramirez-jersey , only this game hardly resembled a day for baseball. The weather was much more reminiscent of the frozen tundra at Heinz Field.Sure, sure, look at all that snow. The only thing I can think of, though: How many players are covered in petroleum jelly? pic.twitter.com/JdhAmhpwx3 Michael Clair (@michaelsclair) April 4, 2018Early in the game, Pirates starter Ivan Nova had to pitch through a significant downpour of Andrew Miller Jersey snow. It would eventually slow down somewhat, but the game has featured a pretty significant amount of flurries, especially forbaseball season.This has been par Matt Belisle Jersey for the course for the Pirates so far this season. While they are a perfect 4-0 on the year, they have already had two games postponed due to bad weather.

Why are MLB’s top stars so low on ESPN’s list of world’s most famous athletes?

What a striking thing it is that when you look at the ESPN World Fame 100 list, measuring who are the most famous athletes in the world, you do not find a single player of America’s game until No. 32.Clearly, this is a crisis, and given that the list is formulated by looking at salary, endorsement money, social media followers and Google search popularity, it is a clear sign that the league is not doing enough to market its top stars and turn them into global phenomena. The question that must be asked is why the situation is this way?Except, rest a sured, nobody a sociated with the National Football League is fretting about Cam Newton placing on this list right behind tennis star Andy Murray. Just the same, it is not a concern for baseball that its top player on the list is Bryce Harper, at No. 71, with Mike Trout close behind at No. 73. The other baseball players on the list are David Ortiz (78), Robinson Cano (85), Miguel Mark Melancon Jersey Cabrera (88), Masahiro Tanaka (89), Albert Pujols (93) and, somehow, Matt Kemp (100).MORE: The highest paid players in baseballThis is a global list and baseball, like football, is a sport without ma s international reach. The NFL brand of football is only played here, but it dominates the American sports landscape and has for a long time now. Baseball still has a ma sive footprint in America, and while it is a bit more international, the scope of baseball fame outside North America is limited to Latin America and Japan, with a bit of interest elsewhere in Asia and Australia.At the top of ESPN’s list are the brightest lights of the most popular sports in the world. The top 10 is soccer, basketball, soccer, soccer, tennis, basketball, golf, cricket, soccer, tennis.There is truth to the idea that baseball does not market its stars effectively, but this list hardly is evidence of that. What it shows more is an interesting bit of timing for where baseball is right now.MORE: Cam Newton is the most QB on ESPN’s list, but nowhere near the bestActually, it’s an interesting bit of timing for where baseball was last year, because that is where ESPN got its salary data. The two best players in baseball are young, and thanks to baseball’s salary structure, that means they are ma sively underpaid. Harper was the unanimous MVP of the National League last season while making $2. Orlando Cepeda Jersey 5 million. Trout, the 2014 American League MVP who was runner-up to Josh Donaldson last year, made $6.083 million. So, combined, they made about half the salary of the $15 million pulled in by the man between them on ESPN’s list, Rob Gronkowski.Harper’s salary went up to $5 million this year, while Trout’s rose to $16.083 million. Next year, Trout will make $20.083 million, followed by $34.083 million in each of the subsequent three years. When Harper hits free agency after next season, he might make even more, and he just last month signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour that is believed to be the largest ever for a baseball player.The other aspect of timing that does not play into baseball’s favor here is that the sport’s starscape was dominated for so long by Derek Jeter, and MLB is only starting now to figure out how to pump up its great young talent. That has been a struggle, and is reflected in the comparative lack of social media presence, a factor on the list.MORE: MLB Draft regrets: Each team’s biggest mistakeThe other thing about social media, though, is that the audience for it skews young, while baseball is more popular with an older demographic. That makes a difference that cannot be ignored, as can a facet of sports stardom that inherently hurts individual baseball players in many cases.Athletes gain the most fame when they compete for championships. While Harper and Trout might be the best players in baseball, neither appeared in last year’s postseason and they have combined to play 12 postseason games nine by Harper all in the first round. How much more famous was Jeter because he won the World Series with the Yankees in four of his first five seasons, then went to two of the next three Fall Cla sics after that? How much higher was Newton on this list as a result of his appearance in the Super Bowl, the https://www.giantsedge.com/san-francisco-giants/pablo-sandoval-jersey one NFL game with a truly global audience?Baseball does have work to do to expand the reach of its top players and grow the game with a younger demographic. The ESPN list, however, should not set off any alarm bells on Park Avenue.

Weekend ratings predictions: NLCS, NFL Week 6, CFB and more

First, the results of last week’s predictions: NFL “Sunday Night Football”: Giants-Packers. Prediction: 9.5; final rating: 9.3. NFL national window: Mostly Bengals-Cowboys. Prediction: 12.6; final rating: 12.1. https://www.dodgersedge.com/los-angeles-dodgers/kenta-maeda-jersey NFL singleheader: Mostly Falcons-Broncos or Eagles-Lions. Prediction: 9.0; final rating: 9.4. MLB Postseason, Giants-Cubs Games 1 and 2. Predictions: 3.4 and 2.0; final ratings: 3.2 and 2.5. MLB Postseason, Rangers-Blue Jays Game 3. Prediction: 1.6; final ratings: 1.3. CFB regular season: FSU-Miami. Prediction: 2.7; final rating: 3.2. CFB regular season: Tenne see-Texas A&M. Prediction: 3.8; final rating; 3.9. WNBA Finals: Sparks-Lynx Game 1. Prediction: 0.5; final rating: 0.4.This week’s predictions (all times Eastern):MLB NLCS: Dodgers-Cubs Game 1 (8 p.m. Saturday, Fox Sports 1). Outside of Chicago, nowhere is there more excitement over the Cubs postseason run than at Fox Sports headquarters. Already this postseason, the Cubs have delivered two of the three largest audiences in the history of FS1 (including its predece sor Speed Channel), and more records are sure to fall during the NLCS. That does not nece sarily mean NLCS ratings will surge over last year’s Mets-Cubs matchup, which aired on TBS. In fact, given the Dodgers are le s of a draw than the Mets and FS1 is in fewer homes than TBS, a ratings decline is not out of the question. Last year’s Game 1 had a 4.5 rating; the top rating in FS1 history is a 3.8. Prediction: 4.3.NFL national window: Mostly Cowboys-Packers (4:25 p.m. Sunday, FOX). Lost in many discu sions https://www.dodgersedge.com/los-angeles-dodgers/fernando-valenzuela-jersey about NFL ratings this year is the simple fact that there have not been many big games. This week is an exception as two of the most-storied teams in football square off, each with a winning record and a star quarterback Super Bowl champion Aaron Rodgers for the Packers and rookie Dak Prescott for the Cowboys. It is always a risk to read too much into one week of ratings (or even five), but if the NFL cannot get a big bounce out of this matchup, it would be an eye-opener. Last year’s comparable window featured Chargers-Packers and had a 14.5 on CBS. Prediction: 16.0.NFL “Sunday Night Football”: Colts-Texans (8:30 p.m. Sunday, NBC). Colts-Texans has become a regular presence in primetime, even though the matchup has not exactly moved the needle. The teams’ meeting on “Thursday Night Football” last season had a 9.5, down from a 10.0 on TNF the previous year and a 10.4 on Sunday Night Football in 2013. Do not expect Sunday’s matchup to do much better. Prediction: 10.3.CFB regular season: Alabama-Tenne see (3:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS). Alabama against a top ten opponent is usually a good recipe for ratings, and Tenne see has had so much national TV exposure this season following up an appearance on ABC’s Saturday Night Football with four straight games on CBS that they are surely familiar to much of the viewing public. Expect a solid increase over last year’s Alabama-Texas A&M matchup, which had a 3.6. Prediction: 4.7.CFB regular season: Ohio State-Wisconsin (8 p.m. Saturday, ABC). Ohio State against top ten competition is also a good recipe for ratings. Look for the Buckeyes’ matchup with Wisconsin to score a substantial increase over their comparable game last year against Penn State (3.3). Prediction: 4.2.NASCAR Chase for the Cup from Kansas (2:15 p.m. Sunday, NBC). No regularly scheduled NASCAR race has posted an increase in ratings since the Brickyard 400 and there is no reason to believe this week’s Kansas race will reverse the downward trend. Last year’s edition Babe Herman Jersey had a 2.5 rating. Prediction: 2.4.NHL regular season: Bruins-Maple Leafs (7 p.m. Saturday, NBCSN). After #1 overall pick Auston Matthews scored four goals in his NHL debut, NBCSN picked up his home opener Saturday night against the Bruins. With Canadian viewership not counting toward U.S. television ratings and NBCSN’s coverage blacked out in Boston, do not expect much of a rating. Prediction: 0.2.WNBA Finals: Lynx-Sparks Game 4 (8:30 p.m. Sunday, ESPN). Primetime exposure on ESPN does not count for much when the competition is Sunday Night Football. Look for Sunday’s Game 4 between the Lynx and Sparks to be unchanged from last year, when Lynx-Fever had a 0.3. Prediction: 0.3.Paulsen is the founder of Sports Media Watch and a contributor for Sporting News. Follow him on Twitter @Paulsen_SMW .