As we all know, Fox dropped the ball on Saturday night. With the Yankees-Red Sox game rapidly nearing a conclusion, Fox bounced baseball to FX, its cable entertainment network, so that a NASCAR race could start.
The transition was far from seamless, and fans were none too thrilled with the News Corp. network. From the AP:
The teams didn’t begin playing again until 8:30 after a delay of more than two hours. Announcer Joe Buck repeated several times that the game was being simulcast on cable channel FX and Fox would have to switch to the race at 8:53.
It appeared the network might be able to show both events in their entirety, but with two outs and two strikes in the top of the ninth, the Yankees’ Robinson Cano fouled off several pitches. At 8:55, Fox switched to the race in the middle of Cano’s at-bat.
The final two pitches of the 4-3 Red Sox win were shown only on FX, which is available in about three-quarters of the nation’s homes with televisions.
Bell said Fox hoped to show all of Cano’s at-bat instead of switching to the race earlier so the change would occur between hitters. “It wasn’t the smoothest transition, but our intentions were to try to finish on the network,” Bell said.
For Fox, this move was a simple business decision. NASCAR races receives ratings well above those for mid-afternoon baseball games. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that the network cut away from a one-run game with one out remaining. Fox apologized, but it rings a little false.