This news isn’t likely to cheer Clayton Kershaw up, but ESPN said today that Thursday’s 2018 MLB opener for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants drew the sports net’s best opening-day numbers in six years.
The 1-0 victory by the hated Giants at Dodger Stadium was seen by 1.67 million viewers, also making it the most-watched regular-season weekday Major League Baseball game since opening day 2012, per Nielsen. The game marked the debut of the Worldwide Leader’s new Sunday Night Baseball team of Matt Vasgersian, Alex Rodriguez, and Jessica Mendoza.
For the Dodgers, it was the first game that counted since the team’s disappointing Game 7 of last year’s World Series — a plodding 5-1 loss that capped an otherwise ferocious Fall Classic that saw the Houston Astros captures the first world championship in franchise history.
Thursday’s game also ushered in the era of new MLB rules implemented to speed up the games, including shorter commercial breaks and restrictions on visits to the pitcher’s mound. The average nine-inning baseball game took 3 hours and 8 minutes to play last season, up from 2 hours and 46 minutes in 2005; the Dodgers-Giants contest clocked in at 2:55.
With all the related traffic around Chavez Ravine and the surrounding area, it likely took some fans that long to get the ballpark.