Once again, the Houston Astros are in the cellar — of the local TV ratings.
Monday's game against the Los Angeles Angels earned the saddest rating of them all, 0.0, according to Nielsen (via the Houston Chronicle), which measures TV viewership. Angels star Mike Trout couldn't even help this one get a 0.1? Sheesh.
This has actually happened before. An Astros game last September got a 0.0 rating. It was up against a Houston Texans game and actually lost to reruns of "21 Jump Street" and "The Cosby Show." Ouch. Monday's Astros game had competition from NASCAR's Duck Commander 500, which was delayed a day by rain. The race earned a 1.7 rating.
Here's the requisite warning with these things: Ratings are nothing more that projections of small sample sizes, and we know how much baseball hates those. A small group of TV viewers report what they watch to Nielsen, and that's projected for the entire local area. So this doesn't mean that literally no one was watching the game, just no one whose viewing habits are relayed to Nielsen.
There's another problem, too. CSN Houston (which airs Astros games and is partially owned by the team) can only be seen in about 500,000 households in the Houston area, since it's not available on DirecTV, Dish and AT&T U-Verse. That's a sliver of the 5.6 million people in the Houston metro area.
Despite the above caveats, 0.0 is still troubling news for the Astros, the worst team in baseball the past three seasons. The last 0.0 came in September, when the team's season was long over, and it was dwindling in a 15-game losing streak.
We're only a week into the 2014 MLB season. It's the time of the year that every team still has a chance, even the Astros — a team that has lost 106, 107 and 111 games in the last three season. The team's in a middle of a rebuild and because of that, there aren't too many players with big names on the field.
But, heck, it's April. Baseball is still new. Even the perrenial losers haven't sunk too far down in the standings yet. The Astros won their first two games of the season (against the New York Yankees!) so that was kind of exciting. Momentarily, at least. Houston is 3-5 now, tied for last in the AL West, but with a couple of wins they could be first place by the end of the week. Such is April baseball.
So if the Astros can't get any love from local TV watchers in April, what's going to happen in September?
BLS H/N: Eye On Baseball
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