2014 World Series: After Poor Start, Game 7 Comes in For the Save

Last Wednesday, the San Francisco Giants won their third World Series in the past five years, defeating the Kansas City Royals in seven games. Despite historically low ratings for the Series, Game 7 came through in the clutch and obliterated every other game in viewership and volume of emotional reactions on Twitter.

We took to Canvs to investigate which moments and players drew the most emotional conversation in each game. We not only quantified the impact of Game 7, but we also explored the differences in emotional conversation about the seven “God Bless America” performances over the course of the Series.

Game 7 Steals the Spotlight

Everybody loves a World Series Game 7. In this year’s Series, there were more reactions on Twitter during the seventh game than there were during the previous six games combined. In fact, the largest spike in reactions occurred in the 10-minute span immediately after the Giants won Game 7. This spike drew more reactions than there were during any other complete game.

In addition to dwarfing the first six games in volume of emotional chatter, Game 7 anticipation drove two of the next three biggest spikes in reactions.

The second-biggest spike occurred from 9:10pm-9:15pm during Game 6, when the Royals took a 7-0 lead in the second inning, making a seventh game likely. This five-minute span drove 8,427 reactions, 16% of which expressed “excitement” for a potential Game 7.

The fourth-biggest spike of the World Series happened from 11:30pm-11:35pm on the same night, just after the Royals won Game 6 and officially forced Game 7.

"God Bless America" Power Rankings

Despite Game 7’s strong viewership and Twitter performance, it fell short in the “God Bless America” power rankings. During the 7th inning of every game, a guest is invited to sing “God Bless America.” In this year’s World Series, all seven “God Bless America” singers were military service members.

We looked at the “love” and “hate” reactions associated with each of the God Bless America performances, and “love” won out by a large margin for every game except one: Game 7.

Jennifer Sherman’s performance during Game 7 drew the most total reactions of any performance, 33% of which expressed “hate.” Fans were disappointed in Sherman’s rendition, which deviated from some of the traditional notes of the song.

The Game 6 “God Bless America” performance by Angie Johnson drew the highest percentage of “love” and the lowest percentage of “hate” reactions of any game. Johnson, who was a contestant on the second season of NBC’s The Voice, earned rave reviews for her rendition.

Hunter Pence Drives Most Reactions; Taveras, Ventura and Bumgarner Dominate Final Three Games

We were also curious about which players drove the most emotional conversation during each game and why. Giants outfielder Hunter Pence was the most frequently mentioned player overall, garnering over 31,000 reactions over the course of the Series. The announcement of the death of Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras during Game 5 drove the greatest percentage of a single emotion attributed to a player (“sad”). Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who pitched five shutout innings to save Game 7 for the Giants, received the highest percentage of “love” reactions of any player during a game.

Looking Ahead to 2015

World Series viewership is trending downward, especially in a year featuring two small-market teams and direct competition from the NFL and NBA. Nevertheless, fans could not resist the drama of a Game 7 to officially end the baseball season. We know that the final sudden death game cannot be guaranteed from year to year, but can baseball bounce back in 2015? We will be keeping a close eye when the season starts again next April.



Additional reporting by Laura Hines

Tweet Source: Nielsen. Relevant Tweets captured from three hours before, during, and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time