Win or lose, Mo’ne Davis is the one story we’ll remember long after the end of the 2014 Little League World Series.
The 13-year-old pitcher became an icon over the last several weeks as she led her Philadelphia-based Taney Dragons into the LLWS.
After a week that saw countless ESPN segments and a Sports Illustrated cover dedicated to the teenage hurler, Mo’ne Mania foamed to a head Wednesday with her start against the thunderous bats of Nevada.
Baseball fans and casual viewers alike tuned in to watch Davis take on Austin Kryszczuk and the hard-hitting Las Vegas team Wednesday night. Philadelphia lost 8-1, and Davis was pulled in the third inning after giving up three runs against six strikeouts.
It was a tough loss for Davis, but television ratings from Wednesday night reflect the multitudes around the nation who have fallen in love with the young hurler.
Deitsch writes that the game's ratings tipped the scales in national and local markets:
Locally, the game did incredible numbers. The matchup drew a 16.3 rating in Las Vegas and a 14.9 rating in Philadelphia, both records for Little League World Series telecasts in those markets…For comparison: The 3.4 rating ESPN received [nationally] tops CBS’ final-round rating (3.1) for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last Sunday as well as that night’s Yankees-Red Sox broadcast (1.7).
In other words, a Little League pitcher hefted more star power than Derek Jeter this week.
Davis could draw another big audience this weekend if her Taney Dragons manage to win their knockout game against Chicago on Thursday night. The two teams face off on ESPN at 7:30 ET for a chance to play Las Vegas for the U.S. LLWS title on Saturday.
Davis has already brushed off her loss and appears ready to get back to winning.
After an 8-1 spanking, most pitchers probably wouldn’t want to tangle with Las Vegas’ bats again. Davis is not most pitchers. She is different proposition altogether, and all she does is throw strikes.
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