Ratings soar with Crystal at bat


NEW YORK -- He may have struck out at bat, but actor-comedian Billy Crystal's time in a Yankees uniform boosted the team's regional sports network.

The YES Network scored its highest-rated and most-watched preseason telecast for Thursday's New York Yankees-Pittsburgh Pirates game. It averaged a 1.1 household rating and 89,000 viewers for the game, Nielsen Media Research said Friday.

Crystal's sole at bat as the Yankees' designated hitter was against Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm. The count ran to 3-1 before Crystal whiffed. The game peaked at a 1.7 rating shortly before 3 p.m. ET.

The previously highest-rated game was a Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies game on March 2, 2006, that averaged a 0.86 rating and 70,000 viewers.