With the dawn of another month upon us, it’s time for one of our favorite pastimes here at Awful Announcing – looking at MLB Network’s schedule of live games and complaining endlessly about it.
Just like last month, I can’t nitpick too much about the schedule. The network will feature five of their Showcase games this month, and the only team to show up more than once is the Cardinals. Also interesting is the inclusion of a Showcase game outside of the eastern or central time zones, as the crew will head to Anaheim for the A’s and Angels at the end of the month.
August 1st: Yankees at Red Sox (Bob Costas, Jim Kaat, Tom Verducci)
August 8th: Cardinals at Orioles (Bob Costas, John Smoltz, Tom Verducci)
August 12th: Dodgers at Braves (Jim Kaat, John Smoltz, Sam Ryan)
August 19th: Reds at Cardinals (Bob Costas, John Smoltz, Tom Verducci)
August 28th: Athletics at Angels (Bob Costas, Jim Kaat, Tom Verducci)
Now, the meat and potatoes of the schedule – the local simulcasts that populate the bulk of MLB Network’s live game content. 28 of the 30 teams will be shown in August, with San Diego and Cleveland as the lone holdouts. An additional five teams (Colorado, Arizona, Cubs, Philadelphia, Houston) will only show up once.
Of the remaining 23 teams, the Tigers show up the most with ten appearances on the network thanks to several games against contenders like the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Pirates, and Mariners. The Reds rank second in appearances with eight games airing live, thanks to games with the Cardinals, Braves, and Pirates. The Blue Jays also show up eight times, with all eight of their games coming against contenders (Orioles, Tigers, Brewers, Rays, Yankees). The Yankees and Brewers will both show up seven times each, while the Braves and Cardinals pop up six times. The A’s, Mariners, and Orioles will be on five times, while the Nationals, Giants, Dodgers, Pirates, Mets, Red Sox, and Angels are on four times. The Royals are the sole team to be aired three times, and the Marlins, Rays, White Sox, Twins, and Rangers will each have two games aired.
I’m actually really impressed with MLB Network’s progression as the season has gone on. Of the seven Yankees games airing, only two come against non-contenders – their matchup with the Red Sox this Friday (which is a Showcase game), and a mid-week, daytime matchup with the Astros on a day with only three 1 PM games airing. The Red Sox fetish has also been managed well, with all four of their games coming against teams in the middle of the pack at worst. The biggest losers are out of market fans of either of the Chicago, Florida, or Texas teams, who have a total of nine games among the six teams getting aired nationally.
If you’re a baseball fan that gets MLB Network on your cable package, but doesn’t subscribe to either MLB.tv or Extra Innings, you’re going to be in a good place this August. Hopefully, ESPN follows suit with their nationally televised games this month – judging by what games have been selected for the next two weeks (Yankees-Red Sox, Tigers-Yankees, Red Sox-Cardinals, Nationals-Braves, Dodgers-Braves), maybe we’re getting closer to having a more diverse slate of games on the national stage.