I’ve been on a personal crusade to urge national networks that air MLB games to diversify their schedules instead of shoving the same large market teams down our throats. In an era where national ratings are spiraling downward, why not at least try something different? In April, more than half of all Yankees and Red Sox games were on national TV somewhere, be it ESPN, Fox Sports 1, or MLB Network.

On Tuesday, MLB Network released their schedule of games for June. And when browsing it, I was stunned. I wasn’t stunned because they doubled down on large markets. I was stunned because teams in historically less-aired markets were given more airtime than I had ever seen before.

Yes, the Yankees still have six games on in June, and the Red Sox have seven. But the Oakland Athletics, who are running through baseball like a hot knife through butter, are featured six times. The Detroit Tigers, who have spent the first two months destroying the AL Central, have six games on the air. The surprising Baltimore Orioles have eight games on MLB Network. Hell, even the Toronto Blue Jays, who don’t even play half their games in America, are featured five times. The Tampa Bay Rays will be shown five times, and somehow, none of those games are against the Yankees or Red Sox!

Over in the National League, traditional markets are still dominating, but at least those teams are playing well. The Nationals have five games on MLB Network, the Braves have six, the Dodgers have six, the Giants have four, the Reds have seven, the Cardinals have eight. The Cubs, Phillies, and Mets, all of whom play in large markets but are varying degrees of terrible this season, combine for only six MLB Network games in June.

This is definitely a good thing, even if there are still some issues. The surprising Marlins and Brewers are only featured twice, while the Rockies and Rangers only get one nod. The Angels are somehow featured just twice, despite the team contending in the AL West. All of the good vibes from last year’s Pirates playoff run is over with the team’s struggles in 2014, and they’ll only be on one time.

Is the situation perfect? Not by a long shot. But hey, the national outlets aren’t just an arm for the large market, historically-renowned franchises anymore – and that’s a good start.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.