It’s still a frigid mess in the northeast, but that hasn’t stopped ESPN from unveiling the first five games that they’ll be airing on Sunday Night Baseball this season. And in case you were hoping for a dose of some different teams…well, I’ve got some bad news for you.
The season kicks off on April 5th at Wrigley Field, which was previously announced, as the new-look Cubs host the Cardinals. On April 12th, ESPN will air the Red Sox and Yankees, because they’re playing a weekend series and ESPN feels the need to televise every Red Sox-Yankees game that takes place on a Sunday. On April 19th, the Cardinals will return to ESPN, hosting the Reds. April 26th features the Yankees *again*, hosting the New York Mets. And finally on May 3rd, the Yankees and Red Sox are playing again, so naturally, ESPN is airing Yankees-Red Sox once more.
To summarize, the first five games on Sunday Night Baseball will feature the Yankees three times, the Red Sox twice, and the Cardinals twice. It’s great to see ESPN mixing things up a little bit and getting these small market teams some airtime, isn’t it?
I know these teams are like magnets to ESPN, but couldn’t they have mixed things up just a little bit? There are plenty of great matchups early in the season that might be better choices.
On April 12th, the AL champion Royals take on the Angels and Mike Trout, while the World Champion Giants battle the completely revamped Padres.
On April 19th, I don’t have too much of a problem with Reds-Cardinals, but why not feature a matchup between the overhauled White Sox and the AL Central champion Tigers?
On April 26th, Dodgers-Padres seems a lot more appealing to me than Yankees-Mets.
And on May 3rd, Angels-Giants and Royals-Tigers are tantalizing matchups.
But nah, ESPN is rolling out Yankees-Red Sox twice in the season’s first month, and also giving us Yankees-Mets for some reason.
The real reason ESPN is going to the well with Red Sox-Yankees twice early on? After that series in May, they don’t play again until right before the All-Star Break in July. Because that’s also a weekend series, you know ESPN will pick up the Sunday night game as well. And in the second half of the year, ESPN won’t get to air any Yankees-Red Sox games on Sunday night – their three matchups all take place during the week. I get it. I don’t like it at all, but I get why it’s happening.
The Sunday Night Baseball crew from last year will return – the fantastic Dan Shulman takes care of the play by play, with John Kruk and a hopefully healthy Curt Schilling providing analysis and Buster Olney taking care of reporting.
ESPN is also airing a quadruple header of games on Opening Day (the “real” Opening Day, not the one-game Opening Night). Predictably, the Yankees and Mets are featured. At 1 PM, the Yankees host the Blue Jays. At 4, the Mets travel to DC to take on the reigning NL East champion Washington Nationals. In primetime at 7 PM, the Indians battle the Astros. And finally, at 10 PM on ESPN2, the World Champion Giants will duel with the Diamondbacks in the desert.