ESPN shows a splitscreen between Sunday Night Baseball and a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

ESPN had two games to cover on Sunday night. The first was the Sunday Night Baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox. The second was Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Vegas Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers. The transition from one to the other did not go smoothly.

The two events were scheduled to begin roughly three hours apart. So, the hope was that the baseball game in Boston would be over by the time the puck was set to drop in Edmonton. It didn’t work out that way.

The baseball game was a blowout. St. Louis dominated from the outset and routed Boston, 9-1. Despite that, ESPN stayed with the baseball game on its main channel, moving the hockey game to ESPN 2 — something John Buccigross even apologized for on Twitter.

ESPN used a split screen to try to keep everyone updated on the hockey game.

That also went poorly. Because while the baseball game was a laugher, the early moments of the hockey game were thrilling. Vegas’ Reilly Smith scored 24 seconds into the game. Edmonton answered with a goal from Connor McDavid 55 seconds into the game and another from Warren Foegele 2:43 in.

Hockey fans were already frustrated about the game starting at 10 p.m. ET, which is 8 p.m. in Edmonton.

ESPN sticking with a blowout baseball game while relegating what ended up being the thrilling start to a potential elimination game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs did nothing to ease those tensions.

By the same token, baseball fans, particularly those in St. Louis, were not particularly thrilled to have that game on a split screen.

It also sparked a question. Why couldn’t either the baseball game or hockey game just be shown on ESPN2? That would have allowed Sunday Night Baseball to keep its normal time slot, while the hockey game could have started at a more tenable hour without juggling the broadcasts around.

This is one of the busiest times of the year on the sports calendar. That’s going to lead to some occasional awkwardness in scheduling, especially with networks that have broadcasting rights to more than one sport. And if the scheduling conflict was created by something like a thrilling baseball game going deep into extra innings, this would be easier to understand.

ESPN got a little unlucky that a blowout MLB game didn’t end 10 minutes earlier. Even still, this was entirely avoidable.

About Michael Dixon

Michael is a writer and editor for The Comeback Media. Fan of most sports and a total nerd when it comes to sports history. Michael spent most of his life in the Bay Area, but lived in Arizona for 2 years and moved to Indiana in April, 2023.

Other loves include good tacos, pizza and obscure Seinfeld quotes.

Feel free to voice your agreements or disagreements. If you do so respectfully, Michael will gladly respond in kind.

Twitter: @mfdixon1985