ESPN Picks Braves-Phillies To Open '19 "Sunday Night Baseball" Package
The Braves' "allure is returning following a dramatic" season, and ESPN has selected Braves-Phillies on March 31 for its first "Sunday Night Baseball" matchup of '19, according to Gabriel Burns of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. ESPN will also air the Braves' home opener on April 1 against the Cubs, "as well as their meeting on April 3." The national exposure is "already a jump from a season ago, when the Braves weren’t featured" on "SNB" (AJC.com, 11/19). In Philadelphia, Scott Lauber noted after a "five-year absence from the national stage, the Phillies were twice featured" on "SNB" in '18. Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton has "vowed to spend big money on the roster this winter after the team finished in third place" in the NL East (PHILLY.com, 11/19). Also in Philadelphia, Corey Seidman noted the March 31 matchup will mark the Phillies’ "first time leading off Sunday Night Baseball" since '09 (NBCSPORTSPHILADELPHIA.com, 11/19).
WHERE IS THE LOVE? In Tampa, Marc Topkin noted the Rays won 90 games last season, but "no Rays games" made it to ESPN's national schedule, "even as they open with two playoff teams, hosting the Astros and Rockies." In total, 18 of MLB's 30 teams "are featured" on ESPN national telecasts (TAMPABAY.com, 11/19).