For the debut of its Friday Major League Baseball package, Apple TV+ is featuring some exclusive games that will surely draw fans to sign up for the service. But making those games available only on Apple’s streaming service could also alienate some longtime baseball fans.
As BSM covered earlier this week, Max Scherzer’s debut with the New York Mets — in which he’ll face his former team, the Washington Nationals — will be exclusive to Apple TV+. That might not be popular with Mets fans looking to see their offseason prize take the mound, nor with Nats supporters eager to see one of their favorite former players who helped the team to a 2019 World Series championship.
On Tuesday, Apple announced its schedule for the first 12 weeks of its 2022 MLB package and what immediately stands out is that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ April 15 game — on Jackie Robinson Day, the 75th anniversary of his first game in the major leagues — will also only be available on Apple TV+. The telecast won’t be available for Dodgers fans on SportsNet LA, which is sure to cause some griping.
As media and fans were told by Apple, “These scheduled games are available to anyone with internet access, for free, only on Apple TV+.”
For a limited time, no subscription fee will be required to view the Friday Night Baseball doubleheader on Apple TV+, though it hasn’t been announced how long that free availability will last. Perhaps for the first 12 weeks of the season? That will give fans plenty of time to find and sign up for Apple TV+ and decide whether or not they want to subscribe.
The April 8 debut of Friday Night Baseball will also feature a matchup between the American League champion Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels, featuring AL MVP Shohei Ohtani, for the second half of its doubleheader at 9:30 p.m. ET. On April 15, the Tampa Bay Rays at the Chicago White Sox will precede the Cincinnati Reds facing the Dodgers on Jackie Robinson Day.
Other notable games featured during the first 12 weeks of Apple TV+’s coverage include:
- May 6: White Sox at Red Sox, 7 p.m. ET
- May 6: Rays at Mariners, 9:30 p.m. ET
- May 13: Padres at Braves, 7 p.m. ET
- June 10: Rays at Twins, 8 p.m. ET
- June 17: White Sox at Astros, 8 p.m. ET
- June 24: Cubs at Cardinals, 8 p.m. ET
Is MLB and Apple TV+ being optimistic by scheduling the second half of these doubleheaders for 9:30 p.m. ET? Will the first games be finished by then? Did commissioner Rob Manfred, in his quest to speed up the pace of play, tell Apple that games will last two-and-a-half hours?
Of course, fans uninterested in the first game of the Friday doubleheader likely won’t care. And those engaged in the first game won’t necessarily be switching over to the second game. Presumably, that’s one advantage to having these games on a streaming service, rather than the same TV network.
No word yet from Apple on who the broadcast teams will be for these Friday Night Baseball games.
Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set
“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”
Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.
The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.
Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.
“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”
Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.
Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.
Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.
Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock
“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”
Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.
According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.
Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.
The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.
The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.
Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast
“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’
First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.
No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.
Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.
McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.
“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.”
In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.
There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.