MLB

MLB Refuses to Show AL Games on Sunday Night Baseball?

| by Baseball In-Depth

I'm sure other people have written about this, but the scheduling for Sunday Night Baseball (which is released before the season starts) for this season has been kind of ridiculous. 

ESPN has aired 16 editions of Sunday Night Baseball so far, and they have three more scheduled before they begin making them on the fly (with 2 weeks notice).  Four of those games were interleague, and that couldn't be helped because the entire league plays interleague games at once.  Here is a breakdown of the rest of the games:

AL
Yankees at Boston (April 4, May 9)
Texas at Minnesota (May 30)
Royals at Angels (July 4)
Boston at Yankees (August 8)

NL
St. Louis at Milwaukee (April 11)
Mets at St. Louis (April 18)
Braves at Mets (April 25)
Mets at Philadelphia (May 2)
Phillies at Milwaukee (May 16)
Milwaukee at St. Louis (June 6)
Cubs at Dodgers (July 11)
Phillies at Cubs (July 18)
Cardinals at Cubs (July 25)
Dodgers at San Francisco (August 1)

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Interleague
Yankees at Mets (May 23)
White Sox at Cubs (June 13)
Dodgers at Boston (June 20)
Yankees at Dodgers (June 27)

Appearances by division
AL East (Yankees, Boston) 7
AL Central (Royals, Twins, White Sox) 3
AL West (Texas, Angels) 2
NL East (Braves, Phillies, Mets) 8
NL Central (Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers) 11
NL West (Dodgers, Giants) 5

Teams with 0 appearances: Orioles, Blue Jays, Rays, Tigers, Indians, A's, Mariners, Nationals, Marlins, Reds, Astros, Pirates, Padres, Rockies, D-Backs

Yankees v. Boston 3
Non-Yankees v. Boston AL-only Games: 2
NL-only Games: 10

I don't blame them for wanting to show the Yankees playing Boston as many times as possible because I'm sure it gets big ratings. I also don't blame them for not wanting to show games with most of the teams that weren't included. The only teams on the list that are contenders are the Tigers, Reds, Rays, Padres and Rockies, and no one was predicting that the Reds and Padres would be any good. 

That doesn't explain, though, why there are only 2 (!) AL-only SNB games out of 19 that don't have both the Yankees and Boston (who also got 3 of the 4 interleague slots too). The Cubs have been on SNB the last two weeks, and they'll be on again this Sunday. 

Yes, they have a national following, but they also won only 83 games last year, while the Rays won 84, Tigers won 86 and the Rangers won 87 (and they're all doing a lot better than the Cubs now). 

It's a business, and they can show what they want, but I hope this trend doesn't continue, because there is a lot of good baseball they could be showing outside of a few teams in the NL East and NL Central.