The MLB ad machine is geared up

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That’s the cry already in Chicagoland, from those who’ve seen advertising placements at the hallowed Wrigley Field put up in anticipation of today’s Cubs’ playoff opener against the Dodgers.
This from Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune (the company that presently owns the Cubs):
“Though advertising has been kept off the walls at Wrigley Field since its inception, with the exception of the Under Armour ads on the doors in the power alleys and the “CBOE” sign on the prime box seats behind third base, it has reared its ugly head for the postseason.
“A large ad on the padding of the wall down the right field line reads “January 1, 2009,” with the logo for MLB, which is starting up the channel on that date. A similar ad on the padding of the left field wall is for MLB Postseason, and includes the logos of the networks carrying the games, TBS and Fox.
“Apparently, the landmarking of Wrigley Field did not preclude MLB from cluttering up the ballpark in October for lots of cash.”


TODAY:

11:30 a.m.: Pregame with Ernie Johnson, Cal Ripken Jr., and Curtis Granderson.
Noon: Milwaukee at Philadelphia Game 1, with Brian Anderson, Joe Simpson and John Smoltz (David Aldridge reporting).
3:30 p.m.: Dodgers at Chicago Cubs Game 1 with Dick Stockton, Ron Darling and Tony Gwynn (Tom Verducci reporting). Note: FSN Prime has a Dodger post-game show at 6:30 p.m. with Patrick O’Neal and Steve Lyons in Chicago and Bill Macdonald and Kevin Kennedy in L.A.

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We’re more concerned about how TBS will hold up as the exclusive broadcaster. The network, in general, and Chip Caray, in particular, was bashed around a bit by media critics for their performances. Caray is on the Angels-Red Sox series that starts tonight in Anaheim. The Dodgers-Cubs get Dick Stockton, someone more associated with Red Sox broadcasting history.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did a story on TBS (linked here) and says the network’s $70 million rights deal — that’s per season — over seven years is really more about raising viewership awareness of the Turner network than anything else.
We could have figured that.
USA Today (linked here) also has a piece on TBS today. As much as some have questioned why TBS has decided that the Angels-Red Sox series is the “top draw” when compared to the Dodgers-Cubs, it makes sense. TBS is doing the ALCS next round, and wants to keep its top broadcasting team at least linked to one of the two teams. Why go in cold? Fox does the NLCS, which TBS won’t give a darn about starting at the end of next week.

Again, here’s the MLB first-round TV schedule, all on TBS:

7 p.m.: Boston at Angels Game 1 with Chip Caray and Buck Martinez (Craig Sager reporting). Note: FSN West will have an Angels post-game show at 10 p.m. with Bill Macdonald, Rex Hudler and Mark Gubicza.

THURSDAY:

11 a.m.: Pregame studio: Johnson, Ripken, Granderson, Eckersley.
11:30 a.m.: Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Game 1 with Don Orsillo and Harold Reynolds (Fein reporting)
3 p.m.: Milwaukee Brewers at Philadelphia Phillies Game 2
6:30 p.m.: Dodgers at Chicago Cubs Game 2 with Stockton, Darling and Gwynn (Verducci reporting). FSN Prime post-game show at 9:30 p.m.

FRIDAY:

2:30 p.m.: Pregame show
3 p.m.: Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Game 2 with Orsillo and Reynolds (Fein reporting)
6:30 p.m.: Boston Red Sox at Angels Game 2 with Caray and Martinez (Sager reporting) FSN West post-game show at 9:30 p.m.

SATURDAY:

3 p.m.: Pregame show
3:30 p.m.: Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers Game 3 with Anderson, Simpson and Smoltz (Aldridge reporting).
7 p.m. Chicago Cubs at Dodgers Game 3 with Stockton, Darling and Gwynn (Verducci reporting). FSN Prime post-game show at 10 p.m.

SUNDAY:

TBD: Angels at Boston Red Sox Game 3
TBD: Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago White Sox Game 3
TBD: Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers Game 4*
TBD: Chicago Cubs at Dodgers Game 4*

*-if necessary

ON RADIO:
Dodgers-Cubs series: Vin Scully does the first three and last three innings on KABC-AM (790), with Charley Steiner and Rick Monday filling in the middle three. ESPN Radio is using Jon Miller and Rick Sutcliffe (KSPN-AM 710)

Angels-Red Sox series: Rory Markas and Terry Smith do all the games for KLAA-AM (830). ESPN Radio is using Dan Shulman and Dave Campbell (KSPN-AM 710)

On the other series, ESPN Radio has Michael Kay and analyst Steve Phillips on the Milwaukee-Philadelphia series; Gary Thorne and analyst Chris Singleton do the AL Central winner-Tampa Bay series (all on KSPN-AM 710)

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