Fox snags Dodgers-Yankees for ‘prime time’ affair

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That’s prime time, of course, if you’re reclining on a sweaty Barcalounger on the wrong side of country.

Fox, in releasing its 2010 MLB Saturday afternoon baseball schedule, decided to go prime-time with games May 22 and June 26.

On the first date, the Detroit Tigers will face the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. On the second, the Yankees visit Dodger Stadium. Both will have a 4 p.m. first pitch. Which shouldn’t be inconvenient for anyone except Andre Either trying to follow the flight of a fly ball to right field.

Why not save the “under-the-lights” concept for games that will actually be under the lights — on the East Coast, with their 7 p.m. starts?

“We’ve been thinking about taking a few of our afternoon dates to prime time dates for quite some time now, and this season’s schedule is so strong that the time seemed right,” said Fox Sports President Ed Goren. “There is still no platform that has the reach of prime time broadcast television.”

Fox has done prime-time games in the past — usually a Yankees-Red Sox game, where it really was prime-time at the location — but never scheduled two in the same season.

The other interesting read-between-the-lines aspect to the Fox schedule: MLB rules say a team can’t appear more than nine Saturdays a season on the network. The Dodgers and Philadelphia are scheduled a maximum, along with Seattle, Atlanta and Minnesota. The Yankees, Boston, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets and St. Louis have eight appearances. The Angels, Texas and San Francisco have seven. Tampa Bay and the Chicago White Sox have five.

Fox’s 26-week schedule of the usual 1 p.m. games begins April 10 — except that one starts at noon. The L.A. audience will likely get New York Yankees at Tampa Bay instead of St. Louis-Milwaukee or Seattle-Texas. The last two Saturdays (Sept 25 and Oct. 2) are network’s decision based on the pennant races.

In between, the dates most interesting to L.A. fans, and Vin Scully (who gets the day off):

Saturday, April 17: San Francisco at Dodgers
Saturday, April 24: New York Yankees at Angels
Saturday, May 29: Seattle at Angels
Saturday, June 5: Angels at Seattle
Saturday, June 19: Dodgers at Boston
Saturday, July 10: Chicago Cubs at Dodgers
Saturday, July 17: Dodgers at St. Louis
Saturday, July 24: N.Y. Mets at Dodgers
Saturday, July 31,: Dodgers at San Francisco
Saturday, August 21: Angels at Minnesota
Saturday, September 4: Angels at Oakland
Saturday, September 11: Seattle at Angels
Saturday, September 18: Colorado at Dodgers

Last week, ESPN announced the first half of its Sunday Night Baseball schedule, featuring play-by-play man Jon Miller, who was just voted into the Hall of Fame, with Joe Morgan. It starts April 4 with — surprise — New York Yankees at Boston (on ESPN2, 5 p.m.)

The other dates of interest locked in (with 5 p.m. starts):
Sunday, July 4: Kansas City at Angels
Sunday, July 11: Chicago Cubs at Dodgers
They have designated June 6-27 as games to be determined, which means it could take the June 20 Dodgers’ game at Boston as well as the June 26 Dodgers’ home game against the Yankees.

With 5 p.m. local starts, that also creates a sun/shade problem. Ask Kaz Ishii about that…

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