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The USA Thursday Game of the Week is a former television program that broadcast Major League Baseball games on the USA Network.

Contents

Background

In 1980, 22 teams (all but the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals) took part in a one-year cable deal with UA-Columbia (then owners of the USA Network). The deal involved the airing of a Thursday night Game of the Week in markets at least 50 miles (80 km) from a major league park[1]. The deal earned Major League Baseball less than $500,000, but led to a new two-year contract for 40-45 games per season.[2] The program ran through the 1983 season.

Coverage history

The series began April 26, 1979 with a doubleheader: Cleveland at Kansas City[3] (Jim Woods/Bud Harrelson) followed by Baltimore at California[4] (Monte Moore/Maury Wills). The second game of the night was typically, based out of the West Coast. The games were usually blacked out in the competing teams' cities. Once in a while, when USA did a repeat of the telecast late at night, local cities were allowed to show the rerun.

From 1980-1981, Jim Woods and Nelson Briles (replacing Bud Harrelson) did the early games (except for a game at Montreal on October 2, 1980, which reunited Jim Woods and Ned Martin, with whom Woods had paired on Boston Red Sox radio broadcasts in the 1970s), while Monte Moore and Wes Parker (replacing Maury Wills) called the late game.

In 1982, doubleheaders did not start until June 17. Prior to the doubleheaders starting, Monte Moore and Wes Parker did the individual game until then. When the doubleheaders finally began, Moore and Parker moved over to the late game for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Eddie Doucette (replacing Jim Woods) and Nelson Briles were assigned to call the early game.

USA continued with the plan of not starting doubleheaders until June in the final year of the package in 1983. Steve Zabriskie and Al Albert filled in for Eddie Doucette in September 1982 (Steve Grad also occasionally substituted) while Albert replaced Doucette for a game or more in 1983.

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Memorable moments

One particular game of note was a Los Angeles Dodgers/St. Louis Cardinals game in 1981 (the last game before the strike)[5]. The game in question featured Fernando Valenzuela picking up his eighth consecutive win to start the season. Valenzuela gave up a home run in the ninth to tie the game 1-1, but Pedro Guerrero hit one himself in the bottom of the ninth for the win.

One year later, during a September 16 game between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants[6], Darrell Evans went 3-for-5 with four RBI in Giants' 9-3 victory[7].

Announcers

References

  1. ^ USA agreed to the baseball limitations rejected by ESPN and shows a Thursday-night game in cities that do not have a major-league team. In New York City, Manhattan Cable broadcasts USA's programs, but cannot televise the weekly baseball game because the Yankees and Mets declined to grant the waivers necessary under major-league statutes.
  2. ^ 1980-83: NBC and ABC pay $175 million to renew their packages for another four years. In addition, in 1980 22 teams (all but the Braves, Astros, Mets, Cardinals) take part in a one-year cable deal with UA-Columbia, airing a Thursday night Game of the Week in markets at least 50 miles from a major league park. The deal earns MLB less than $500,000, but leads to a new two-year contract for 40-45 games per season.
  3. ^ Apr 26, 1979, Indians at Royals Play by Play and Box Score
  4. ^ Apr 26, 1979, Orioles at Angels Play by Play and Box Score
  5. ^ Jun 11, 1981, Dodgers at Cardinals Play by Play and Box Score
  6. ^ Sep 16, 1982, Padres at Giants Box Score and Play by Play
  7. ^ San Diego at San Francisco � Darrell Evans goes 3-for-5 with four RBI in Giants' 9-3 victory (USA/excellent)
  8. ^ "Where Are They Now:" Eddie Doucette
  9. ^ KNX - Steve Grad
  10. ^ Ultimate Mets Database - Steve Zabriskie

See also

External links


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