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Thursday Night Baseball
Format Major League Baseball
Starring Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Victor Rojas
Al Leiter
Joe Magrane
Dan Plesac
Harold Reynolds
Jim Kaat
Mitch Williams
Clint Hurdle
Country of origin United States
Production
Running time 3 hours (approximate)
Broadcast
Original channel MLB Network (beginning April 9, 2009)[1]
Picture format 480i (SD)
720p (HD)
Original run – present

Thursday Night Baseball is the title of a presentation of Major League Baseball on cable and satellite channel MLB Network, that premiered on April 9, 2009.[2] Longtime NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas is one of the play-by-play voices of the broadcasts.[3] Matt Vasgersian and Victor Rojas also do play-by-play on some games. Al Leiter, Joe Magrane, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds, Clint Hurdle, Mitch Williams and Jim Kaat provide color commentary.[1] The new network produces 26 non-exclusive live games a year on Thursday nights. Since one or both teams' local TV rights holders also carry the games, the MLB Network feed is subject to local blackouts. In that event, the cities in the blacked-out markets will instead see a simulcast of another scheduled game via one team's local TV rights holder.

Contents

2009 schedule

The schedule is as follows:[1][4]

Date Time (ET) Teams Play by play Color commentary Special Notes
April 9 7:00 PM Milwaukee Brewers at San Francisco Giants Matt Vasgersian Joe Magrane First ever regular season game produced by MLB Network.
April 16 1:00 PM Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees Bob Costas Harold Reynolds and Jim Kaat The first ever regular season game at the New Yankee Stadium.
April 16 8:00 PM Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins Victor Rojas Dan Plesac
April 23 8:00 PM Los Angeles Dodgers at Houston Astros Matt Vasgersian Joe Magrane
April 30 7:00 PM Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Victor Rojas Joe Magrane
May 7 7:00 PM Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Bob Costas Al Leiter
May 14 8:00 PM Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals Victor Rojas Dan Plesac
May 21 8:00 PM Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals Victor Rojas Joe Magrane and Dan Plesac
May 28 8:00 PM Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs Bob Costas Dan Plesac
June 4 7:00 PM Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves* Matt Vasgersian* Joe Magrane* *The game was postponed due to rain. So instead, MLB Network showed the Colorado Rockies-Houston Astros game via FSN Rocky Mountain, which was blacked out in the Denver and Houston markets.
June 11 7:00 PM New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Bob Costas Jim Kaat
June 18 8:00 PM Detroit Tigers at St. Louis Cardinals Victor Rojas Joe Magrane
June 25 7:00 PM Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays Matt Vasgersian Joe Magrane and Mitch Williams
July 2 8:00 PM Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs Matt Vasgersian Dan Plesac
July 9 7:00 PM Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets Bob Costas Jim Kaat
July 16 7:00 PM Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds Matt Vasgersian Joe Magrane
July 23 8:00 PM Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees Matt Vasgersian Harold Reynolds
July 30 8:00 PM New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox Bob Costas Jim Kaat
August 6 7:00 PM Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Matt Vasgersian Jim Kaat
August 13 7:00 PM Houston Astros at Florida Marlins Victor Rojas Mitch Williams
August 20 7:00 PM Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies Victor Rojas Mitch Williams
August 27 7:00 PM Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox Matt Vasgersian Jim Kaat
September 3 7:00 PM San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies Bob Costas Jim Kaat
September 7 7:00 PM Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Bob Costas Jim Kaat Special Labor Day broadcast.
September 11[5] 10:00 PM Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Matt Vasgersian Clint Hurdle Special Friday night broadcast to cover the National League Wild Card race.
September 15 10:00 PM Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants Matt Vasgersian Joe Magrane Special Tuesday night broadcast to cover the National League Wild Card race.
September 17[6] 7:00 PM Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Boston Red Sox Victor Rojas Mitch Williams
September 24 7:00 PM Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians Victor Rojas Mitch Williams
October 1 1:00 PM Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers Matt Vasgersian Joe Magrane Special day game to cover the American League Central race. Final broadcast of 2009 season.
Game postponements: 2 (June 4, 2009 and September 10, 2009)

Former versions

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The USA Thursday Game of the Week (1979–1983)

From 1979–1983, the USA Network broadcast Major League Baseball games under the Thursday Game of the Week banner.

The series began April 26, 1979 with a doubleheader: Cleveland at Kansas City[7] (Jim Woods/Bud Harrelson) followed by Baltimore at California[8] (Monte Moore/Maury Wills). The second game of the night was typically, based out of the West Coast. The games were usually blacked out of 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) 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.

ABC Thursday Night Baseball (1989)

In 1989, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) aired Thursday night Major League Baseball games after broadcasting Monday Night Baseball since 1976. This was ABC's final year of consecutive baseball coverage (teaming with NBC, who broadcast Saturday afternoon games since 1966 and Major League Baseball in general since 1947) due to CBS Sports signing a four year contract (spanning from 1990–1993) to become the exclusive national broadcast network provider for Major League Baseball games.

Al Michaels was ABC's lead play-by-play commentator alongside color commentators Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver. Meanwhile, Gary Thorne was the backup play-by-play man alongside Joe Morgan (who had worked with Gary Bender the previous season) on color commentary.

Fox Family and FX's coverage (1999–2001)

In the late 1990s, Fox Family (now ABC Family after the Walt Disney Company purchased it in October 2001) aired Major League Baseball games, usually on Thursday or Saturday nights, alternating with sister network FX. Starting with the 2001 season, the network also showed games from the Division Series, which did not air on Fox.

ESPN Thursday Night Baseball (2003–2006)

ESPN Thursday Night Baseball aired on either ESPN or ESPN2 from 2003–2006 and featured one game per week. It aired every Thursday at either 1 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. ET or 8:00 ET. Castrol served as the presenting sponsor for the telecasts.

The play-by-play commentator was Chris Berman along with either Joe Morgan or Eric Karros as color commentator. In 2006, Duke Castiglione joined the broadcast as the field reporter.

ESPN Thursday Night Baseball was discontinued after the 2006 season because the broadcast rights to the package were lost to TBS. TBS shows the games on Sunday afternoons that ESPN previously aired on Thursday nights. This is largely because the games were a byproduct of a deal Fox made to air games on its own cable channels, before opting to sell what is now ABC Family to Disney. The games were then moved to ESPN and ESPN2. Thursday Night Baseball was replaced with MLS Primetime Thursday.[9]

References


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