If the start time for your ALCS weekday
games seem odd (7:57), it's all part of
MLB and FOX's plan to get as many East
Coast fans seeing games
If you’ve gone to many an MLB game, the time is nearly seared into your brain: 7:05 p.m. That time is most often when night games start, where baseball balances trying to give you enough time to get to the game, while not keeping you out too late.
During the playoffs over the past few years, the start times for some postseason games have been especially late, causing more than a few on the East Coast to fall asleep well before the game has ended, or wander into work in a sleep deprived daze. MLB, and the networks that carry them, have been under pressure to change the times. As some have noted, MLB is in danger of losing a generation of new fans as children miss out on play as they get their needed slumber.
So, when ALCS Game 1 between the Angels and Yankees got underway, there were more than a few scratching their head as to the start time:
7:57 p.m. ET
The time is more than a bit odd, coming in at 3 minutes before 8:00 ET, but it is the “before 8:00” that is the focus.
In May, Major League Baseball and FOX announced that for weekday games, they would move start times before 8:00 p.m. ET for the ALCS and World Series, both of which are carried by FOX this year (NOTE: Although the agreement is for weekday games, Game 2 of the ALCS on Saturday was a 7:57 p.m. ET start).
The last time a regularly scheduled World Series game on Monday through Friday started before 8 p.m. ET was 38 years ago when the Baltimore Orioles faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 5 of the 1971 World Series.
The principle executives at the time, justified the changes.
“Our goal is to schedule games to allow the largest number of people to watch and this change puts our games in the window we believe will work the best for our fans,” said Commissioner Selig. “We appreciate the work that FOX has done to make this happen and I expect that fans of all ages will respond favorably to this adjustment.”
“Prime time postseason games on FOX have always been scheduled for a window that maximizes the potential audience from coast to coast,” said FOX Sports President Ed Goren. “The fact is that over the last few years, games have been ending a bit later than we’d like. This new schedule, made possible through the cooperation of our stations, affiliates and Major League Baseball, should help fans of all ages see weeknight games from start to finish.”
As mentioned, this is only an agreement between FOX and MLB. As the LCS broadcast schedule shows, (see the complete schedule here) TBS, who is broadcasting the NLCS this year, has weekday start times of 8:07 p.m. ET (Games 4, 5, 6*, and 7* - * if necessary).
So remember… set your watch a few minutes before 8:00 p.m. ET for tonight’s Game 2 of the ALCS on FOX. That is, if the weather cooperates. While baseball could thank the weather gods by ducking any rain delays in Game 1 of the ALCS, according to Accuweather.com, there is an 81% chance of rain throughout the entire ALCS Game 2 time window.
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