“Sunday Night Baseball” long has been a source of annoyance for both teams that play on it – especially regulars such as the Yankees – and their fans, in part because of its late starting (and finishing) time.
ESPN announced a small but significant change on that front on Monday, moving the start time from 8 to 7 o’clock for the showcase’s 30th season in 2019.
The move will not eliminate grumbling from teams about night games on getaway days, and from fans attending games on a school/work night, but it should help.
In a news release, MLB deputy commissioner Tony Petitti said: “ESPN has always been a collaborative broadcast partner, and we’re appreciative of the opportunity to work together to explore changes that will benefit our game and fans."
The change mirrors an evolution on the network’s other prime-time showcase, “Monday Night Football,” which in the past began at 9:10 p.m. Eastern Time but now kicks off at 8:15.
ESPN also announced half of its Sunday night matchups, including four Yankees-Red Sox games.
They include Red Sox at Yankees June 2, Yankees at Red Sox July 28, Red Sox at Yankees Aug. 4, Yankees at Dodgers Aug. 25 and Yankees at Red Sox Sept. 8. The Sept. 8 game will have a special start time: 8 p.m.