The first two months of the 2011 "Sunday MLB on TBS" broadcast schedule was announced Monday, starting with a big April 3 day game featuring Josh Hamilton and the defending American League champion Rangers at home against Carl Crawford and a Red Sox team picked by many as their possible pennant successor.
The first nine games of the package -- which includes Major League Baseball matchups on TBS every Sunday afternoon throughout the regular season -- feature multiple appearances by the Yankees (May 1, 8 and 22), Red Sox (also April 17 and May 29) and Phillies (April 10 and May 15). The network will announce future games on its schedule coinciding with its selection windows.
A rotation of play-by-play announcers will call the action, including Ernie Johnson, Dick Stockton and Brian Anderson. The announcer will be paired in individual games with TBS analysts Ron Darling and John Smoltz. Additionally, Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley and David Wells will provide color commentary for a select number of live game broadcasts, in addition to their studio work during the network's exclusive coverage of all four Division Series as well as the National League Championship Series.
'sunday mlb on tbs' schedule
Red Sox @ Rangers
Phillies @ Braves
Blue Jays @ Red Sox
Dodgers @ Cubs
Blue Jays @ Yankees
Yankees @ Rangers
Phillies @ Braves
Mets @ Yankees
Red Sox @ Tigers
Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. will return as part of the All-Star Selection Show studio team and also for TBS' coverage of the DS and NLCS. Craig Sager was last seen on the diamond wearing a purple suit during the 2010 Rangers-Yankees ALCS and one can expect further ballpark scene reporting as well as further sartorial surprises.
"We are excited for the return of 'Sunday MLB on TBS' and look forward to our analysts utilizing their years of success to provide fans with unique insights during our solid schedule of key games," said Jeff Behnke, Turner Sports executive producer. "The announcers and production crew will bring the same high-level of baseball expertise that viewers have come to expect from Turner-produced telecasts throughout the season."
Highlights of the early schedule include:
A rematch of the 2010 ALCS at 2 p.m. ET on May 8, with the Yankees at the Rangers. Derek Jeter starts the season 74 hits shy of 3,000 for his career, and at that point, the countdown should be in full swing. Texas eliminated New York in six games last year, as Hamilton and Robinson Cano each pounded four homers in the series.
The opener at Texas featuring Adrian Beltre for his new team against the Boston team he played for last season. Last fall, the Rangers knocked out Tampa Bay in five games in the ALDS, and that was the last anyone saw of Crawford as a Rays left fielder. This game will be part of his first weekend as a Red Sox player, and the start time for that game is 2 p.m. ET.
A showdown in historic Wrigley Field between the Dodgers and Cubs at 2:15 p.m. ET on April 24.
The Civil Rights Game in its new home at Turner Field in Atlanta. This year it will feature NL East rivals, when Ryan Howard and the Phillies face Jason Heyward and the Braves. The time for that game is to be announced. The April 11 meeting between the two teams will also be on TBS, at 1:30 p.m. ET.
A Subway Series finale at 1 p.m. ET on May 22, with Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees playing host to David Wright and the Mets during Interleague Play's first stretch.
TBS also will exclusively televise the 2011 MLB All-Star Selection Show on Sunday, July 3.
The network has broadcast MLB games for more than 30 years, serving as the exclusive home of the Division Series and one LCS each year since 2007 and home of Braves coverage from 1977 to 2007. TBS rotates with FOX each year for LCS coverage, so this year FOX will have the ALCS. The games included in the "Sunday MLB on TBS" package will be blacked out in each team's home television territory.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Follow @MLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.