ESPN Needs to Change Their Featured MLB Games
Sunday Night Baseball consists of the same teams week in and week out. ESPN must fix this. (Photo via Al Yellon)

ESPN Must Fix Its Featured MLB Games

There is a major problem with televised baseball, and it comes as no surprise that the issue involves ESPN. The struggling worldwide sports network has deals in place for baseball games every Sunday night, Monday night, and other occasional weeknight games. However, unlike with the NFL, every MLB team does not get the chance to play on ESPN.

Despite this limitation, ESPN does not alter its schedule throughout the season to give baseball fans the best games possible. Instead, we have to watch the same teams over and over again. If it is not a divisional battle in the National League or the Yankees versus the Red Sox, you will not see it on ESPN. If the Cubs are playing the Cardinals, baseball fans around the world will be forced to watch that game, no matter the other contests being played throughout the league.

Take Monday’s game as an example. Two of baseball’s top clubs, the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox, squared off in Chicago, and two of the league’s best pitchers, Tyler Glasnow and Lance Lynn, took the mound. Speaking for all baseball fans, we would have loved to watch this game on national television. Who would say no to a match between two first-place teams with their aces on the hill? ESPN apparently, as we were forced to watch the Chicago Cubs (for the 1,000th time) face the Mets with David Peterson getting the win and improving his ERA to a less than impressive 6.32 runs per nine. Awesome. So glad I saw that.

Sure, both the Cubs and Mets have played well this season, but both are featured on ESPN almost every week, regardless of who is pitching or who is injured. And, if it’s not these National League Teams, then the Dodgers or the Padres will have the luxury of playing on ESPN. Out of the 30 teams in the league, there are about eight that get the privilege to play a night game on ESPN. The rest, despite their success, are forced to play only on local networks.

This is one of the many issues that ESPN must fix. As a solution, the Sunday Night Baseball schedule (at a minimum) should be more flexible and change on a weekly basis. ESPN should give baseball fans the best pitching matchups or allow them to watch a hot lineup compete rather than a divisional “rivalry” without any excitement. Sorry to the fourth-place Cardinals, but I would rather see Shohei Ohtani face a talented Oakland A’s squad than see you play the Cubs for the 4,000th time.

Like most baseball fans, I am sick of watching the same teams play on national television. Other clubs should not be left out because they were considered less popular back in December of 2020 when the TV schedule was made. ESPN not showing Tampa Bay battle it out against the White Sox is a travesty. Something must change about ESPN’s featured MLB games.