There are already signs that ESPN is responding to the arrival of a new competitor in baseball coverage — Major League Baseball itself — and longtime baseball nuts are the winners. Major League Baseball will launch its MLB Network on Thursday, which will be largely taken up by repeated showings of Don Larsen's perfect game for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series.
As part of its launch "countdown," MLB Network officially announced today that it will show Ken Burns' "Baseball" documentary series at 8 p.m. Tuesday nights in January, starting Jan. 6, and Tuesdays and Thursdays in February.
As it happens, ESPN Classic today said it will feature classic MLB games on Monday nights, starting Jan. 5, generally at 8 p.m. Hmmmm.
On Time Warner Cable, MLB Network will be available to digital cable customers on channel 139.
Here's MLB Network's schedule for Burns' documentary:
"1st Inning — Our Game", 8 p.m. Jan. 6
"2nd Inning — Something Like A ," Jan. 13
"3rd Inning — The Faith of Fifty Million People," Jan. 20
"4th Inning — A National Heirloom," Jan. 27
"5th Inning — Shadow Ball," Feb. 10
"6th Inning — The National Pastime," Feb. 12
"7th Inning — The Capital of Baseball," Feb. 17
"8th Inning — A Whole New Ballgame," Feb. 19
"9th Inning — Home," Feb. 24
Here's ESPN Classic's lineup:
Jan. 5: 1990 Opening Day, Baltimore at Kansas City, ESPN’s first MLB regular-season telecast;
Jan. 12: 1991 World Series, Game 7, Atlanta at Minnesota, Jack Morris pitches a 10-inning shutout as the Twins win 1-0;
Jan. 19: 1992 NLCS, Game 7, Pittsburgh at Atlanta, Francisco Cabrera drives home Sid Bream to advance the Braves to the World Series;
Jan. 26: 1993 World Series, Game 6, Philadelphia at Toronto, Joe Carter hits a three-run, walk off home run for the Blue Jays;
Feb. 2: 1994 regular season, Anaheim at Texas, Kenny Rogers becomes the first left-hander in AL history to throw a perfect game;
Feb. 9: 1995 regular season, Anaheim at Baltimore, Cal Ripken Jr. breaks Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played;
Feb. 16: 1996 World Series, Game 4, N.Y. Yankees at Atlanta, Yankees erase a 6-0 deficit and win in extra innings on Wade Boggs’ bases-loaded walk;
Feb. 23: 1997 World Series, Game 7, Cleveland at Florida, Marlins become the first wild-card team to win the World Series.