On Opening Day 2014 a national audience was treated to a Marlins 10-1 drubbing of the Colorado Rockies on ESPN2.
This year, ESPN left the Marlins out of its Opening Day baseball marathon. Yesterday ESPN released its planned slate of live games on Opening Day, Monday April 6. Despite the Marlins reshaping much of its roster this offseason and looking like a much improved team, the Worldwide Leader did not seem to take notice. Instead, it apparently thought the following matchups were more appealing to launch the new season (all times eastern):
Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees, 1 PM
New York Mets at Washington Nationals, 4 PM
Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros, 7 PM
San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks, 10 PM
As usual, ESPN is catering to bigger markets and the more popular teams in baseball. That’s a shame, because with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and newcomers Mat Latos, Michael Morse and Dee Gordon, the Marlins are one of the more intriguing clubs heading into 2015.
This isn’t that big of a deal, but the Marlins seldom get national attention and have been a punch line among casual baseball fans for the last several years. When fans of other teams think of the Marlins, jokes involving low attendance or frugal spending tend to dominate the discussion. ESPN featuring a sold-out Marlins Park on Opening Day with a competitive team on the field would be a welcome change and might open some eyes.
ESPN also released its Sunday Night Baseball schedule for the first month of the season. Absent, of course, are the Marlins. Traditional big market games dominate the early-season Sunday prime time lineup.
April 5: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
April 12: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
April 19: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
April 26: New York Mets at New York Yankees
May 3: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
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Of course, the Yankees appear on three of the first five Sunday nights, including two against the Red Sox. The Mets made it onto the docket, because they were also playing the Yankees. And ESPN always loves the Cardinals, who earned a Sunday Night game against the Reds for some reason.
The Marlins haven’t been on Sunday Night Baseball since 2005. If they contend in 2015 there’s always a chance they get a game flexed to a Sunday night slot. Right now the starting times for the Marlins July 5 game at the Chicago Cubs and July 26 at the San Diego Padres are listed TBD. All three teams are expected to contend; maybe one of those games will get a Sunday Night nod?
National exposure is healthy for any franchise, and the Marlins can always use positive publicity. At least for now, expect the Fish to fly under the radar once again. At least we have the great duo of Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton covering our games. Who needs ESPN?