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TV/ Radio Sports: Baseball postseason is here

Posted Oct 06 2012 2:48am
It's time for baseball's postseason, and for the first time, there will be four wild-card teams in the mix.

Meaning, of course, more televised games. It also means for the first time that playoff games will be televised on the Major League Baseball Network.

Two to be exact, one on Sunday and another next Wednesday.

Time? Teams? Good questions, but we don't know. Yet.

Major League Baseball is not ready to announced the schedule until all the matchups are known, meaning we'll find out after the wild-card games are complete. Like late tonight.

It all centers around the New York Yankees — doesn't it always? Most, if not all of the Yankees games, will be played in the most visible time slot available. And not on the Major League Baseball Network.

This much we do know. The two wild-card games today are on TBS and so are the four divisional playoff series. The American League Championship Series is also on TBS and the NLCS and World Series will be carried on Fox.

Two divisional games will be played on Saturday, at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and four more on Sunday, times to be announced. Four games on Sunday means all the remaining teams will play and there'll  be baseball all day long.

Announcers for Sunday's game on the Major League Baseball Network are Matt Vasgersian doing play-by-play and former Twins announcer Jim Kaat as analyst. Kaat wil be calling his first postseason game since 1995.

Next Wednesday, Bob Costas will do play-by-play alongside Kaat. Costas will be making his first postseason appearance since 2000.

Not everybody gets the MLB Network. In fact, it is available in "only'' 70 million out of a potential 130 million homes.

On TBS, one change is Cal Ripken moving from the studio to game analyst, calling games with Ernie Johnson and John Smoltz. Greg Amsinger is the studio host for TBS.

• Fox and Turner Sports have agreed on eight-year contracts with Major League Baseball that will run through 2021 and keep the World Series on Fox.

The amount baseball receives from the two networks will double to an average of about $800 million annually, with Fox's share averaging about $500 million.

Fox also will retain rights to the All-Star Game and a league championship series every year, and adds coverage of two division series starting in 2014. Fox broadcast the World Series in 1996 and 1998, and has had exclusive rights in 2000.

TBS will retain the rights to air one league championship series, two division series and one wild-card game.

MLB Network will continue to have the right to two games from one division series in the new eight-year deal.

ESPN and MLB in August announced a new deal covering 2014-21 that, reportedly, will increase ESPN's average yearly payment from about $360 million to approximately $700 million.

New Wolves announcer
Dave Benz is the new TV play-by-play announcer for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He will call his first regular-season game on Fox Sports North on Nov. 4 against Toronto.

Benz is a graduate of Oswego State University in New York, He comes to the Twin Cities from the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked as host, anchor and reporter for Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area.

Benz will work 50 Wolves games alongside analyst Jim Peterson, who will be starting his 15th season with the team.

Around the tube

• Announcers for Sunday's Vikings-Titans game on CBS (3:25 p.m.) are Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker.

• The Minnesota Lynx playoff game Sunday (2:30 p.m.) is on ABC and the if-necessary game next Wednesday back on ESPN2.

All Lynx playoff games will also be broadcast on KOLM-AM (1520). KOLM will also be carrying a number of Major League Baseball playoff games, to be announced.

• St. Charles native Brad Nessler is doing play-by-play for ABC in Saturday's 7 p.m. Nebraska at Ohio State game.Todd Blackledge is analyst and Holly Rowe sideline reporter.
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