ESPN’s 20th MLB Season Leads Off with Sunday Night Baseball on Opening Night April 5

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball franchise – the only national exclusive game of the week for the last 19 years – will lead off with the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies hosting the Atlanta Braves April 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 HD.

The telecast will include the regular-season debut of the new Sunday Night Baseball booth – play-by-play commentator Jon Miller, Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and analyst Steve Phillips. The Opening Night game will also be available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN Mobile TV.

 Sunday Night Baseball highlights:

  • The defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies hosting the division rival Atlanta Braves on Opening Night April 5;
  • 2008 N.L. MVP Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals visiting the Chicago Cubs twice – April 19 and July 12;
  • Recently acquired Mark Teixeira and the New York Yankees visiting the Boston Red Sox and 2008 A.L. MVP Dustin Pedroia April 26;
  • The Red Sox hosting the A.L. pennant-winning Tampa Bay Rays May 10;
  • The New York Mets’ potent lineup facing San Francisco’s power arms – anchored by 2008 N.L. Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum – May 17;
  • 2008 N.L. division winners meeting when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the Chicago Cubs May 31;
  • Two appearances by the Milwaukee Brewers and 2008 All-Stars Ryan Braun and Corey Hart – hosting the Chicago Cubs April 12; visiting the Minnesota Twins May 24.

The April and May Sunday Night Baseball schedule follows. Game selections for the remainder of the season will be made three weeks (June and July) or two weeks (August and September) in advance. All Sunday Night Baseball telecasts are also available in high definition on ESPN HD and via ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN Mobile TV.

(All games on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET unless noted below)

Date                Teams
5-Apr Atlanta at Philadelphia (ESPN2)
12-Apr Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee
19-Apr St. Louis at Chicago Cubs
26-Apr New York Yankees at Boston
3-May Chicago White Sox at Texas
10-May Tampa Bay at Boston
17-May New York Mets at San Francisco
24-May Milwaukee at Minnesota
31-May Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs
June 7-July 5 TBD
12-Jul St. Louis at Chicago Cubs
19-Jul New York Mets at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

“In our 20th year, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball is the premier MLB television franchise,” said Len DeLuca, senior vice president, programming and acquisitions. “With the World Baseball Classic, Home Run Derby, Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball and, of course, Baseball Tonight, ESPN continues to be the place fans go for preeminent baseball coverage.”

The 2009 campaign will mark the 20th consecutive season of Major League Baseball on ESPN. ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to televise 80 regular-season games, which will be simulcast on and ESPN Mobile TV throughout the season. For the 12th year, ESPN Radio will provide coverage from Opening Night through the final game of the World Series.

Additionally, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to televise 23 World Baseball Classic games – the marquee package of games including the semifinals and final – beginning March 5. ESPN will also continue to televise the State Farm Home Run Derby and additional All-Star related events.

ESPN’s vast MLB offerings include: the exclusive Sunday Night Baseball franchise; Monday Night Baseball, including up to three co-exists (carry back to local markets) per team; Wednesday Night Baseball; and the acclaimed Baseball Tonight, the most-viewed nightly destination for MLB highlights, news and information.