With the announcement of their preliminary Sunday Night Baseball programming schedule, it looks like ESPN is carrying on another proud tradition: not broadcasting baseball games featuring the Toronto Blue Jays or the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The weekly national showcase game is a great broadcast and a great way for people to openly complain about the constant overexposure of the Yankees and Red Sox. If whining that the two most popular baseball teams in the world are repeatedly shown by a for-profit media entity is your thing, I encourage you to shut your pie hole!

The preliminary schedule has a few “flex holes1” into which ESPN can move in an attractive matchup and/or collection of famous people but, as of right now, the TEXAS RANGERS are set to appear on the Sunday night broadcast the most of any team, tied with the Yankees at three appearances each.

The Rangers open the year with a high-profile game against the desperately rebuilding White Sox on April 8th. (Update: our very own Travis Reitsma suggests this start may-MAY-just be Yu Darvish’s first in the big leagues.) The Rangers are then set to host the downtrodden Rays at the end of April and the Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels of Pujolsia on May 13th.

Two Red Sox/Yankees wars of attrition will occupy eleven hours of the Four-Letter’s airspace before the All Star break, with the Yankees showing up two weeks in a row in April. That is sure to stem the East Coast Bias complaint tide!

The world-champion Cardinals get two cracks at the big time with games against Dodgers in May and the resurgent Reds in July. The champs appear less often than the World Series runners up while the 2010 champion Giants are nowhere to be found. Let that be a lesson to everyone: winning gets you nowhere, losing is how you really make your mark.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Washington Nationals show up twice while their division rivals in Atlanta and Philadelphia only make the list once each. As demonstrated first by Tim Tebow and now Stephen Strasburg: there is good money in the Messiah business.

The ESPN press release notes Terry Francona rounds out the three-man booth with Dan Schulman and Orel Hershiser, replacing Bobby Valentine. Valentine, you might remember2, stole Francona’s job as manager of the Red Sox. And, most likely, his soul as well.

Date Teams (all telecasts at 8 p.m. ET)
April 8 Chicago White Sox at Texas
April 15 L.A. Angels at N.Y. Yankees
April 22 Yankees at Boston
April 29 Tampa Bay at Texas
May 6 Philadelphia at Washington
May 13 Angels at Texas
May 20 St. Louis at L.A. Dodgers
May 27 Washington at Atlanta
June 3-July 1 TBD
July 8 Yankees at Boston
July 15 St. Louis at Cincinnati
July 22-Sept 23 TBD


2You probably don’t remember but that is not at all how that happened. But who’s counting?

Image courtesy of Fangbites.