TBS's Grand Experiment
August 17, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
You may not have noticed (the rating have been quite poor), but besides FOX Saturday Baseball and ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball and occasional weekday forays, there is another national baseball broadcast in the regular season — MLB on TBS, airing Sunday afternoons.
If you're like me, you grew up with TBS on cable. Along with WGN in Chicago and WOR and WPIX in New York, TBS (or as we knew it then, WTBS) was one of the first "super stations." That meant that although it was a local channel in its region it was also picked up by many, many cable stations throughout the country.
WGN still (somewhat) acts like a local station, and has a local news broadcast (pretty convenient for Chicago expats), TBS long ago discontinued any association with Atlanta in terms of what they broadcast. But in my childhood (and in fact, clear through to 2007, far beyond their programming association with Atlanta for anything else) they showed Braves games. Tons and tons and tons of Braves games.
I'd be willing to bet more Braves games were available to me on television each year in the mid to late 80's than Indians games (I grew up in the Cleveland television market). I'm sure I'm not alone in this across the country, making marginal players like Claudell Washington and Rafael Ramirez household names, and legitimate starts like Bob Horner and Dale Murphy even bigger.
But TBS said goodbye to Braves baseball in 2007 and since then, not that anyone has noticed, has shown a national game of any given matchup just like Fox or ESPN do, in order to, as they put it, "emphasize the channel's national programming prominence."