The World Series may come down to Kenny Lofton vs. Deion Sander
NEW YORK (AP) _ The World Series may come down to Kenny Lofton vs. Deion Sanders, or it might be Greg Maddux vs. Roger Clemens.
No matter who makes it, though, this could be the most-watched matchup in October: Al Michaels, Tim McCarver and Jim Palmer against Bob Costas, Bob Uecker and Joe Morgan.
In a unique agreement, NBC and ABC will split showing the entire postseason. The Baseball Network announced the plan Thursday, having had to rearrange television coverage because of last year’s strike.
ABC will show Games 1, 4 and 5 of the World Series and NBC gets Games 2, 3 and 6. It still has not been decided, however, who will show Game 7.
``It might well be a coin flip,″ said Ken Schanzer, president of The Baseball Network. ``We don’t want to trivialize it, but that’s what it might come down to.″
ABC, with Michaels doing play-by-play, and NBC, with Costas its main man, will also share the divisional series _ the first under the expanded postseason format _ and the league playoffs.
Never before have two networks taken turns showing the World Series. This plan might be the most unusual in TV sports since CBS and NBC simultaneously showed the first Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs in January 1967.
``We wanted to divide the whole package in an equitable manner. We wanted to make sure each network had the same number of games, and work with them,″ Schanzer said.
After several back-and-forth discussions, Schanzer said, NBC agreed to take a cut in its proposal.
``But it wasn’t like we all sat around and divvied it up,″ he said.
Schanzer said a decision on which network gets rights to Game 7 of the World Series will be made well before the postseason. No matter who gets the game, logistics won’t be much of a problem because NBC and ABC, under The Baseball Network agreement, are sharing production facilities throughout the postseason.
ABC was scheduled to show the World Series and the division series last year, while NBC was supposed to carry the league playoffs.
This is the last year of The Baseball Network. Recently, NBC and ABC said they were pulling out of the venture, adding they did not intend to televise baseball for the rest of this century. That meant NBC and ABC had to reach a deal this season.
``If there had been two years left, it would have been simple,″ Schanzer said.
The two sets of divisional series begin Oct. 3. The first two games in the best-of-5 series will be shown by NBC, with ABC carrying the rest.
The league playoffs start Oct. 10. ABC gets Games 1, 2 and 7 of the best-of-7 series and NBC has Games 3, 4, 5 and 6.
The World Series begins Saturday, Oct. 21. Game 7, if necessary, is scheduled for Oct. 29.
Telecasts for all weekend games during the postseason begin at 7 p.m. Eastern time. Weeknight shows start at 8 p.m.