ESPN will present its 24th season of Sunday Night Baseball – the exclusive, national Major League Baseball game of the week – presented by Burger King. To celebrate the release of the 2013 schedule, ESPN has compiled 24 reasons to experience Sunday Night Baseball’s 24th season. ESPN’s Sunday Night telecasts air every week at 8 p.m. ET and are available on ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN.
1. Sunday Night Baseball will feature a blockbuster lineup with some of the game’s top stars, including Triple Crown winner and AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, NL MVP Buster Posey, Matt Kemp, Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder and more.
2. New Sunday Night Baseball analyst John Kruk will make his debut in the Sunday Night booth. “Krukkie” brings his unique, larger-than-life personality, bold opinions and insightful analysis to baseball’s biggest stage.
3. Sunday Night Baseball will be the exclusive, national home of MLB Opening Night, March 31, as the Houston Astros make their historic American League debut against the Texas Rangers – their in-state and division rivals. This will mark the Astros’ first appearance on Sunday Night since September 23, 2007.
4. Dan Shulman, the voice of Sunday Night Baseball, has reached a multi-year extension with ESPN. The 2011 NSSA Sportscaster of the Year is poised to lead the Sunday Night team for a third consecutive season.
5. This season marks the 25th anniversary of Sunday Night Baseball analyst Orel Hershiser’s historic 1988 season with the Dodgers, which culminated in a World Series Championship and Series’ MVP for Hershiser. Hershiser will be in the booth for multiple Dodgers games this season.
6. The defending World Champion San Francisco Giants – led by NL MVP Buster Posey – will face their NL West rivals – the Los Angeles Dodgers and superstar Matt Kemp, May 5.
7. There are several veteran MLB stars who could chase milestones on Sunday Night Baseball this season, including the Yankees’ Derek Jeter (3420 hits to move to 7th All-Time), the Phillies’ Roy Halladay (200 wins), the Rangers’ Joe Nathan (300 saves), and, if healthy, the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez (661 homeruns to move into 4th All-Time).
8. Perhaps no baseball scribe is as “in the know” as Sunday Night Baseball reporter Buster Olney. MLB fans and ESPN viewers receive regular, in-game updates, injury reports, player and manager comments from Buster, plus news from around the league.
9. The award-winning “K-Zone Live” has enhanced the baseball viewing experience like no other technology. “Live” is a computer generated, on-screen graphic inserted over live video, which marks the strike zone of any given batter.
10. Sunday Night Baseball is more accessible live and on-the-go than ever before with the award-winning WatchESPN app via computers, smartphones and tablets.
11. The defending AL Champion Detroit Tigers will make multiple appearances on Sunday Night Baseball. The Tigers, led by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, slugger Prince Fielder and ace Justin Verlander – have added veteran Torii Hunter and will welcome back injured star Victor Martinez to help their 2013 campaign.
12. Sunday Night Baseball will place the national spotlight on several rivalry games: Angels-Rangers (April 7); Dodgers-Giants (May 5); Braves-Mets (May 26); Cardinals-Cubs (July 14); and Yankees-Red Sox (July 21).
13. The Baltimore Orioles return to the Sunday Night stage for the first time since September 21, 2008, to visit the New York Yankees, April 14, in a matchup of last year’s top two AL East teams.
14. There are several MLB stars who will appear on Sunday Night Baseball with new teams, including Josh Hamilton (Angels), B.J. Upton (Braves), Kevin Youkilis (Yankees), Torii Hunter (Tigers), Michael Young (Philadelphia Phillies) and Lance Berkman (Rangers).
15. The Hot Stove’s hottest free agent Josh Hamilton returns to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as a member of the rival Los Angeles Angels for a showdown with his former club, the Texas Rangers, April 7.
16. John Kruk returns to Philadelphia – the city where he became a star – as a Sunday Night Baseball analyst to call the Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals game, April 21.
17. Some of Major League Baseball’s most beloved ballparks will play host to Sunday Night Baseball games this season, including Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium.
18. Baseball fans and ESPN viewers can interact with Sunday Night Baseball personalities on Twitter, live during the game. Fans are encouraged to join the conversation by using hashtag #ESPNSNB. Here is a full list of Twitter handles: @DShulman_ESPN; @JohnKruk_ESPN; @Orel_ESPN; @Buster_ESPN; @BoogSciambi; @C_Singleton.
19. Last season’s AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout has emerged as one of the game’s top superstars. Fans can see Trout’s incredible skill and athleticism on display in two early season Sunday Night telecasts – April 7 (Rangers) and May 12 (White Sox).
20. The Atlanta Braves are poised for a postseason return after acquiring center fielder B.J. Upton to bolster a lineup that already includes young star Jason Heyward. The Braves already have two Sunday Night Baseball appearances slated for this season – an interleague matchup with the Tigers on April 28 and a game against their division-rival Mets on May 26.
21. ESPN’s deep roster of MLB commentators will provide insights and analysis on Baseball Tonight, generally airing one-hour prior to every Sunday Night Baseball telecast. Join host Karl Ravech and analysts Curt Schilling, Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, Nomar Garciaparra, Rick Sutcliffe, Aaron Boone, Mark Mulder and more.
22.ESPN Radio – the national radio home of Sunday Night Baseball – is in its 16th season of MLB coverage. The commentator tandem of play-by-play voice Jon “Boog” Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton will describe the action for a third consecutive season. ESPN Radio’s weekly coverage starts at 7 p.m. and is also available on ESPNRadio.com and via the ESPNRadio app.
23. ESPN Deportes will enter its 10th season as the Spanish-language home to Sunday Night Baseball. Commentators Ernesto Jerez and Luis Alfredo Alvarez will provide commentary throughout the season.
24. As the original MLB on ESPN slogan says, “If It Happens in Baseball, I’ll See It on ESPN.”