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02/27/2008 11:29 AM ET
ESPN to televise nine MLB Spring Training games and inaugural Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament
Second annual Civil Rights Game March 29 on ESPN
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
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ESPN will televise nine Spring Training games - all available in high definition - beginning with the Atlanta Braves hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday, Feb. 29, at 1 p.m. ET. The game, held at the Wide World of Sports Complex during ESPN The Weekend Presented by Dick's Sporting Goods, will mark the national TV debut of new Los Angeles manager Joe Torre along with Dodgers center fielder Andruw Jones facing his former team. Play-by-play commentator Gary Thorne will be joined by analysts John Kruk and Steve Phillips. Additionally, baseball insider Peter Gammons will contribute reports during the telecast.

Following is the complete ESPN Spring Training schedule with commentator assignments:

 

 

 

 

 

DateTime (ET)Teams/CommentatorsNetwork
Fri., Feb. 291 p.m.L.A. Dodgers vs. Atlanta from Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Gary Thorne, John Kruk, Steve Phillips,
Peter Gammons (guest insider)
ESPN, ESPN HD
Wed., March 51 p.m.Minnesota vs. N.Y.Yankees from Tampa, Fla.
Thorne, Rick Sutcliffe
ESPN, ESPN HD
Thu., March 61 p.m.L.A. Dodgers vs. Boston from Ft. Myers, Fla.
Sean McDonough, Phillips, Gammons (guest insider)
ESPN, ESPN HD
Fri., March 71 p.m.N.Y. Mets vs. Cleveland from Winter Haven, Fla.
Karl Ravech, Rick Sutcliffe
ESPN, ESPN HD
Tue., March 181 p.m.Washington vs. Detroit from Lakeland, Fla.
Dan Shulman, Phillips, Orel Hershiser,
Gammons (guest insider)
ESPN, ESPN HD
Wed., March 1912 p.m.Toronto vs. Boston from Ft. Myers, Fla.
Jon Sciambi, Phillips
ESPN, ESPN HD
Thu., March 201 p.m. N.Y. Yankees vs. Toronto from Dunedin, Fla.
McDonough, Orestes Destrade, Candy Maldonado,
Gammons (guest insider)
ESPN, ESPN HD
Fri., March 214 p.m.Chicago Cubs at Colorado from Tucson, Ariz.
Dave O'Brien, Hershiser
ESPN2, ESPN2 HD
Thu., March 271 p.m. N.Y. Mets vs. Atlanta from Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
O'Brien, Phillips
ESPN, ESPN HD

Baseball Tonight Returns March 18
ESPN's Baseball Tonight - the only nightly national studio show devoted solely to MLB highlights and news - will return Tuesday, March 18 with a one-hour special at 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2). Baseball Tonight is generally televised Monday through Saturday at 10 p.m. and midnight (9 p.m. PT) and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Karl Ravech, entering his 14th season hosting the show, will be joined by a deep roster of analysts/insiders including Orestes Destrade, Peter Gammons, Orel Hershiser, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian, Buster Olney, Eduardo Perez, Fernando Vina and Eric Young. Steve Berthiaume will also serve as host.

Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament
ESPN2 will present the inaugural Urban Invitational Baseball Tournament including two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) - Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Southern university (Baton Rouge, La.) - competing against the collegiate teams of UCLA and USC on Saturday, March 1. Hosted by the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., the event will feature Bethune-Cookman University meeting UCLA at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT), followed by Southern University facing USC at 11 p.m. (8 p.m. PT). Gary Thorne will call both games with special guest analyst Brian Jordan (former MLB All-Star and NFL All-Pro).

Guests scheduled to be interviewed in the booth during the Urban Invitational telecasts include: MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, MLB Vice President of Rules and On-Field Operations Bob Watson, 17-year MLB veterans Eric Davis and Reggie Smith, and five-year MLB veteran and current Senior Director of the MLB Urban Youth Academy Darrell Miller. During the games, discussion will focus on the decrease of African Americans playing baseball and recent steps taken to reverse the trend.

Civil Rights Game
ESPN and ESPN HD will televise Major League Baseball's second annual Civil Rights Game, Saturday, March 29, at 5 p.m. from Memphis, the location of the National Civil Rights Museum. The game pays tribute to civil rights pioneers on and off the field. Additional telecast details will be forthcoming.

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