Major League Baseball on TBS is a broadcasting agreement between Major League Baseball and Turner Sports to broadcast baseball via cable television nationwide, beginning in .
TBS expands their role as a national broadcast partner of Major League Baseball.
Under an agreement signed on July 11
, , TBS
earned exclusive rights to all Division Series
playoff games, as well as rights to the All-Star Selection Show
held in late June or early July, beginning in 2007. A national Sunday afternoon baseball package is also part of the deal, starting in 2008
These games are not exclusive to TBS and are blacked out in local markets. Under the deal, TBS can show an alternate game in those markets, but have decided not to. Also, despite initial reports that TBS would carry games on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, these holiday games are not part of the contract. For many years, games on these holidays were shown on ESPN, but that network has discontinued them (with the occasional exception of when they fall into the regular Sunday/Monday/Wednesday night slots) in favor of other live sports events.
TBS will also air any tie-breaker games for divisional or wild card championships. Should multiple tie-breaking games be played, or if multiple Division Series games are going on at the same time, those additional games air on TBS’ sister station, TNT.
As part of the deal, TBS launched a high-definition feed in September 2007.
Please note that most of this section is applicable to postseason games only.
TBS typically begins coverage with the pregame show MLB on Deck, followed by the first pitch of the first game about 38 minutes later. Each day's coverage ends with Inside MLB, its version of Inside the NBA.
All games in the Division Series round are presented back-to-back, with each game scheduled for a 3½-hour window. If a game exceeds this window, the first pitch of the next game will be switched to TNT. If a game ends within 3½ hours, the studio team will return for interstitial programming.
TBS switched the starts of four games to TNT in the Division Series round because the previous games exceeded the time limit. TNT was also scheduled to air game 4 of the Diamondbacks-Cubs series, which overlapped with game 3 of the Red Sox-Angels series, but the former game was not played; the night before, the D-Backs completed a three game sweep of the Cubs.
The on-screen score graphic covers the entire top of the screen, unlike the Braves TBS Baseball graphic, which only took up the left half of the top. The look is almost identical to that of from FOX's baseball coverage, except that the illustration of the basepaths is near the left side of the screen instead of flush on the right. The batting order starting lineup used since 2008 resembles that of a cellphone.
TBS does not show commercial breaks after the third and sixth innings. Instead, it airs a "Game Break" allowing the studio host and analysts more air time. The studio shows originate from Studio J in Atlanta, Georgia, the same one used for TNT's NBA coverage.
Sunday afternoon regular season coverage
TBS released a partial schedule of its inaugural slate of Sunday games on February 27 2008
. More games will be added as the season progresses, generally two weeks before each telecast date. TBS has the second pick of game after ESPN.
As with TNT's NBA playoff coverage, MLB playoff games on TBS are not made available to local over-the-air broadcasters in the participating teams' markets. Under the previous contract, ESPN
was required to make those games available on the air in local markets. Nonetheless, TBS and TNT are among the most widely distributed cable channels in the U.S.
League Championship Series
On October 17
, , TBS agreed to a seven year agreement with Major League Baseball
to broadcast the National League Championship Series
and American League Championship Series
in alternating years from 2007 to 2013. TBS will have the NLCS in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 and the ALCS in 2008, 2010 and 2012. As part of another deal reached earlier in the summer, FOX
will continue to broadcast the ALCS, in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, and the NLCS, in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
- Some sports media critics were critical of the announcers used in the coverage as being more skewed towards the National League than the American League, along with the choice of Caray as the lead voice of the network's coverage, as he had only done Braves baseball telecasts in the 2007 season before the launch of TBS' playoff coverage.
- Frank Thomas' work as a studio analyst was panned by various newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. His most notable moment came when he was asked three times whether he hated to face Angels' pitcher John Lackey or Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett more; he declined to respond each time. In fairness, Thomas is still an active player with the Oakland Athletics, a member of the American League along with the Angels and the Red Sox.
Digital on-screen graphics
Beginning with the 2007 postseason, the score bug was upgraded and changed to a banner, and the graphics package was changed as well. Also note that FOX Sports did the same thing three years prior, but they had the banner since 2001; FOX only changed the graphics package for the 2004 postseason.