ESPN recently announced the 2017 early-season Sunday Night Baseball schedule, featuring five appearances by the World Champion Chicago Cubs. The schedule includes marquee matchups between top teams and the return of play-by-play commentator Dan Shulman and analysts Jessica Mendoza and Aaron Boone as the team in the booth for their second season.
“I’m very excited to see the first part of our 2017 Sunday Night Baseball schedule,” Shulman said. “Kicking it off with the World Series champions taking on their arch rivals, St. Louis, is a terrific way to get things started and having matchups like Cubs-Boston Red Sox and Cubs-New York Yankees early on is definitely something to look forward to.”
This will be Shulman’s seventh year as the voice on Sunday Night Baseball.
“I know our whole group is really looking forward to the season,” he said. “Baseball always provides compelling storylines and great races and 2017 should be no different.”
There is a great deal of planning that goes in to constructing the Sunday Night Baseball schedule. Rick Mace, associate manager, Programming, described the process from his perspective.
“No one game is ever chosen in a vacuum,” Mace said. “The goal is to put together the best plan for all 26 weeks. There are a great amount of factors that need to be balanced to get to the end result. The process of putting this together started last August and stays in motion until the end of December as the MLB landscape evolves.”
In addition to game selection, another aspect of programming the Sunday Night Baseball schedule involves working with Major League Baseball to ensure success for all parties.
“Our partnership with MLB has never been stronger and this year’s schedule was achieved through a tremendous amount of collaboration,” Mace said. “We are thrilled to have been able to put together what we feel is a very strong 2017 schedule for Sunday Night Baseball.”
In addition to the matchups, some telecasts will capture special tributes and celebrations by teams leading into the games.
“The 2017 schedule looks to feature strong rivalry matchups including some unique nights like the Cubs home opener, Derek Jeter’s number retirement ceremony at Yankee Stadium and a few surprises to be announced down the road,” Mace said. “Overall we feel that 2017 has the potential to be a special season for Sunday Night Baseball.”