Playing on Sunday Night Baseball is not just another game for Orioles

April 14, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK — Under manager Buck Showalter, the Orioles enjoy being a team that few take notice of on the national stage.

They will be front and center in the baseball spotlight for their first nationally televised Sunday night game in five seasons.

Tonight’s ESPN-televised game against the Yankees is first time the Orioles have appeared on Sunday Night Baseball since Sept. 21, 2008, which was the final game at the old Yankee Stadium.

All other games will be completed by the time the Orioles and Yankees start play tonight at 8:05.

“It’s not just another game,” Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. “It’s Sunday Night Baseball. The whole league watches this game. Most of the world watches it. … The eyes of the public will be on us.

“The Yankees have been on Sunday Night Baseball for as long as I can remember. But you, know, hey, we put our own expectations on ourselves and we’re cool with that.”

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball isn't only broadcast in the US, but also in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Showalter said his team realizes that they’re playing on national television not necessarily because of last year’s success – this is their only scheduled appearance on Sunday Night Baseball -- but more because they’re playing the Yankees, who are a regular on Sunday Night Baseball.

“It’s probably more about showcasing the Yankees but we’re happy to be a part of it,” Showalter said. “They’ve had more experience in this. ... The Yankees, I have a lot of respect for them because they’ve had [these games] for quite a while. They’ve been playing these games. I’m sure it’s been a challenge for them traveling and sleep habits and stuff, and they’ve seemed to handle it real well. I’m glad we have a semi-off day tomorrow.

All but three Sunday Night Baseball selections through July 21 -- when the Yankees will make another appearance on that date against the Red Sox -- were made in mid-January. Games in August and September will be made two weeks in advance, so the Orioles could potentially appear again later in the season if they remain competitive.

“People are watching every day, but now you have the national attention,” Jones said. “We’re just going to go out there and play ball and compete. All the other stuff doesn’t matter.”

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