Nationals Bump Red Sox-Yankees Playoff Chase Off the Air

By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 1, 2005

Television viewers in the Washington area who tune in to WTTG-5 at 1 p.m. today thinking they are going to see the critical New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park are in for a huge disappointment -- unless they are also big fans of "Stargate SG-1."

Because Channel 5 is committed to showing the Washington Nationals' game against the Philadelphia Phillies at 4 p.m. -- the game's start time was moved from 7:05 p.m. to accommodate Fox -- it cannot also show the earlier Yankees-Red Sox game, which could help decide the champion of the American League East division.

Instead, "Stargate SG-1" will air from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by "paid programming" -- which is to say, infomercials -- until the start of the Nationals-Phillies game.

Such is one of the joys of having a baseball team in Washington for the first time in 34 years. Even though the Nationals have been eliminated from the postseason chase -- the Phillies avoided elimination last night and trail Houston by one game in the NL wild-card race -- the local team's game takes precedence over the more compelling national game. Many Nationals fans have been frustrated all season by the team's lack of television presence.

Area fans with access to Baltimore stations are in luck: Fox affiliate WBFF-45 will show today's Yankees-Red Sox game.

Area baseball fans, however, can take solace in the fact ESPN will be airing tomorrow's Yankees-Red Sox game at 2 p.m. Also, ESPN2 will be devoted to baseball from 1 to 7 p.m., with potentially four games with playoff ramifications.

ESPN would also broadcast any one-game playoff games on Monday and Tuesday.

Staff writer Kerry Flagg contributed to this report.


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