The National Broadcasting Company's affiliate in Washington, WRC-TV-4, did not show yesterday's Baltimore-Milwaukee game in Memorial Stadium because the Orioles have the option of blacking out the Washington-Baltimore market.
NBC's contract with major-league baseball puts the two cities in the same market. However, the American Broadcasting Company's contract separates Washington from Baltimore. As a result, today's game will be shown by WJLA-TV-7 at 3:05 p.m. whether it's sold out or not. A sellout is expected, which would put it on both ABC affiliates.
George Michael, sports director of WRC, said the station offered to buy the remaining tickets to yesterday's game, but the Orioles refused the offer. A crowd of 47,235 attended the game, about 4,000 less than capacity.
"This was part of not setting a precedent that might be damaging in the future," said Robert R. Aylward, director of business affairs for the Orioles. "To tell the fans that the game won't be on TV, then to change in the last two hours would not be fair to the people who bought tickets."
WRC reported it had about 1,500 complaints within the first hour after the Kansas City-Oakland game came on instead of the Orioles. The Orioles-Brewers game was joined in progress, in the eighth inning, after the completion of the Royals-A's.