The USA Thursday Game of the Week

The USA Thursday Game of the Week

The "USA Thursday Game of the Week" is a former television program that broadcast Major League Baseball games on the USA Network.

Background

In 1980, 22 teams (all but the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals) took part in a one-year cable deal with UA-Columbia (then owners of the USA Network). The deal involved the airing of a Thursday night "Game of the Week" in markets at least 50 miles (80 km) from a major league park [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9906E3DE1F38F931A25754C0A967948260&scp=2&sq=USA+Network+Baseball&st=nyt USA agreed to the baseball limitations rejected by ESPN and shows a Thursday-night game in cities that do not have a major-league team. In New York City, Manhattan Cable broadcasts USA's programs, but cannot televise the weekly baseball game because the Yankees and Mets declined to grant the waivers necessary under major-league statutes.] ] . The deal earned Major League Baseball less than $500,000, but led to a new two-year contract for 40-45 games per season. [ [http://roadsidephotos.com/baseball/nationalbroadcast.htm 1980-83: NBC and ABC pay $175 million to renew their packages for another four years. In addition, in 1980 22 teams (all but the Braves, Astros, Mets, Cardinals) take part in a one-year cable deal with UA-Columbia, airing a Thursday night Game of the Week in markets at least 50 miles from a major league park. The deal earns MLB less than $500,000, but leads to a new two-year contract for 40-45 games per season.] ] The program ran through the 1983 season.

Coverage history

The series began April 26, 1979 with a doubleheader: Cleveland at Kansas City [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA197904260.shtml Apr 26, 1979, Indians at Royals Play by Play and Box Score] ] (Jim Woods/Bud Harrelson) followed by Baltimore at California [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL197904260.shtml Apr 26, 1979, Orioles at Angels Play by Play and Box Score] ] (Monte Moore/Maury Wills). The second game of the night was typically, based out of the West Coast.

From 1980-1981, Jim Woods and Nelson Briles (replacing Bud Harrelson) did the early games (except for a game at Montreal on October 2, 1980, which reunited Jim Woods and Ned Martin) while Monte Moore and Wes Parker (replacing Maury Wills) called the late game.

In 1982, doubleheaders did not start until June 17. Prior to the doubleheaders starting, Monte Moore and Wes Parker did the individual game until then. When the doubleheaders finally began, Moore and Parker moved over to the late game for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Eddie Doucette (replacing Jim Woods) and Nelson Briles were assigned to call the early game.

USA continued with the plan of not starting doubleheaders until June in the final year of the package in 1983. Steve Zabriskie and Al Albert filled in for Eddie Doucette in September 1982 (Steve Grad also occasionally substituted) while Albert replaced Doucette for a game or more in 1983.

Memorable moments

One particular game of note was a Los Angeles Dodgers/St. Louis Cardinals game in 1981 (the last game before the strike) [ [http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN198106110.shtml Jun 11, 1981, Dodgers at Cardinals Play by Play and Box Score] ] . The game in question featured Fernando Valenzuela picking up his eighth consecutive win to start the season. Valenzuela gave up a home run in the ninth to tie the game 1-1, but Pedro Guerrero hit one himself in the bottom of the ninth for the win.

Announcers

*Al Albert (1982-1983)
*Nelson Briles (1980-1983)
*Eddie Doucette [ [http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wuwm/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=835861 "Where Are They Now:" Eddie Doucette] ] (1982-1983)
*Steve Grad [ [http://knx1070.com/pages/3274.php KNX - Steve Grad] ]
*Bud Harrelson (1979)
*Ned Martin (1980)
*Monte Moore (1979-1983)
*Wes Parker (1980-1983)
*Maury Wills (1979)
*Jim Woods (1979-1981)
*Steve Zabriskie [ [http://www.ultimatemets.com/profile.php?PlayerCode=6592 Ultimate Mets Database - Steve Zabriskie] ] (1982-1983)

References

ee also

*Major League Baseball on cable television
*"Thursday Night Baseball"

External links

* [http://www.dbsforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=72779 USA Network - Thursday Night Baseball]


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