The Washington Nationals are World Series champions, but it seems like ESPN may not have gotten the memo about that.
ESPN released the schedule for the first 16 Sunday Night Baseball games of the upcoming 2020 season, and the Nationals are nowhere to be found. Not one of the first 16 games of ESPN’s marquee baseball program will feature the 2019 champs.
The schedule isn’t complete (the entirety of September has yet to be announced, as well as several Sundays in July and August) but the absence of the Nationals on the early part of the schedule is glaring — especially considering some of the other teams being featured.
The New York Mets, who play in the same division as the Nationals, are featured three times. The Mets haven’t been to the playoffs since 2015, almost five years ago. The San Francisco Giants, who are embarking on a rebuild and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2016, are featured twice.
On the whole, it appears that ESPN is featuring teams from the country’s biggest cities, as well as key divisional matchups. The Boston Red Sox had an abysmal 2019 but are still one of baseball’s marquee franchises. Same for the Chicago Cubs, who missed the playoffs last season but are still immensely popular.
It’s puzzling, though, that ESPN chose to feature a game between the Mets and Atlanta Braves, National League East foes, instead of a game between the Nationals and the Mets or Braves. And while a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals is a key NL Central battle, a game between two smaller market teams isn’t as compelling as one between the World Series champs and, well, nearly any other team.
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