FSN: Play Ball (Already?)


Viewers are going to have to get up early to catch the first pitch of the
2003 Major League Baseball season.

With its earliest start ever, MLB will begin its 2003 campaign March 25 with
the Seattle Mariners taking on the Oakland A's from Tokyo.

Fox Sports Net will cover the game nationally with the umpires expected to
yell "Play ball!" shortly after 5 a.m. The clubs meet again the following day,
and early risers or those just getting home can catch the action again at that

FSN's 21 regional sports channels are all tentatively scheduled to carry both
contests, sans FSN Northwest. That network, the Mariners' carrier, will replay
each game later that day in primetime.

The A's broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Greg Papa and analyst Ray
Fosse will furnish on-site coverage.

The telecasts feature three native Japanese players on the Mariners roster:
Ichiro Suzuki, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Shigetoshi Hasegawa.

On March 29 and 30, 2000, FSN telecast the first ever regular-season games
played outside of North America when the network aired the two-game set between
the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets, also from Tokyo.

"We are once again privileged to be the home for Major League Baseball's
season-opening series," FSN president Bob Thompson said in a prepared statement.
"Already home to more Major League Baseball than any other network, I can't
think of a better place than FSN for fans who want to see the season's first