Start times in the post-season are always a little different from the usual. With the games being played for the benefit of a national audience, the typical first pitch in Arizona of 6:40pm is too late for an East coast audience. [We know this, because of the load complaints from DC about such things!] So even weekday playoff games tend to be time-shifted earlier as a result, especially if they’re the only one on the schedule; it’s different if there are multiple contests taking place on the same day.
That’s the case for the two wild-card games, and the start times were announced for both contests earlier this morning.
The American League gets under way at 5pm on Tuesday, with the New York Yankees almost certainly hosting the Minnesota Twins - the Twins are five up on the Angels with six to play, and five back of the Yankees for home-field. Then, on Wednesday, the Diamondbacks will host, probably the Colorado Rockies, who are 1.5 up on the Brewers, again with a 5pm start. Of course, there will no doubt be a good deal of pre-contest pomp and circumstance to get through for both games before an actual pitch is thrown. [Officially scheduled for 5:08pm!] But at least you can now schedule those 4pm meetings with Mr. M. Mouse, to make sure you’re out the door on time!
The D-backs contest will be screened on TBS, the Yankees one on ESPN. If they have the same personnel as last time, that means play-by-play for us could involve Ernie Johnson, Jr., Brian Anderson or Don Orsillo, with color commentary from Ron Darling, Cal Ripken, Jr., Dennis Eckersley and Joe Simpson. I have no particular opinions on this, because the last time I watched a baseball game on TBS was Game 5 of the National League Division Series in 2011. I can’t remember whether they were any good or not. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.
The gates into the park will open at 3pm, with pre-game ceremonies starting at 4:30pm. If you’re going to Chase Field, that start time will mean that you’re going to be in the middle of rush hour in downtown Phoenix. The game has already sold out, as we noted yesterday, and security will likely be a little bit stricter than usual, so it’s going to take longer than usual to get through the gates. I’d definitely recommend allowing a good chunk of extra time, and getting there earlier than normal. You might as well, and take advantage of a chance to soak up the atmosphere of the first post-season game to be held at Chase Field in close to six years!