No More Baseball On Afternoon TV -- `Baseball Night' Will Start In July

There used to be something special about Saturday afternoons in the summertime. You could make yourself a sandwich, grab your glove, flip on the TV set and catch the Game of the Week.

Times have changed.

Now look again. Coming soon to a TV screen near you: Baseball Night in America.

Gone forever are Saturday afternoon games on network television. Gone, too, is CBS, which lost about $500 million in its $1.06 billion deal with Major League Baseball. Back in as prime-time players are ABC and NBC, out of the game and on the bench since 1989.

Each will televise six games, usually on Friday or Saturday nights, leading to the new three-tier playoff format and a World Series that could end on Oct. 30 - the latest Game 7 in Series history.

But there's a catch. Viewers won't be seeing every postseason game as in past years. In fact, the League Championship Series, to be shown on NBC starting Oct. 11, will be a split national telecast. That means two games will be played at the same time and that each market will get just one game interspersed with highlights from the other.

The network also has opted to wait until July to start showing games in order to avoid a head-to-head mismatch with the NBA.