Fox to put a lot more Saturday games in prime time this season

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I don’t know about you, but my summer Saturday afternoons are filled with shopping, cleaning, kids’ birthday parties, trips to the community pool and drinking beer while staring into the middle distance and wondering, if I jumped into my car and drove west with a purpose, how far I’d get before the authorities caught up with me and brought me back to the domestic existence from which I have no hope of escaping until at least the summer of 2023 when my son goes away to college.

Sorry. I may have said too much there.

The point is, it’s often very hard for me to find time to sit down and watch a baseball game on Saturday afternoon.  Last year Fox, realizing this, moved a couple to prime time where, amazingly, the ratings were higher.  So this year they’re doing it with several more games:

The latest attempt to turn TV’s least-watched night into a showcase for sports: Fox’s regular-season baseball will move to Saturday prime time (7 ET) for eight weeks in a row. The move, to be formally announced today, will start May 19 with regionalized coverage of five games, led by Boston Red Sox-Philadelphia Phillies. Fox’s idea is to package five or six games in prime time, compared with the usual three in Fox’s afternoon slots, offering options to swing viewers between games and, when games end quickly, switch to other games.

Given how much success ABC and ESPN have had with college football on Saturday nights, it makes perfect sense that baseball would do better in the evening hours than it does in the afternoon.  Yes, the big drawback is that it messes with local broadcasts of non-national games — the blackout rules will still apply, it seems — but it’s probably better for MLB to have another prime time national showcase apart from Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.

Reds to interview John Farrell

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MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds will interview John Farrell as the club attempts to find a full-time manager. Dick Williams, the Reds’ president of baseball operations, has already interviewed Pat Kelly, Billy Hatcher, and Freddie Benavides. Interim manager Jim Riggleman will be interviewed after the season. Williams clarified that Barry Larkin is not a candidate. Per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, Williams hopes to have a new manager in place by the end of October.

The Reds got off to an abysmal 3-15 start, prompting the organization to fire Bryan Price. Riggleman took over in his place and the team seemed to respond, playing .500 ball under his leadership through the end of June. The club eventually fell back to earth, going 9-19 in August and is currently 9-13 in September.

Farrell, 56, managed the Blue Jays for two seasons in 2011-12, then took over at the helm of the Red Sox between 2013-17. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2013 and made the playoffs in three of his five seasons in Boston.