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Nationals to open season on ESPN, still no Sunday Night Baseball appearances

Nationals to open season on ESPN, still no Sunday Night Baseball appearances

When the 2020 MLB season kicks off on Opening Day, the Nationals will be front and center.

The defending World Series champions’ matchup with the New York Mets will be broadcast nationally as part of an ESPN triple-header, according to a press release from the commissioner’s office. All 32 teams will play their first game of the season March 26, with the Nationals’ contest beginning at 1:10 p.m. ET.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants will face off at 4:10 before the Houston Astros take on the Los Angeles Angels at 7:10. ESPN is slated to air seven more games during the first week of the season as well.

This news comes just under a month after ESPN released its Sunday Night Baseball schedule through July 19. But despite the Nationals winning the World Series, playing in one of the biggest media markets in the sport and employing a host of stars ranging from Juan Soto to Max Scherzer, Washington wasn’t slated for a single Sunday Night Baseball game.

It was an odd wrinkle, especially considering teams like the Mets, who missed the playoffs, will be shown twice while the Milwaukee Brewers, who lost to the Nationals in the Wild Card Game, had three games selected.

Washington’s second game of the year will also be nationally televised, with that on FOX Sports 1.

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Former National Michael Morse says 60 games isn't enough to crown World Series champ

Former National Michael Morse says 60 games isn't enough to crown World Series champ

Add former National Michael Morse to the list of people that want an asterisk on the 2020 World Series champion

One of the biggest topics of conversation surrounding Major League Baseball's shortened season is whether or not this year's champion will have really "earned it" the way past winners have.

Playing almost 100 fewer regular season games clearly doesn't work for Morse.

RELATED: ROB MANFRED SAYS BASEBALL IS STILL BEING PLAYED AFTER REPORTS OF POSSIBLE SHUTDOWN

What's made baseball's situation more difficult than the NBA and NHL is the fact the regular season hadn't yet started when sports were first shut down. A 60 game schedule is even tougher for so many to accept because of the fact that the sport takes pride in its longevity. Baseball is supposed to be a marathon, and 60 games versus 162 and expanded playoffs are clearly very different. 

That being said, with so many other factors surrounding the sport like the mental toll this pandemic and MLB restrictions can have on players, it's fair to say this is still an incredibly difficult landscape to win in, 60 games or not. 

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The Mets found Yoenis Céspedes and he’s decided to opt out of the 2020 season

The Mets found Yoenis Céspedes and he’s decided to opt out of the 2020 season

Mets outfielder Yoenis Céspedes has opted out of the 2020 season, but not without a Mets-esque fiasco unfolding in the hours leading up to the announcement.

Céspedes decided not to report to Truist Park in Atlanta for the Mets’ game against the Braves on Sunday but never informed the team of that decision. New York sent a press release to reporters saying Céspedes was not at the stadium and the team had to that point been unable to contact him.

While the Mets played the Braves in a game that ended 4-0 in favor of Atlanta, a security team was reportedly sent to Céspedes’ hotel room. They found the room empty and both Céspedes and his belongings gone. When the team finally tracked down his agent, he told them he had decided not to play the rest of season for “COVID-related reasons.”

RELATED: ROB MANFRED SAYS BASEBALL IS STILL BEING PLAYED AFTER REPORTS OF POSSIBLE SHUTDOWN

The two-time All-Star’s decision comes on the heels of coronavirus outbreaks in two clubhouses (Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals) within the first 10 days of the season. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain, who was supposed to play the Cardinals this weekend, announced through the team his decision to opt out on Saturday.

Evidently, Céspedes didn’t take the same approach that Cain did. Céspedes has played eight games this season after missing nearly two years with various injuries. The Mets were playing him exclusively at designated hitter in an effort to keep him healthy and work him up to eventually returning back to his natural position in the outfield.

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