National TV plans lead to tweak of Bucs' schedule
The Pirates' 2015 schedule has been adjusted to oblige national networks' plans to telecast potential pennant-drive games from PNC Park. The starting times of four games have been altered, also triggering changes in the club's promotions lineup.
Leading off, the Pirates will be making their second Sunday Night Baseball appearance in as many years, when they host the Cardinals on July 12, thus switched from 1:35 p.m. ET to 8:05 p.m. The July 11 game with St. Louis will also be nationally televised, by FOX, and start at 7:15 p.m. instead of the previously scheduled 4:05 p.m.
A pair of Saturday games on FoxSports1's national slate has been moved from 7:05 p.m. to 4:05 p.m. -- Aug. 8 against the Dodgers and Aug. 22 versus the Giants.
Interest in that Aug. 8 game is partly driven by rookie infielder Jung Ho Kang, who could have his first Major League meeting with Korean countryman and Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu during that series.
The earlier start times will prevent the Zambelli fireworks scheduled to follow those two August games. The Fan Jam concert originally set for Oct. 3 has been moved up to Aug. 8.
Replacement postgame fireworks shows have been scheduled following 7:05 p.m. games on June 24 and Oct. 3, both against the Cincinnati Reds.
As an added note, the time of the Oct. 4 regular-season-ender, also against the Reds, has been moved back to 3:05 p.m., in response to an MLB initiative for most games on the regular season's final day to have a first pitch around 3 p.m. ET.