Slugger Aaron Judge is chasing baseball history. So where can you watch it?
The New York Yankees outfielder is on the brink of hitting the most home runs in American League history as he sits on 60 for the season. The current record is 61, which was set in 1961 by another Yankees outfielder, Roger Maris. (The overall record for a season is 73 by San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds. That record was set in the National League in 2001.)
On Friday night, game two of the series between the Yankees and its hated rival, the Boston Red Sox, will broadcast at 7 pm ET on Apple TV+’s “Friday Night Baseball,” which is free for anyone with internet access.
The game will be called by Stephen Nelson, Hunter Pence, Katie Nolan and Heidi Watney. However, reports have suggested that Michael Kay, the announcer for the Yankees regional sports network YES, could also join the booth for the potentially historic moment.
In fact, fans could see two historic home runs on Friday night on Apple TV+ since the service also has the exclusive rights to the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. That game, which is the second of the doubleheader, could see Cardinals outfielder Albert Pujols hit his 700th home run of his career. He currently sits at 698.
While the broadcast schedule can be perplexing, Friday night is a big moment for Apple
(AAPL) and Major League Baseball.
For Apple, Judge’s historic moment could drive fans to the streaming service for the first time. Will that lead to more paid sign-ups for the service? It’s unclear, but it’s a great promotional tool for Apple as it tries to grow its streaming endeavors.
As for MLB, putting more games on streaming helps the league reach a potentially younger audience. Traditional TV continues to be king for live sports, but if streaming is the future then it’s smart for MLB to future proof its product by being on digital services as well. This is why baseball has made deals with platforms like NBC’s Peacock and YouTube to showcase games.
The challenge is that baseball is a very traditional sport that’s been around for more than century, so any change — even a slight one — can be a shock to the system for fans. This is especially the case for older baseball viewers who may not know how to use digital services like Apple TV+, or might not have internet at all to access it.
But if Judge fails to break the record on Friday night then viewers have the chance to see him do so a few times this weekend the old-fashioned way.
Game 3 of the New York/Boston series will air at 1 pm ET on Saturday on MLB Network, the league’s cable channel, unless you’re in New York or Boston in which the game will broadcast on the team’s regional sports networks. Then game 4 will be on Sunday on ESPN and ESPN 2 at 7 pm ET for “Sunday Night Baseball.”