Aaron Judge has been chasing Roger Maris for the better part of this season. And now, as Judge gets set to break the American League record of 61 home runs in a season, fans will embark on a chase of their own – to catch Judge’s at-bats across multiple TV networks this weekend.
The good news: Judge and the New York Yankees’ three remaining games against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium are all nationally televised. The less-good news: Friday’s game will be broadcast by Apple TV+, a nascent platform for sports broadcasting with which a majority of fans are unfamiliar.
Apple’s deal with MLB grants it exclusivity for two games each Friday, a deal that has rankled baseball fans accustomed to streaming any game it would like via MLB TV or watch through its local announcers. Still, the vast majority of games shifted to Apple TV+ haven’t resonated beyond a local audience.
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That will change Friday night, when the streaming service hits the jackpot with exclusive rights to a potentially iconic moment. Like ESPN and TBS, Apple TV+’s Friday night offerings are viewed by MLB as widely distributed games via a national partner. Friday’s game, then, will not have live cut-ins to Judge’s at-bats, although they should be aired shortly after on MLB Network.
While the vast majority of viewers will see national announcing teams this weekend, that doesn’t mean the Yankees’ crew led by Michael Kay will be totally shut out. A look at how and when to watch Judge aim for home runs Nos. 61 and 62 against the Red Sox:
Friday: Apple TV+
Time: 7:05 ET
Opposing pitcher: LH Rich Hill
Announcers: Stephen Nelson, Hunter Pence, Katie Nolan, Heidi Watney
How to watch: The game will be available free on Apple TV+, and most iPhone and iPad users should have the app already installed on their device (even if you’ve never noticed it before). It’s also relatively easy to download and view on most “smart” TVs. Yet the game isn’t just available to disciples of Steve Jobs; Apple TV+ is also accessible to Android users, who will need to access it via browser rather than the app marketplace.
Both MLB and Apple have extensive instructions on how to access Apple TV+. To avoid a last-minute scramble trying to access the broadcast as Judge strolls to the plate, make sure you’ve created an Apple ID.
To the uninitiated, MLB and Apple struck a deal to exclusively stream two games every Friday night, with limits on how often certain teams could be featured. (Friday’s late game, in fact, features Cardinals-Dodgers and Albert Pujols, but he needs two home runs to hit the 700 milestone). As fate would have it, Apple nailed it in choosing this Red Sox-Yankees matchup, which has minimal ramifications for the pennant race but, thanks to Judge, significant historic value.
Saturday: MLB Network
Time: 1:05 ET
Opposing pitcher: RH Nick Pivetta
Announcers: Bob Costas, Tom Verducci, Jon Morosi
How to watch: Yankee fans in the “tri-state area” will be able to watch as always: On the YES Network, with Kay on the mic. The rest of the country will be able to watch on relatively basic cable. If you’re outside the New York area but want to hear Kay’s pipes on the call, the game should be available for streaming on MLB.TV.
Additionally, since MLB Network is owned by the league and not a broadcast partner, ESPN/ABC will, if inclined, be allowed to air the at-bats live.
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Time: 7:08 ET
Opposing pitcher: RH Brayan Bello
Announcers: Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez, David Cone, Buster Olney
How to watch: MLB’s most reliable TV slot – Sunday Night Baseball – comes to the rescue. Sure, the iconic franchise has overserved us with Yankees-Red Sox over the past two decades, but this time it puts a potentially massive game on the platform it deserves.
And yes, even Kay gets a piece of the action. He’ll be available on ESPN2 alongside Alex Rodriguez for the alternate telecast, which hasn’t caught on in the manner the “Manningcast” has for Monday Night Football. It will, however, provide Kay a platform to fete Judge’s historic longball with a “See ya!” if he’s so inclined.