CBS Sports and Minor League Baseball announced yesterday that they have come to another agreement to televise ten minor league baseball games on the CBS Sports Network. Once again, CBS had decided to feature a Cubs/Cardinals matchup as they will show the Memphis Redbirds taking on the Iowa Cubs on July 16. Unlike last season's game in Memphis, this year's game will be played at Principal Park in Des Moines.
Additionally, CBS Sports will be in Kodak, Tennessee on June 18 to see the Smokies take on the Mississippi Braves. So there will be two opportunities to see Cubs minor leaguers in action.
Iowa's game will be during the final day of the MLB All-Star Break, so there will be no major league games to distract you from watching the I-Cubs. Plus, at the end of the now four-day All-Star Break, you'll probably be starving for baseball by then.
The Smokies game, unfortunately, will be on the air at the same time the Cubs are taking on the Indians in Cleveland.
For those of you who don't subscribe to milb.tv, this gives you a chance to see Cubs minor leaguers before they reach Wrigley. For those of you who do, it's a chance to see the Cubs minor leaguers play in full HD.
After the events of the past week, I'm not going to even try to project who will be on these rosters when the games are played. But you know the strength of the Cubs minor leagues and there will almost certainly be top prospects in both games.
One of the biggest complaints about last season's game was that the broadcast spent a lot of time talking about the Redbirds and the city of Memphis. At times, the broadcast became an advertisement for the Memphis tourism board. That's to be expected and such talk is no doubt part of the agreement to televise the games. But this time, the talk should center around Des Moines and the I-Cubs, so it should be more agreeable to Cubs fans. On top of that, there will be one broadcast from Eastern Tennessee and there will no doubt be a lot of talk about the attractions there.
(The other complaint about last year's game was that Memphis pitcher Tim Cooney had a no-hitter going until Arismendy Alcantara broke it up with two outs in the ninth. But while that wasn't the performance we wanted to see out of Iowa, it certainly made for gripping television.)
The full list of games to be televised on the CBS Sports Network is as follows. All of the games are on Thursdays, which is usually a day with a lot of major league off-days and day games.
- May 28: El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres) at Round Rock Express (Rangers), 7 p.m. CT
- June 4: Salt Lake Bees (Angels) at Nashville Sounds (Athletics), 7 p.m. CT
- June 11: Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals) at Tulsa Drillers (Dodgers), 7 p.m. CT
- June 18: Mississippi Braves (Braves) at Tennessee Smokies (Cubs), 6 p.m. CT
- June 25: Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers) at Durham Bulls (Rays), 6 p.m. CT
- July 9: Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers) at Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals), 7 p.m. CT
- July 16: Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals) at Iowa Cubs (Cubs), 7 p.m. CT
- July 23: Altoona Curve (Pirates) at Akron RubberDucks (Indians), 6 p.m. CT
- July 30: Lexington Legends (Royals) at Greenville Drive (Red Sox), 6 p.m. CT
- August 6: El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres) at Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies), 8 p.m. CT
We'll have more on these games as they get closer and we'll no doubt have a game thread for the Iowa game at least.