Some media notes on a Thursday:
▪ If the Heat can wrap up the number one seed – and Miami’s magic number is one – then a long rest awaits.
The NBA confirmed Thursday that the top seeds from each conference will not start the playoffs until Sunday, April 17.
If the Heat clinch the top seed, Miami’s potential first-round opponents would be Brooklyn, Cleveland, Atlanta or Charlotte. The Heat would open one of those best seven series at FTX Arena.
Game 1 of a Heat-Brooklyn game has a good chance of landing in a mid-afternoon window on ABC this Easter Sunday.
If the Heat take on the Cavaliers, Hawks, or Hornets, the game has a better chance of airing on TNT in the late afternoon or early evening.
ABC could opt for the No. 1 seeded Phoenix Suns’ first game instead of a Heat game not involving Brooklyn.
A potential Suns-Clippers matchup could be of interest to ABC, should Minnesota beat Los Angeles in the playoff 7-8. A Suns-Timberwolves game — measured on a national call against a Heat game against Cleveland or Atlanta — would seem like a tougher call for ABC and the NBA.
Golden State-Denver is another likely first-round series that could warrant ABC consideration for a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon window.
Last season, the NBA scheduled Eastern Conference playoff games one night and Western Conference playoff games another.
The NBA is taking a different approach this year. The two qualifying matches involving the seventh and eighth seeds will be played on TNT on Tuesday, with the winner of those matches playing the second seed in the first round.
The two qualifying games involving the ninth and 10th seeds will be played Wednesday on ESPN, with the winner of those games playing the loser of the games 7-8 Friday night for the right to play the No. 1 seed in each conference in series starting on Sunday, April 17.
Half of the NBA’s 16 playoff teams will begin their first-round series on Saturday, April 16.
The Heat close out the regular season at 7 p.m. Sunday in Orlando on Bally Sports Sun.
▪ There are plenty of MLB TV changes, beyond the changes announced by the Marlins (and their new five analyst TV plan) that we have detailed here.
Other changes include: TBS adds a new Tuesday night package; ESPN dropped weekday games but retains Sunday night baseball; and two streaming services (Apple TV and Peacock) are getting exclusive regular games.
Peacock — which is NBC’s streaming service — will air games typically at noon on Sundays, including the Marlins’ June 26 appearances against the Mets and August 28 against the Dodgers. These games cannot be streamed on Bally Sports Florida or elsewhere.
Apple TV Plus will offer Friday night double headers, which will be available in the United States, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. They’ll be free, at least initially, on any device that can play Apple TV content, but a subscription will eventually be required.
Apple has announced its Friday night lineup through June 24, and no Marlins game is scheduled.
▪ Good to see TBS split game by game on the Tuesday night MLB package between Bob Costas and Brian Anderson.
Costas will make several games early, while Anderson is busy with the NBA playoffs.
Costas — the former MLB player for NBC and one of the leading sportscasters of his generation — hasn’t regularly called baseball on any network other than MLB Network for many years.
▪ Fox is promoting Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Joe Davis to replace ESPN-linked Joe Buck as the main voice of baseball, which includes the World Series.
Davis — who blasted that wild Saturday Night Dolphins-Raiders game on NFL Network two years ago — is basically sound and has a pleasant voice but lacks charisma or personality.
A Davis-John Smoltz couple could use a lively and energetic third voice.
On ESPN, Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez replace Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball team, starting with the Braves-Reds opener on ESPN2 Thursday night.
Rodriguez moves on to a “KayRod Cast,” ESPN Sunday Night Baseball’s new alternative presentation featuring Rodriguez and Yankees announcer Michael Kay.
▪ Bally Sports will offer 160 Marlins games – all available to them. Most will be on Bally Sports Florida this season. Six in April will air on Bally Sports Sun due to conflicts with other programs.
JP Arencibia will be the analyst (alongside play-by-play man Paul Severino) for the first five games of the series at the Giants and Angels. Tommy Hutton returns to the stand during the second half of the Marlins opening homestand.
▪ Jorge Sedano, Dusty Dvoracek and Sam Acho will call UM’s spring game at noon April 16 on ACC Network from Fort Lauderdale.
Here is my Thursday 6 pack with lots of Miami hurricane news.
Here’s my Thursday 6-pack with lots of Miami Dolphins news.
This story was originally published April 7, 2022 5:30 p.m.