It might be the apple of Major League Baseball’s eye. But to some fans, MLB’s decision to move two Friday night games each week from television to the Apple TV+ streaming service tastes more like a rotten piece of fruit.
Cardinals fans will get their first bite of the new setup Friday, when the team’s game in Cincinnati has been switched from usual carrier Bally Sports Midwest to Apple TV+.
This will be a simple adjustment for many tech-savvy fans, as Apple is neither requiring a subscription to its service in order to watch the contest nor charging a fee for individual games — at least through the first half of the season.
But for those who don’t have streaming access or don’t know how to connect — mostly older fans — it will lead to them being confounded or shut out. It is a similar situation to MLB selling games exclusively to Facebook and YouTube TV in recent years.
Friday’s Cards-Reds game starts a 5:40 p.m. (St. Louis time) and is followed on Apple by the Texas-Oakland contest. It is one of three Redbirds matchups being sent to the streaming service in a schedule that has been announced through June 24. Their next appearance also isn’t a marquee matchup, on May 20 at Pittsburgh. But No. 3 is a doozy — a home game against the Cubs on June 24 to start the only mid-summer weekend visit by the Cards’ biggest rival.
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In addition, Peacock has entered into a streaming-only deal with MLB in which it will televise games on Sundays. They will be morning starts for those in the Central and Eastern time zones. That schedule begins May 8 and runs through the remainder of the season.
The Cardinals are involved once — on May 22 (the same weekend as an Apple-only game) in Pittsburgh. That Sunday contest begins at 10:30 a.m. (St. Louis time), when Peacock’s first six games will start. Beginning June 19, they commence at 11 o’clock.
Connecting to Apple TV+
Here are the different ways to access Friday’s Cardinals-Reds telecast on Apple TV+, per Major League Baseball:
• Launch the Apple TV app and select the game directly from there.
• From the MLB.TV app, tap on Apple TV+ Game. You will be redirected to the Apple TV app (where available).
• Go to https://tv.apple.com/ and log in with — or create — an Apple ID.
It is recommended that those who have not watched Apple before try to connect early. The pregame show starts at 5:30 p.m.
On the air
Apple’s play-by-play of the game will be done by Melanie Newman, a Baltimore Orioles announcer. Commentators are former big-leaguer Chris Young and Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyse. Brooke Fletcher serves as the reporter.