CUPERTINO, California — Apple TV+ will kick off the second season of “Friday Night Baseball” on April 7. The Cubs will host the Texas Rangers in a one-day game, followed by the San Diego Padres taking on the Atlanta Braves.
Apple will carry twin charges for 25 weeks with no local blackout restrictions. Changed from last year, when there was a double-leadership on the East and West coasts, the two games will take place concurrently most weeks.
Fans in 60 countries will be able to access the game, which was only available 12 seasons ago. An Apple TV+ subscription is required, unlike last season.
The biggest change fans will notice is a two-person booth instead of three. Wayne Randazzo will team up with Dontrelle Willis for one of the crew with partners Alex Faust and Ryan Spilborghs for the other. Heidi Watney and Tricia Whitaker will be field reporters.
Apple heard criticism last year that the three-person booth didn't focus enough on gaming.
With many rule changes this season, including shift bans and bowling hours, former umpires Brian Gorman and Dale Scott have been hired to serve as rule analysts during games.
Pregame and postgame coverage will be hosted by Lauren Gardner, along with Siera Santos. Xavier Scruggs, Matt Joyce and Russell Dorsey will serve as analysts.
Apple and MLB have announced game schedules through the end of June. The Milwaukee Brewers have the most appearances with four while the White Sox, Braves, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates each have made three appearances.
The defending World Series champions the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees have two appearances.
Baseball was Apple's first live sport last year. Since then it has added Major League Soccer.
Restaurants, bars, hotels and other commercial establishments that own DirecTV for Business will be able to stream Apple TV+ games on their satellite devices. DirecTV for Business also has the same arrangement as MLS for its Season Pass package as well as Amazon Prime Video for NFL “Thursday Night Football”.