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Published: 2/23/2007

Tigers, Tribe rally to load local airwaves

Listen up, baseball fanatics.

If you root for the Detroit Tigers or Cleveland Indians, you'll want to keep the remote control within reaching distance of your Barcalounger this season.

There will be oodles of chances to sit back, relax, and enjoy America's pastime. The Toledo airwaves will be saturated with Tigers and Indians games.

Fox Sports Net Detroit is scheduled to carry 134 regular-season Tigers games and four more spring training contests, beginning next month. Local affiliate WUPW-TV, Channel 36, will air 22 additional Detroit games, said general manager Ray Maselli, including eight that are part of Fox's Saturday telecast schedule.

Three other Tigers games appear headed for BCSN and two are part of ESPN's Sunday night package, including the May 27 date against the Tribe.

All of Detroit's 162 regular-season games can be seen here, except for the April 7 matinee at Kansas City, which fell victim to baseball's blackout rule: No game starting later than 1:10 p.m. or earlier than 7:05 p.m. - the Tigers and Royals battle at 2:10 - can be televised on a Saturday in which Fox has a scheduled game.

There are three other April dates where FSN Detroit has a conflict involving the Red Wings or Pistons. Those Tigers games will be televised on FSN PLUS, a new alternate channel that will be available on the Buckeye CableSystem. Buckeye is owned by Block Communications Inc., which also owns The Blade.

As for the Indians, SportsTime Ohio plans to televise 141 regular-season games - another is on ESPN - and eight spring training contests.

BCSN has offered to pick up Cleveland's 20 remaining games that have been made available, said Nancy Duwve, director of local stations for Buckeye. However, STO president Jim Liberatore said he is still negotiating with other Toledo stations to carry the additional games.

"Our first goal is to get some games on free TV," said Liberatore, whose Indians-owned cable outlet will broadcast 88 games in high definition. "We have some Toledo stations that are interested in carrying some games, but we'd like them to carry all 20. But if that doesn't work out, Buckeye is a great backup plan."

FSN Detroit, the regional cable channel in Michigan which has won three Emmys for its Tigers coverage, broadcast 85 games in 1998, 100 a year from 1999-2004, 110 in 2005, and 112 last season during the team's American League championship run.

"The number of games being televised in 2007 will allow fans to follow the team every day and build on the momentum and enthusiasm created by our trip to the World Series," said Duane McLean, the Tigers' senior vice president of business operations.

No television handy? There are some radio alternatives here in Toledo. Cleveland fans can follow the Tribe on radio station WCWA-AM, 1230.

Detroit fans won't be so lucky. The Tigers' main affiliate, WLQR-AM, 1470, has a deal to carry the Triple-A Mud Hens.

That means only 58 Tigers regular-season games will be heard live on the Cumulus station, according to program director Norm Wamer. An additional 22 games will be joined in progress, with nine dates still up in the air.

Don't fret.

There will be plenty of chances to wave your homer hanky.



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