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Published: Sunday, 4/1/2007

TV plans to run the bases for Tigers, Indians

Opening Day in baseball is an American tradition.

The unofficial holiday doesn t always debut with warm weather here in the Midwest, but the day is still littered with warm and fuzzy memories, not to mention plenty of pageantry.

The World Series runner-up Detroit Tigers play their home opener tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians will be in the Windy City for a 2:05 matinee against the 2005 World Series champion Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

Manager Jim Leyland s Tigers will be out to prove they are more than just one-year wonders, while Eric Wedge s Indians will be trying to rebound from last year s disappointing season.

Fox Sports Net Detroit and SportsTime Ohio, operated by the Dolan family which also owns the Indians, plan to blanket their respective teams from Opening Day to the final game of the season.

It will be all Tigers all the time for FSN Detroit, starting with its 36-inning marathon today at noon.

The day-and-a-half of Tigers programming on the regional sports cable network will include replays of six games from the 2006 postseason, a brand new installment of Spotlight profiling president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski tonight at 7:30 and a live, one-hour special edition of Tigers Live from 8-9 p.m. that will preview the team. Tomorrow s Opening Day coverage on FSN Detroit not only will include the game, it will feature an installment of Tigers Live before and after the game.

Tigers Live normally will consist of a 30-minute pre-game show, but Opening Day will be slightly different; it will start at noon and last an hour. FSN Detroit will also be on the air for at least a half hour of post-game coverage tomorrow. That format will follow all nighttime telecasts throughout the 2007 season.

In all, FSN Detroit is scheduled to devote nearly 600 hours to Tigers-related programming this season, including 60 games which will be delivered in high-definition.

STO also plans to deliver several new features during Indians games, including exclusive reports from Wedge that will air during the on-deck preview show, as well as at various other times.

I am looking forward to sharing some insight with our fans on a regular basis throughout the season, Wedge said. I think, when appropriate, I ll be able to offer some insight as to what goes on behind the scenes.

Advanced features on STO, which will air 24/7 beginning today, will be complemented by a new graphics package that includes a pitch track, zoom lens, batters spray chart and text messaging capabilities.

Nothing, though, should stand out more than the AL Central battle itself.

Detroit is hoping to win the World Series this season after losing to the St. Louis Cardinals last year. No team has accomplished that feat since the Oakland Athletics in 1989.

Cleveland would like nothing better than to dethrone Leyland s Tigers and reach the World Series.

The last time the Indians advanced to the Fall Classic was in 1997 when they lost to Leyland and the underdog Florida Marlins.

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