Houston Astros fans might want to catch the season opener at 7 p.m. Sunday against the Texas Rangers on ESPN. It will be one of their rare TV appearances in their first season in the American League.
The Astros, parent club of the Oklahoma City RedHawks, also are making their debut on Comcast SportsNet Houston, which has yet to reach carriage agreements with any of the satellite distributors.
Astros fans also won't be able to watch the team on mlb.tv or the Extra Innings package as those games also will be blacked in out in the team's territory, which includes Oklahoma. With the team expected to struggle again, their fans might not want to watch the games anyway.
CSN Houston, which also airs the NBA's Rockets and Dynamo soccer team, also is struggling to be picked up by cable systems in the Houston area.
Bill Brown, 65, returns as the team's TV voice, but he plans to work only about 100 of the network's 157 games. Alan Ashby will be the analyst and handle play-by-play when Brown is off. Geoff Blum, a former Astros utility player, will be the substitute analyst.
Fox Sports Southwest is carrying 127 Rangers' telecasts this season, with most of those available on Fox Sports Oklahoma except when there are conflicts with Thunder games. KSBI-52 also is carrying the 25-game Friday night package.
Steve Busby who replaced Dave Barnett in midseason, returns as play-by-play announcer, working with longtime analyst Tom Grieve. Reporter Jim Knox and Emily Jones, who is expecting a child in June, also will work home games.