Pawtucket Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes will get the start in tonightâ€™s nationally-televised International League game against the Indianapolis Indians at McCoy Stadium.
PAWTUCKET â€” To get picked first is always a noteworthy feat, not to mention the declaration of admiration and high regard that such a choice implies.
To get selected for the first broadcast in conjunction with CBS Sports Networkâ€™s Minor League Baseball Game of the Week package further legitimizes the Pawtucket Red Sox as a national brand within this cottage industry of cultivating and developing the next wave of major league hopefuls.
In the eyes of PawSox president Mike Tamburro, itâ€™s also humbling and flattering. CBS officials could have kicked off this new wave of spring and summertime programming anywhere, yet they anointed McCoy Stadium as the pick of the litter.
The lights will shine a little brighter at the venerable ballpark Thursday evening when the PawSox host the Indianapolis Indians. The national cameras will be rolling for the 7:05 p.m. start with CBS Sports Network producing the contest. For the Rhode Island audience, itâ€™s Channel 135 on Cox Cable and Channel 94 for Verizon Fios subscribers.
Thursdayâ€™s game marks the first time since the 2004 Triple-A All-Star Game that McCoy will be on display for the entire country to see.
â€śItâ€™s a great thrill for us to welcome back the national audience. Itâ€™s great for city and the state as well as the PawSox,â€ť Tamburro proudly stated. â€śIt makes you feel good that CBS Sports Network would think about Pawtucket to launch this national broadcasting endeavor and I think it speaks volumes about the respect we have within the industry. Weâ€™re proud to host this first event and showcase our great city.â€ť
The broadcast team features Dick Gabriel in the play-by-play seat with former big leaguer Doug Flynn supplying the color commentary. Flynn was part of the Cincinnati Redsâ€™ â€śBig Red Machineâ€ť in the late 1970s. Ginger Poulson will handle the sideline reporting duties.
In conjunction with this rare appearance on national television, a pregame ceremony dubbed â€śPride of Pawtucket Nightâ€ť that proudly recognizes the rich diversity within the cityâ€™s borders will take place prior to Matt Barnes setting foot on the mound for the locals.
Escorted by the Pawtucket Police Color Guard, students from the community will take the field, each carrying flags representing many of the 42 countries that make up the student body in the school district. Mayor Donald Grebien and Interim Superintendent Patti DiCenso will also be in attendance.
In addition, Gianna Castro, a 10-year-old Fallon Elementary School student, will throw out the ceremonial first ball. Castro recently became a regional finalist after submitting a â€śHawaiian Delight for Vegetariansâ€ť recipe as part of a contest that promotes healthy sandwich recipes.
Tamburro lauded the efforts and quick thinking on the parts of Grebien and DiCenso after the PawSox were informed last week that the CBS Sports Network cameras were on their way.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03
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