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Bucs land rare national TV game

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baseball fans across the country will get a chance next week to witness the Pirates' dramatic turnaround.

ESPN will broadcast the Pirates' game Monday night against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The game will be blacked out on ESPN locally, but fans in the Pittsburgh region still can watch it on Root Sports.

Also, the Pirates are under consideration to appear later this season on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and the Fox Sports Saturday Game of the Week.

"I'd love to see that happen," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said. "We've been waiting for it for a long time."

The Pirates have not been on ESPN's Sunday night telecast since May 2002.

There are three open dates on ESPN's Sunday schedule -- Aug. 14, 21 and 28. The Pirates will host the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 21 at PNC Park and play road games on the other two dates.

The two open dates for Fox's Saturday broadcast are Sept. 17 and 24. The latter date is a game at PNC Park against the Reds. It also is the same day Pitt football will host Notre Dame at Heinz Field.

If a Pirates game is chosen for either the Sunday night or Saturday game, Root Sports would be unable to broadcast those games. Root would compensate by broadcasting either the Sept. 15 game at the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Sept. 21 game at Arizona.

ESPN and Fox Sports usually give the team and its local broadcast network 14 days notice before picking up a game for the Saturday or Sunday broadcasts.

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