MLB's World Series kicks off Friday night when the Houston Astros host the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park. They'll play Game 2 the following day before using Sunday as a travel day.
According to USA Today's Gabe Lacques, this will mark the first Fall Classic since 1947 without a game scheduled for Sunday. Despite that longstanding tradition, MLB finally decided to avoid battling the NFL.
"Obviously, we didn’t want to go head to head with the NFL on multiple nights," Fox Sports executive vice president and head of programming Bill Wanger said. "If you said, let’s start the World Series on a Thursday, you’d potentially be going head-to-head with the NFL on four nights."
This week's schedule may especially make MLB's choice a wise one. Josh Allen's Buffalo Bills host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on NBC's Sunday Night Football.
Beginning the World Series on Thursday night would have pitted MLB against Tom Brady, whose Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to snap out of their funk against fellow MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
While Game 3 will coincide with Monday Night Football, MLB will also sidestep Thursday and Sunday next week. If they still need to settle the best-of-seven series after five games, the fifth scheduled for Wednesday, Games 6 and 7 will occur on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
That's a notable deviation, as Game 7 of the World Series fell on a Sunday eight times from 1972 to 2002. Yet the four winner-take-all games over the last decade have each gone down on a Wednesday, a rare football-free day.
"You have to assess the realities of the situation and choose your battles," Syracuse sports and media professor Dennis Deninger told USA Today. "And if you have a chance of winning people over on Tuesday and Wednesday nights instead of Sunday? You don’t want every game to finish second or third to what the NFL has going on."
The World Series starts Friday at 8:03 p.m. ET on FOX.