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TBS set to play ball inpost-season

Play ball, post-season style.

Unlike previous years, however, when the League Division Series were televised on ESPN and Fox, this year is different.

A new provider — TBS — entered the picture in July of 2006. Ted Turner’s cable network signed a seven-year agreement with Major League Baseball to televise all division series games and the National and American League Championship Series in alternating years from 2007 to 2013.

TBS will have the NLCS in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 and the ALCS in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Fox will continued to televise the ALCS and NLCS in alternating years along with the World Series.

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The ALCS starts Tuesday. TBS announcers? Chip Caray, grandson of the legendary Harry Caray, is the lead play-by-play announcer and will be joined in the booth by Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

Don Orsillo, Ted Robinson and Dick Stockton are others play-by-play announcers and Bob Brenly, Joe Simpson and Steve Stone are analysts.

Studio anchor is Ernie Johnson, Jr. Expect to see Frank Thomas of the Toronto Blue Jays and another Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken, Jr., in the studio.

The schedule will be announced Sunday night.

Around the horn

• There’s a radio conflict Saturday night between coverage of the Minnesota Twins and University of Minnesota football. Both regularly are heard on KROC-AM (1340) but this week are on at the same time.

This week, the Twins-Red Sox game will be moved to KOLM-AM (1520) and the Gophers-Ohio State game remains on KROC. The Gophers have a 6 p.m. pre-game and 7 p.m. kickoff. The Twins’ pre-game starts at 5:35 p.m..

The Twins game will be replayed on KROC on tape following the Gophers broadcast.

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• Hockey is here. The Minnesota Wild open the 2007-2008 season at home Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, which will be televised on KSTC-TV along with next Saturday’s home game against Columbus.

KSTC is not available on Charter Communications. The first game on Fox Sports Net North, which is on Charter, is Oct. 10 against Edmonton.

KOLM will broadcast 41 Wild games (a half-season), starting with the opener Thursday.

Versus is back as the national provider of the NHL and will televise its first game at noon Saturday from London between the Los Angeles Kings and the defending Stanley Cup champion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

KOLM will broadcast all of the Minnesota Timberwolves games (82). Their season starts Nov. 2 at home against Denver.

• Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young will be featured Sunday night on CBS’ 60 Minutes. He remains angry and insists that he should have won the 2005 Heisman Trophy, which went to Reggie Bush.

• Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James will host the premiere episode of Saturday Night Live this week (10:30) on NBC.

Other athletes who have hosted SNL include Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Derek Jeter, Wayne Gretzky, Andy Roddick and George Foreman.

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• Announcers for the Vikings-Packers noon game Sunday on Fox are Ron Pitts on play-by-play, J.C. Pearson as analyst and Dawn Mitchell as sideline reporter.

The game is on to only 10 percent of the nation.

• Golf? It’s not over. NBC will televise 16 hours of the Presidents Cup from Montreal, starting at 7 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. TNT has coverage starting at 11 a.m. today.

The biennial event, which is contested in non-Ryder Cup years, pits the United States against a team of non-European international stars in match-play competition.

Said Dan Hicks, who will host the event on NBC: "The Presidents Cup is gaining momentum. It has become even more accepted by the players as the years have gone on, and let’s face it, the United States is 4-1-1 in this thing. They’ve been having a heck of a lot better time, a lot more fun, playing in the Presidents Cup than they have in the Ryder Cup.’’

• The Gophers and Ohio State football game Saturday at 7 p.m. will be televised on ESPN2.

• The Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup continues Sunday at the Kansas Speedway at noon on ABC.

Paul Christian is a Post-Bulletin sports writer. He writes a weekly Friday column dealing with TV and radio sports and can be reached at pchristian@postbulletin.com

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