Baseball, football return

National Pastime resumes on Monday, NFL this weekend

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball is back in business today after canceling a week’s worth of games out of respect for a nation attempting to recover from terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The National Football League is preparing to resume play next weekend after scrapping all of the games scheduled for Week 2 of the season (Sept. 16-17).

Baseball was quick to reschedule all 91 of its canceled games, slotting them during the week of Oct. 1-6. That decision will push the post-season playoffs back a week, meaning that the World Series would likely bleed into November for the first time in baseball history.

TBS was the first network to fax an advisory listing the date and time of cablecasts of four of the final regular-season home games played by the Atlanta Braves on Oct. 2 and 4 (against the Phillies) and Oct. 5 and 6 (against the Marlins).

In another cable-TV announcement, ESPN said it would dump its regular programming today to carry the Milwaukee-St. Louis game at 8 p.m., preceded by a special hourlong “Baseball Tonight” special. In an email, the sports cabler said, “Throughout the entire evening, ESPN will cut in to national anthems, moments of silence and the singing of ‘God Bless America’ at stadiums around the country.”

The biggest regular-season disruption of the resumed baseball schedule is the move by the New York Mets to switch its games with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the week of Sept. 17 from New York to Pittsburgh. The Mets are still understandably nervous about the assault that leveled the World Trade Center.

The most significant decision the NFL will have to make is whether to reschedule the games lost on Sept. 16 and 17.

Strong sentiment among football experts, led by Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Rich McKay, is to play the canceled games on the Jan. 5-6 weekend to keep the full 16-game schedule intact, thus blowing out the wildcard games planned for that period.

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