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After barely missing out on the postseason in 2021, the Toronto Blue Jays are returning to Major League Baseball (MLB)'s postseason in 2022, hosting the Seattle Mariners in one of the two best-of-three American League Wild Card Series (ALWCS).
The games will be held from Friday, October 7 to Sunday, October 9, 2022, all at the Rogers Centre (SkyDome) in Toronto. Although the Jays participated in a similar series in 2020, those games were played on the road, meaning that these will be the first postseason games hosted in Toronto since 2016.
Under current MLB contracts, Sportsnet has exclusive Canadian broadcast rights to all postseason games (in the English language), including the Mariners–Blue Jays series, and as described below these broadcasts will feature Sportsnet's regular baseball announcers. These games will be available to watch on all of the main Sportsnet "regional" channels (i.e. Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific), as well as the Sportsnet Now streaming platform. (Sportsnet is, of course, owned by Rogers Communications, as is the Blue Jays franchise.)
These games are currently scheduled as follows:
- Game 1: Friday, October 7, 2022 with first pitch at 4:07 p.m. Eastern time / 1:07 p.m. Pacific time (and pregame coverage beginning at 2:30 ET)
- Game 2: Saturday, October 8, 2022 with first pitch at 4:07 p.m. ET / 1:07 p.m. PT (and pregame coverage beginning at 3:00 ET)
- Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, October 8, 2022 with first pitch tentatively scheduled for 2:07 p.m. ET / 11:07 a.m. PT, but subject to rescheduling depending on how the other three Wild Card Series progress (with pregame coverage beginning about one hour earlier on Sportsnet)
If Game 3 is necessary and retains its current scheduling, it will also air on ABC in the United States, and in that case, that ESPN-produced broadcast would also be simulcast on Rogers' broadcast network Citytv in Canada. (In that case, the game would theoretically also be available to stream by subscribers of Prime Video, which get access to Citytv's live linear channels at no extra charge.)
French-language rights to the series are held by RDS, the French-language sibling network of TSN, which splits the overall rights to the MLB postseason in French with TVA Sports.
How can I stream the Jays' Wild Card Series in Canada?
Regardless of whether or not you have a cable (or similar TV provider) subscription, streaming will be available through the Sportsnet Now streaming platform, including the snnow.ca website and the Sportsnet app on various mobile and streaming devices.
If you do have a TV service subscription, in almost all cases you should be able to sign in with your TV provider credentials to stream the games through SN Now at no extra charge. You may also be able to stream the series through provider-specific apps for Rogers Ignite, Bell Fibe TV and the like.
If you do not have such a subscription, you can subscribe directly to Sportsnet Now which provides almost all programming carried on the Sportsnet, Sportsnet One, and Sportsnet 360 linear channels for as low as $14.99 per month, or $149.99 annually if you pay in advance for one year of service.
Who will I hear calling these games in Canada?
As announced on-air by Sportsnet during a late-season game, the Rogers-owned broadcaster will produce its own broadcasts of its postseason games this year, with most of its usual announcing team: Buck Martinez, Pat Tabler, and field-level reporter Hazel Mae. (Dan Shulman, who calls some regular-season Jays games for Sportsnet, has prior postseason commitments to ESPN Radio but will be also calling this series for the U.S. radio audience.)
This differs from many past seasons, where Canadian rightsholders covering the Jays in the postseason, including Sportsnet in 2016, were required to take the American broadcasts under the terms of the MLB broadcast contracts in effect at the time. The setup this time, however, means that the Blue Jays are the only franchise able to have their "local" broadcast team call its postseason games on television.
If Game 3 is necessary and airs as currently scheduled on ABC and Citytv, you should be able to watch that ESPN-produced broadcast with its announcers: Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza, Tim Kurkjian, and Coley Harvey. Otherwise, the ESPN coverage will not be available in Canada.
Doesn't ESPN own part of TSN? Can't TSN carry the ESPN coverage?
ESPN Inc. does own part of TSN, and while TSN carries MLB games throughout the year including Sunday Night Baseball (and as noted above RDS has French-language rights to this series), MLB's Canadian broadcast contracts are separate from those that apply in the United States.
In terms of the Canadian rights, TSN effectively plays second banana to Sportsnet, which has fully locked up rights to the postseason and many other key events like the All-Star Game.
Are the MLB playoffs the same thing as the postseason?
Basically, yes. MLB does prefer to use "postseason", possibly because "playoff game" is sometimes also used in reference to end-of-season tie-breaker games which are not technically part of the postseason itself. But in casual usage, referring to "the play-offs" is perfectly fine.