Daily Sports: Labor Day Baseball Extravaganza On MLB Network

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, signals the beginning of baseball’s stretch drive and concludes college football’s first weekend. Those elements come together to create an attractive daily sports TV package on this holiday Monday.

The focal point of the day is a tripleheader on MLB Network, with four games covering three time slots and all of them being significant in the playoff push. It starts at 1 PM ET in the NL Central, where St. Louis goes to Cincinnati.

Then at 4 PM, it’s split coverage between Texas-Oakland and Baltimore-Cleveland, one an AL West knockout battle, and the other a fight for survival between two teams who join the New York Yankees in hoping to make a last push at the second wild-card.

After a brief break for dinner, you can come back and watch Tampa Bay go west to play the Los Angeles Angels. The Rays are slumping right now, have slipped 5 ½ games back of Boston in the AL East and are in the surprising spot of having to devote more attention to the wild-card race than the division title push.

Week 1 of the college football season comes to an end tonight with the now-traditional ACC game on Labor Day. It’s a good one, as Florida State goes to Pitt. The Seminoles saw division rival Clemson sent the nation a message by beating Georgia, so FSU knows the bar is going to be set high in the ACC Atlantic. Pitt was a bowl team last year, nearly beat Notre Dame and has what can be a pretty good defense.

TheSportsNotebook’s holiday focus is going to be MLB coverage, with a Labor Day report on the state of all the key races and our thoughts going forward. As of yesterday, NFL analysis has completed all eight divisional previews, with individual posts on all 32 teams. We’ll have final preseason predictions coming up prior to Thursday’s opener. And college football coverage will resume tomorrow, as we sort out the implications and lessons of Week 1.