NEW YORK (AP) – Most World Series and AL championship series games will have an earlier start on Fox this year.

The network said Monday that weeknight games will begin at 7:57 p.m. EDT, more than a half-hour before last year’s first-pitch times. The start of Saturday night games could be even earlier, and Sunday games will continue to begin following the conclusion of the network’s NFL coverage.

“Postseason games on Fox the last couple years have been running longer. This will move the conclusions of the games back to between 11 and 11:30 p.m. Eastern time, which we think is optimum,” Fox spokesman Lou D’Ermilio said.

Last year’s World Series games had scheduled start times from 8:29 p.m. to 8:35 p.m. EDT, and times ranged from 3 hours, 5 minutes for Game 2 to 3:41 for rain-delayed Game 3 in Philadelphia, which started at 10:06 p.m. and didn’t end until 1:47 a.m. This year’s Series will have the earliest start time since Game 6 between the Florida Marlins and New York Yankees in 2003 began at 7:57 p.m., according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

D’Ermilio said Fox’s announcement was being made to the advertising community Monday during the network’s presentation of next season’s schedule. The network’s air time for the games will be 7:30 p.m.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig had said since last October’s World Series that he hoped for earlier game times.

No announcement was made about the NL championship series or the division series, which are televised by TBS. The earlier start does not apply to the All-Star game on Fox, D’Ermilio said.

AP-ES-05-18-09 1421EDT

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