A little stomach thing is traveling through our house. Seems to happen so rapidly, especially this time of year.
- The FCC has proposed doing away with sports blackouts! Kind of. Does this mean the end of those frustratingly large territorial restrictions* that prevent you from seeing every game you want on MLB.tv? Not exactly. The rule being discussed by the FCC mostly applies to league-wide agreements that impose blackout restrictions – as in, we’re talking about the NFL. Leagues where the individual teams do their own local negotiating are not likely to be affected. It’s something to watch, because you never know exactly how these things will play out. The early interpretations, however, seem to be that whatever the FCC does will not impact your enjoyment/non-enjoyment of MLB broadcasts.
- *(Cubs fans remain in a double-bind about those things. On the one hand, those exclusive territories are what allow teams to get such huge rights fees (if you’re blacked out on MLB.tv, you’re more likely to pressure your cable system to carry the team you love, and then the cable system is more likely to pay the huge carriage fees demanded by the sports network, and then the sports network is more likely to pay your favorite team big bucks for the rights to broadcast the games). On the other hand, it’s not fun to live in Iowa and be blacked out from Cubs games that you can’t see locally anyway.)
- More on this later, but Sahadev Sharma has a great piece on the Cubs’ new bench coach, and former farm director, Brandon Hyde.
- Keith Law called the Cubs’ Jose Veras deal the bargain of the group of recent bullpen signings, though it doesn’t sound like he loves the dollars involved in too many of them.
- Patrick Mooney writes about the Cubs’ spending of late, or lack thereof.
- A profile from Bernie Pleskoff on Albert Almora.
- BN’er Mark asked me to pass along word of a benefit for a local Chicago Letter Carrier who is currently battling cancer. You can see the details here. And BN’er Chris is still letting you win a copy of his book.
- Jay has offered to do something slightly insane: if he reaches 3,000 Twitter followers by Sunday, he’ll start Jay Cutler over Nick Foles in his fantasy league championship game. It’s a pretty significant hurdle for him to clear, but let’s give it our best shot. Follow Jay here.
- If you’re just waking up and tuning it, it’s been a busy morning already: the Cubs have reportedly signed Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league deal, and reports (citing other reports, without links) say Rakuten has decided not to post Masahiro Tanaka. I did some rabble rousing on that one because I wasn’t completely buying what I was seeing, and it looks like I may have been right.