cat computerI’m headed to Chicago this afternoon in advance of the Cubs Convention this weekend.

  • It turns out that it was outfield prospect Kevin Encarnacion in that ugly crash involving five Cubs prospects in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, per Carrie Muskat. Although he is still in the hospital and receiving treatment, Muskat says that Encarnacion (and Jose Zapata) is “doing well.”
  • A very nice plaudit for the farm system, via BP’s Jason Parks, who confirms that the Cubs have the second best farm system in baseball to BP. The Cubs are behind only the Twins, and just ahead of the Pirates. Giggity.
  • Danny Ecker writes about the company the helped the Cubs come up with Clark the Cub, the team’s new mascot. Apparently they’ve been heavily involved in developing mascots for other teams, and in the production of ‘Sesame Street Live,’ which The Little Girl adored. I think Clark will be fine.
  • Anthony Rizzo is the “Face of the Cubs,” per some kind of MLBN poll or something.
  • Jeff Passan was on with Waddle & Silvy yesterday to discuss, among other things, his negative take on the miserly nature of Cubs ownership in recent years. It sounds like Passan chalked the reaction among Cubs fans up to a lack of knowledge on our part about the Cubs’ failure to spend throughout the rebuilding process. I still think there’s a little more nuance needed there (and, candidly, I’m working on a large financial piece), but we’ll just agree to disagree, and when I fawn over Passan’s work in the future, I’m just going to pretend in my mind like this episode never occurred.
  • For you Bears fans, Jay continues his offseason review of the position groups, with an in-depth look at the edge protectors.
  • I was on the Midway Madness baseball podcast yesterday.

Meta: This week, a federal appeals court struck down an FCC rule that preserved net neutrality, about which you can read more here and here. The short version? Net neutrality rules prevented internet service providers (the Comcast you have at your house, or the Verizon you have on your phone, for examples) from favoring some web content over others. If they were going to provide access to the internet, they had to provide that access evenly to all sites/services, allowing the consumer to choose how they spent their online time/data/etc. Without net neutrality, service providers could charge you more to access certain sites and services, could favor some sites over others (by providing lightning fast speed to access one site, and throttlingly slow speed to another), or could charge website proprietors – like BN, for example – a bunch of money to allow their users to access the site at all.

To be sure, there are consumer upsides to a world without net neutrality. Streaming Netflix takes up a disproportionate amount of the bandwith your service provider uses, and if you aren’t a Netflix user, you’re essentially subsidizing the folks who do when you pay your bill. Without net neutrality, the folks using Netflix would bear more of those costs, and you might bear less.

But that’s a relatively narrow example, and ISPs could take things much further. Picture the tiers of channels on cable. If you pay $50 per month, you get email and your ISP’s affiliated web pages. If you pay $60 per month, you get those things plus and If you pay $70 per month, you get that stuff, plus the rest of the web. So on and so forth. It’s not hard to imagine how ISPs would operate which sites and services end up on which tiers: the sites and services that pay big bucks to be on a more basic tier will be placed there.

The impact to the web could be stark. It isn’t realistic to believe that mom and pop sites and services could afford to pay significant fees to all service providers in order to allow their customers to access their site. As a result, the big boys of the internet world would remain, but upstart sites and innovative services could be stifled before they actually even form. To me, that’s just not what the internet is supposed to be, and I get pretty nervous thinking about that kind of future. If that had been the landscape five years ago, I don’t know that BN would exist today. The good news is that (1) I don’t foresee this level of ISP shenaniganning kicking in for a long time, if at all; and (2) I think BN, as it presently exists, would be able to survive some of these changes. Obviously I can’t say for sure until we see what’s what, but, for now, I don’t think I’m loving a world without net neutrality. Nothing is set in stone just yet – there’s a political process to play out on all of this.

  • Greg
    • Brett

      This definitely isn’t the end of the story – the issue now is that net neutrality is going to need politicians on its side … but some very big businesses (with deep pockets) will be on the other side.

      • CubFan Paul

        If only we had smart politicians.

        • hansman

          Maybe we do. There is a another angle to having a non-open internet.

          • CubFan Paul

            I’m all ears.

            • hansman

              Now that attention is away from this article I’ll expand, just a bit.

              With an internet that the ISPs can block/restrict/make it tougher to access content that makes it easier that gives the government someone to lean on to slow certain stories down.

              I am not saying, in the slightest, that is what is happening here. Just that the history of politicians doesn’t fill me with confidence that they will do the right thing.

              • CubFan Paul

                You’re going to get audited this year…

                • hansman

                  I’ll switch my voter registration to Democrat and be safe.


                  • CubFan Paul

                    The way it’s set up, everyone who makes less than $250K a year should be voting Democrat anyway…

      • Brady

        Bear in mind that some big companies have come out in support of Net Neutrality as well. A big one that comes to mind is Google. Would they survive in a world with Net Neutrality? Sure, they are certainly large enough. However they also have a large stake in sites such as YouTube which would almost certainly go away. Without users to upload and watch videos, YouTube would probably dwindle away. As an IT (working for the US Navy) it would pain me greatly to see the internet, which was built on an almost limitless freedom, to be restricted based on the almighty dollar. These grim potentials is what makes me not like “cloud storage”. Imagine you store all your programs, files and the like on a cloud storage and then Net Neutrality is done away with. Your ISP could quite literally demand whatever they wanted as far as money from you to access files and programs that you own and paid for. Anyway, just my two cents.

  • Isaac

    I shiver at the possibilities these kinds of rulings could lead to. The major reason I am such a proponent of the internet for my news and entertainment rather than cable is that I am not tied to or affiliated with companies like Comcast.

  • cubs82

    RT @Ken_Rosenthal Sources: #Cubs pushing hard for Tanaka. Angels remain involved,along with others previously mentioned-Yankees,Dodgers, etc

    • CubFan Paul

      Not a shocker. The Dodgers & Yanks eliminated themselves.

      ARod got the Yanks under $189MM by default. No way are they going over that.

      & the Dodgers aren’t willing to pay Tanaka what the Cubs are willing to pay, just to be their 4th best starter.

      The Angels & Red Sox have been my documented dark horses.

      • nate1m

        That’s been said before about the Yankees and Dodgers and yet they spend. Plus you have to convince Tanaka to come to Chicago when other Clubs are closer to winning. Its not as simple as money in the contract. Winning sells over seas. They talk about the endorsement dollars you can gain overseas by winning all the time in the NBA. I’ve gotta believe that comes into play for baseball as well

        • CubFan Paul

          “That’s been said before about the Yankees and Dodgers and yet they spend”

          Huh? I’m talking THIS offseason.

          “Its not as simple as money in the contract”

          When they say it’s not about the money… Tanaka ain’t takin’ less money

          “I’ve gotta believe that comes into play for baseball as well”

          When they say it’s not about the money…

          • nate1m

            Yeah, and this offseason they’ve spent. Everyone says its not about the money but what would it be about that gets him to the Cubs?

  • brainiac

    great post about net neutrality! and it has ominous reference to our favorite situation, in which giant monies interfere with our relationship with a public trust.

  • BlameHendry

    The absence of net neutrality could really damage the internet in severe ways and it would be a tragedy, but I don’t think people who are gonna just sit back and let it happen. The people have fought back SOPA and PIPA, so there’s little reason to doubt that the people can fight back against this decision too and have it undone. At least I hope…

  • Forlines

    I certainly don’t want to get too political, but if the Trans Pacific Partnership is actually passed (not looking good, but crazy things happen all the time) net neutrality is tossed out the window, along with a myriad of other things. This ruling is big, but it’s merely the tip of the iceberg as far as what might be coming down the pipeline if our elected politicians continue to get bought out my large, multinational corporations. Scary thoughts indeed.

    • Forlines

      And by this ruling, I was speaking about your post Brett, and not in regards to the TPP.

  • nate1m

    I believe in the plan but article from respectable writers like Passan (Brett’s original article even talked about how hard that article is to read because he respects the author) make me really think about the Cubs financial situation. First, though rare the young talent does sometime hit the market and you may have to pay more but it could be worth it. Were there 30 year old FA’s the Cubs should have gone harder after? Probably. Second, owners pick owners. Sure, the Ricketts family could pay just as much but would another, less palatable person to the owners, candidate have been able pay the same amount and not have the team in this debt situation? The team is where it is but did it need to be?

    • CubFan Paul

      “The team is where it is but did it need to be?”

      No, a $120MM-$130MM should of been sustainable in 2012 & 2013 with rising revenues (even w/o the renovation)

      • nate1m

        Maybe, but just spending because you can doesn’t necessarily help. No one knows what the loan stipulations are. Would they be better off if they had spent more?. What would that extra 20 mil have gotten you? The question I wonder more about is could those loan stipulations been avoid with a different owner

  • hansman

    “It sounds like Passan chalked the reaction among Cubs fans up to a lack of knowledge on our part about the Cubs’ failure to spend throughout the rebuilding process”

    So we just dumb fanz who aint no nothin bout the team.

    Yes, Mr. Passan, it had nothing to do with the lazy way you presented the argument.

    • JB88

      There is a poster over on Cubs Den who completely blew Passan’s article out of the water a couple times over the past week. He utilized some pretty compelling citations (citing to the Trib’s 10-K and a variety of other documents published around the time of the sale).

      It is worth searching out if you haven’t read it yet.

      • Brett

        I haven’t seen that yet, but that’s interesting – that’s the essence of the piece I’m working on.

  • dreese

    Brett you’re kinda scaring me with this net neutrality thing. I know its not Cubs related but could you possibly keep us updated on this case as it moves forward?

    • Brett

      I’ll surely be following it – if anything significant happens (especially anything that could impact this place), I’ll be sure to let folks know.

      • dreese

        You’re the best at reporting things that you don’t even report about!

      • hansman

        What was the big internet issue a few years back that caused a bunch of sites to black out their pages (I think Wikipedia just had a page devoted to how bad this thing was and no other content)?

        • Brett
          • hansman

            SOPA…I was waaaaaaaay off.

            Thanks. I was thinking DOMA. Whatever the hell that is.

            • mjhurdle

              While i am anti-SOPA, i am very much pro-Sopa, a delicious Mexican soup.

              • hansman

                Never had Sopa and it just now clicked what DOMA is.

                This CFPB business has gotten my head spinning. TOO MANY DAMN ACRONYMS.

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    I am about ready to dump cable because of cost/choices, etc. If the Internet turns into cable I will go back to using snail mail, etc. I want to read/watch what I like, not what the companies tell me to like.

  • Fastball

    Worked on net neutrality issues for a long time. Retired from AT&T and it was a focus. The big boys basically are lobbying hard. Your not going to like it at all if they get their way. Since they control the major peering points and a very large percentage of the 2nd and 3rd tiers they can and will play some serious hardball. The day is going to come where you pay for every email you send. They want metered email so bad I can’t tell you. It will become a controlled monopoly if its reversed. The big boys are not happy about the content traversing their networks without being able to meter it. If they get that control they will for sure make the cost per kilobit at a cost point which will drive all the 3rd tier ISP’s out of business.

  • Pingback: The First Not So Net Neutral Deal and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()

  • Pingback: META: A Stunning, and Extremely Disconcerting, Turnaround in FCC’s Net Neutrality Plans | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary()