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 ESPN.com and CNN.com. 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.



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