Meta: The first deal in the wake of the recent no-more-net-neutrality decision is upon us, and it’s a big one. Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast, essentially, so that Comcast’s customers can receive better/faster streams of Netflix. As I wrote before (read that if you want more background on this very important issue), this makes me extremely nervous about the future of the Internet. Large companies like Netflix have the cash, the scale, and the incentives to pay for faster delivery*; large ISPs like Comcast have the customer base and the incentives to gladly accept that money. Consumers will end up footing the bill – these things always filter down to the consumer level – and smaller Internet-based entities could eventually be squeezed by ISPs to either pay them extra money, or have their web content throttled or blocked. That’s the doomsday scenario for places like BN, and it’s still not one I see as likely. That said, I didn’t think a deal like this Netflix/Comcast one would come just a month after the court’s net neutrality decision (Netflix and Comcast say they’ve been working on this for much longer, which I’m sure they have been, but the timing of the announcement and the content of the deal cannot be unrelated to the decision). Hell, the FCC hasn’t even decided how it wants to proceed. But once these deals start being struck, and the – eh hem – political nudging begins? There will be no turning back.
*(Some will argue that, technically, that’s not what’s happening here, as Netflix is merely paying Comcast so that the ISP will connect directly to Netflix’s servers, rather than using intermediaries that can slow down delivery speeds. To me, that’s a distinction without a difference for our purposes here.)
- Mark Gonzales reports that Junior Lake went down for a little bit during BP yesterday after fouling a ball off of his leg. He eventually finished his round of batting practice, but you always imagine the worst in those situations (recall, it was a similar foul ball that reportedly injured Jorge Soler’s leg last Spring Training, which happened again midseason, leading to/exacerbating a stress fracture in his leg and ending his season). Lake says he’s fine, though. Remember: guys foul balls off of their legs frequently, and it almost never leads to a serious injury.
- Gordon Wittenmyer recounts a story with Mike Olt, who was apparently shagging balls in the outfield the other day … with a bat. Like, picking the balls out of the air, on the run, with a swiping swing of the bat. Regardless of your opinion on the safety or wisdom of such a practice, it certainly suggests Olt is feeling supremely confident in the state of his eyes. As we’ve said again and again, having his eyes back where they were in 2012 isn’t the end of the story for Olt as a possible big leaguer this year – but it’s a hell of a great start.
- Justin Ruggiano is impressed with the Cubs’ farm system, which is among the best he’s seen in his playing days.
- I was on the Ivy Envy podcast last night, discussing the top story lines of Spring Training for the Cubs this year. It was a blast, and those are some good guys there at Ivy Envy. Give them a listen.
- A great writeup at Cubs.com on new Cubs first base coach Eric Hinske, who is learning the ropes as a first year coach (but who can relate very well with the players for that reason).
- A profile from Patrick Mooney on Welington Castillo, and another on Edwin Jackson.
- A combined ranking of the top top prospect lists over at The Message Board.
- The Dodgers and Diamondbacks are scheduled to head to Australia to open the Major League season on March 22 and 23, as part of MLB’s efforts to spread the game around the world, and to create “events.” I have no beef with it from that perspective, and actually think it’s a great idea. But, logistically, it’s a real bear, given that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have to end their Spring Training way early, have to do a whirlwind flight-games-flight schedule with minimal rest (and it’s two very important, divisional games, mind you), and then have to kind of sit around for a week before the rest of the regular season gets underway. So, when Dodgers starter Zack Greinke had some unflattering things to say about the games, I understood where he was coming from. Still, he’s getting some heat for saying this: “I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it. There just isn’t any excitement to it. I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”