I went down a wormhole last night – no pun intended – checking out celestial bodies on Wikipedia. I found myself especially interested in just how many notable non-planetary objects there are in our solar system, and how negligible the differences are between a “planet”, a “dwarf planet”, “small solar system bodies,” etc. Also: there are 181 moons in our solar system. Presently, however, there are no detectible Death Stars.
- Mark Gonzales offers a really interesting read on the Cubs’ ongoing TV deal efforts, and the attendant, less-discussed, issues that pop up. If the Cubs do create their own channel, as they’ve very much indicated they intend to do (rather than merely selling their game rights to an existing regional sports network like CSN), one issue they’ll have to deal with is filling the channel with sufficient programming to make it compelling when the Cubs aren’t playing. Sure, baseball is a good fit for a channel with its 162-game regular season, but lets do a little math: 162 games times 3 hours equals 482 hours of the best programming for the year … which includes 8,760 hours. That’s a whooooole lot of time to fill, and, while it’s easy enough to come up with suggestions – historical features, analytical shows, minor league programming – it all comes with issues, and it all also comes with a relatively limited audience. In the end, getting other live sports in with you on your channel is the way to go, but that, too, is easier said than done.
- Give Gonzales’ piece in the Tribune a read for more on the tricky business of starting your own cable network … and that’s all before you consider the broader problems in the cable market right now thanks to online streaming and delivery disruption that is occurring daily.
- I really enjoyed this from Tony Andracki on new Cubs righty Adam Warren, who still wants a chance to start, but knows that with the Cubs in a win-now mode, he’ll be asked to do whatever the team needs … and he’s completely on board with that. I did find it interesting that the Cubs told Warren they got him to be a starter, but his time actually starting with the Cubs might come after 2016. We often talk about how the Cubs’ starting pitching picture looks great for 2016, decent for 2017, and considerably murky from there, and it’s important to keep in mind that acquisitions like Warren – even though he’s not a prospect and not a sure-fire starting pitcher at this point – can help clarify things down the road, even as he helps in other ways in 2016. (For more on Warren, see here if you missed it.)
- Craig Edwards gets into a bunch of stuff about the current free agent class in a good read at FanGraphs, but one bit that jumped out at me: the top ten free agents in this year’s class were the youngest (28.9 years, on average) in five years. Not only is that strikingly young, it also reminds me that the pendulum has indeed swung back toward players holding out for free agency – remember just a few years ago when everyone was signing extensions and no one was going to get to free agency before they were 35? Trends last only so long, and I’m sure things will eventually swing back in the other direction. Of course, with opt-outs becoming more and more prevalent, we might see relatively young free agents for a while.
- Watching a grand slam is fun enough, but when the guy then chucks his bat just about as high as the ball travelled, that’s especially fun.
- Random Cubs shirsey watch: Josh Vitters for just five bucks, or Alfonso Soriano for six.
- If you missed anything from the weekend – there was actually a lot, even on Sunday as you were watching football – catch yourself up here.
- And one more impressive look at Jason Heyward’s killer range in 2015:
If you look hard enough you can see Carlos Beltran… pic.twitter.com/0t31VGO2vS
— Daren Willman (@darenw) January 24, 2016