News from around the league…
- Time Warner Cable is proposing a 30% cut in the price of the Dodgers’ channel/network, so that DirectTV and other pay-TV providers will finally carry the channel and offer it to its customers. Previously, those pay-TV providers balked at the inflated price of the Dodgers’ channel (brought about, no doubt, because of the huge price Time Warner paid for the rights) and refused to carry, so as not to raise prices for their consumers. The 30% cut, then, is particularly big news. If the Dodgers’ network can finally get carriage everywhere, it could make future TV partners (for example, a network with whom the Cubs might want to pair on a new channel after 2019) a little more comfortable that they won’t commit huge dollars and then not be able to get their new network carried. Nothing has been agreed upon yet, but it does seem like a step in the right direction. The full slate of Cubs game become available for a new TV deal after the 2019 season.
- Former catcher and Hall of Fame broadcaster, Joe Garagiola passed away Wednesday, at the age of 90. For a complete recap of his life and accomplishments, as well as some nice words from many around the league and media world, check out this article at MLB.com. Garagiola was loved by all, and he’ll be deeply missed.
- With Alex Rodriguez set to retire after the 2017 season, we ask what will his legacy be? By many measures, Rodriguez was the best player of his entire generation, but will steroids completely tarnish how he’s remembered?
- On the flip side, Bartolo Colon, 42, has made no such plans to retire just yet. After throwing a 6-inning shutout against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Colon says he feels healthy and ready to go for the season. While the thought of retirement has crossed his mind, it’s not something he’s looking into at the moment. For my part, I hope he doesn’t retire. Colon has become something of household name, in baseball, and I like his presence (and his at bats).
- Over at FanGraphs, Sean Dolinar visualizes the pitching staff projections for every team in baseball, using an interactive graphs. By clicking around, you can see which staffs are projected to be the best, as well as the relative workload and performance of the pitchers therein. You can also filter by type of pitcher or type of statistic. By ERA, for one example, the Cubs find themselves third overall, behind just the Dodgers and Giants, but ahead of the Mets, Nationals and Cardinals. Pitching, it seems, is an NL game this year.
- Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal has a save conversion rate of 87%, he strikes out 11.5 batters per nine innings and opponents have batted just .233 off of him. He is one of the best closers in the game, and is already a top five closer in Cardinal history. BUT he still has dreams of starting in the Major Leagues. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees, as Hall of Fame right-hander and frequent Cardinal confidant Bob Gibson thinks Rosenthal is good right where he is, and can actually be more valuable to the team as a reliever. While I’m not sure he offers more value as a reliever, he is certainly trying. In just three years, Rosenthal has collected 96 saves for the Cardinals; the all-time record in St. Louis is 217. At the ripe old age of 25, Rosenthal can overtake that record before his time is up without question, assuming he stays with the Cardinals and in the bullpen. We’ll see.
- After taking heat for some questionable comments about Hillary Clinton, the latest in a line of issues, Curt Schilling will retain his job at ESPN and will be returning shortly. I don’t care about his politics, but I’m not sure I care for the reckless, polarizing tone of his comments year in and year out, especially from someone in a position of influence.
- Nationals pitcher Lucas Giolito, a consensus top five prospect in baseball, is on the cusp of the Major Leagues. He was cut from big league camp yesterday, but with just a little over a week to go until the season, that was a long, welcomed stay with the big club. It feels quite possible, after reading this article, that the Nationals might hold down Giolito just long enough to obtain an extra year of team control (not unlike the Cubs and Kris Bryant). Whenever Giolito does make it to the show, it will be fun to watch him pitch.
- Over at Baseball is Fun, I set the stage and offer a recap of the Rays v. Cuban National Team game, which occurred Tuesday and was, by all accounts, a historic, successful event. President Obama was in attendance and sat alongside Cuban President Raul Castro. The exhibition match is a symbol for progress and underscores some other, broader achievements for Cuba, the U.S. and MLB.
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