It was annual physical day for me, which was fairly smooth and efficient. Blood pressure, urine sample, blood, all that stuff. No turn and cough, though. Have they stopped doing that? Or am I now at risk for some crazy ailment?
- We’re about a month and a half away from Spring Training games (holy shit!), which is its own extremely wild thing given how little the Cubs have done this offseason, but it’s also wild because it’s the launch of the long-awaited Cubs TV network, Marquee Sports. Despite an early wave of carriage deals that physically cover most of the geography of the Cubs’ territory, no deal is yet done with the single largest provider in the territory:
As the Cubs’ Marquee Sports Network nears its February launch date, it still doesn’t have a deal with Comcast to carry games.
Here’s a worst-case scenario for fans.https://t.co/sbPAqj0PWD
— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) January 5, 2020
- It was always likely, given the disproportionate leverage of Comcast, that a deal to get Marquee on Xfinity was going to take the longest, and might even push into Spring Training. That’s just how these deals work, and that’s when Comcast would gauge just how damaging it would be not to carry Marquee, and adjust their pricing appetite appropriately. At the same time, the Cubs would lean on the negotiating leverage of their distribution partner, Sinclair, which controls not only local stations across the country, but also half of the RSNs. I wouldn’t YET say I’m worried that the Cubs are going to fall into the LA Dodgers situation of having a channel that the bulk of people in their territory cannot watch on their preferred provider, and it’s long been rumored that the Cubs were actually being fairly reasonable in their approach to pricing their channel.
- Note for users, though, that Comcast/Xfinity is not the only provider in the territory that still don’t have a deal – you can go to Marquee’s site and see which providers are signed up under which Zip Codes, and you see that among those missing in Chicago: Xfinity, RCN, DISH, WOW, YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, and more. Lotta work to be done.
- Speaking of those Dodgers, who have the largest TV deal in the sport, they remain the best of the best at dominating everything except the World Series, and doing it at a good price:
Stan Kasten debates the #Dodgers' ownership philosophy with @BillPlaschke. Kasten does not hold back on his adjectives–wrong, silly, childish, superficial, ludicrous–but does not shy away from pointed questions. https://t.co/2GxwVEbtuY
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) January 5, 2020
- The Cubs show up 12th in MLB.com’s early power rankings, behind only the Cardinals in the NL Central. Even as I’m down on the Cubs’ offseason and situation heading into next year, I can still see the argument for having them up near the Cardinals, and just a hair ahead of the Reds and Brewers. I’m not sure any of those four has truly separated itself (the Reds had the most active offseason, lifting themselves into that group, but none of the other three have really impressed).
- Trevor Clifton finds his new organization (with some familiar faces in the front office):
As expected, Trevor Clifton moves to a new org, tho one with ex Cubs employees. The absolute best of luck.
Clifton started 2019 striking out a lot of dudes with a good slider. Those regressed a bit as yr went on, but if I’m AZ, I see if he can find it again in relief. https://t.co/EXIbxn5xSY
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) January 6, 2020
- Keith Law is the latest big-name baseball scribe to join The Athletic:
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) January 6, 2020