I just finished up a re-watch of Season 4 of ‘Better Call Saul’ in anticipation of Season 5 dropping this weekend, and I am extremely stoked. It’s just such an expertly-crafted show. Slow to some, perhaps, but every lingering camera shot feels like it’s telling you something, setting you up for something, grafting some emotion onto you. I love it. How these folks set a show in the same universe and story line as ‘Breaking Bad,’ but made such a different show is absolutely incredible. I hope they don’t lose that as the story line converges with the events of the earlier show.
- If you were curious about the math on having Kris Bryant batting first – how many more plate appearances would it grant him over the course of an average season – it’s definitely not an insignificant amount. If you say he plays 155 games, then in an average year, he would see 721 plate appearances batting first, versus 705 plate appearances batting second. That means in 16 games, Bryant would get an extra time at the plate simply by virtue of batting one in the order instead of two.
- Don’t just think about the volume of PAs. Think about it from a game perspective. Think about that potential impact on 16 games – 10% of the season! – where you have your best bat getting one more crack at it. Throw out the situation, because we can’t know it. We just know that he’d have a chance to impact the game at the plate in 16 more games. That’s arguably the MAIN reason to have him batting first in a line that otherwise doesn’t have an obvious elite leadoff hitter. I’m very glad David Ross is going this way.
- Man, when the Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All-Time gives you the stamp of approval, you know you’re gonna be fine:
Rizzo on why Bryant right guy to lead off pic.twitter.com/yW9QDLCN6K
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 20, 2020
- While Yu Darvish continues to speak very thoughtfully about the Astros’ cheating, how their title should be stripped to help everyone move on, and about the cultural differences between Japan and the United States (really great read there), the Astros continue to dig in their heels, desperately wanting everyone to just shut up and move on:
Astros strike back at critics: "We're going to go out there and win and shut everybody up"
— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) February 19, 2020
Josh Reddick's response to criticism of Astros: "At some point, you have to move on and not give a s–t. We're going to go out there and win and shut everybody up,” per @dcsportsbog pic.twitter.com/c4STfZW8Hk
— Bleacher Report MLB (@BR_MLB) February 19, 2020
- More details on the Cubs’ minor league pay increase:
The average overall increase in Minor League wages is roughly 50-60% per player. Raises over '19 vary by level/years. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts drove this change for the franchise.
At CubsCon in January, Theo Epstein said Toronto's progressive approach "got Tom's attention."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 19, 2020
- Don’t tell Kris Bryant it’s a piece of metal:
Bryant (2/2) … " I have one in my office back home, right in the middle of the center of attention. This was something that was very important to me &very important to this whole org., because we hadn’t had one on 108 years. That piece of metal meant a lot to this whole city." https://t.co/G2pwi8WMmF
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 19, 2020
- Dog beds, scooters, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
- Local media news, as Bruce Levine will contribute at Marquee:
— Phil Rosenthal (@phil_rosenthal) February 19, 2020
- But Kelly Crull is departing Chicago:
— The Athletic Chicago (@TheAthleticCHI) February 20, 2020
- In other media news, ESPN is going with a two-man booth for Sunday Nights, having dumped the best member of the previous trio:
NEWS: ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball team will be Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez with Buster Olney as the dugout reporter. https://t.co/iQU725ihTh
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) February 20, 2020
- New pizza at Wrigley Field
Cubs announce new deal with @HomeRunnInn as team's official pizza partner. Replaces @GiordanosPizza, which signed on in 2014. Home Run Inn will be only pizza served at Wrigley Field general concessions and Sloan Park.
— Danny Ecker (@DannyEcker) February 19, 2020
- Sinclair, which is the Cubs’ partner in Marquee, and last year bought the FOX RSNs from Disney, was the leading bidder for another group of RSNs (in Seattle, Denver, Houston, and Pittsburgh), but the bids were for like half what AT&T was hoping:
AT&T's plans to sell their RSNs may have taken a hit after lower than expected bids hit the markethttps://t.co/TdHIRcw7e9
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) February 19, 2020
- It’s notable that if Sinclair did manage to purchase the RSNs eventually, they would have at least some interest in the vast majority of RSNs that broadcast MLB games. Say what you will about Sinclair as an entity, but it’s also true that if you hope for a world where MLB broadcasts are distributed in a smarter, more comprehensive, less blackout-y way, you’re more likely to see that in a world where a single entity has a stake in all those games.
- That said, this Post write-up points out that Sinclair has taken a beating recently because, among other things, DISH dropped all their RSNs and didn’t seem to suffer at all for that decision. That’s not a great sign for RSNs in general.
- (With respect to the Cubs and Marquee, though, I’d point out that no one is worried about the most premium sports teams and their broadcast rights, and it also helps that MLB has given the local streaming rights to the teams, themselves. There is a world in the future where the Cubs and Marquee are just fine, because they’ve steadily transitioned into a streaming giant. I’m sure that’s what they talk about a lot behind the scenes, even as they work to get traditional cable carriage agreements in place.)
- The latest pod:
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) February 20, 2020