The season-ending press conference is coming at some point early this week from Cubs President Theo Epstein, or at least that’s how it’s always gone in the past. With a Tom Ricketts meeting on deck, maybe they wait to have the presser until the two of them make sure they’re on the same page when there are inevitable questions about the front office planning for the future? If you missed it this weekend, that meeting is going to include discussions of the transition plan – either this offseason or next – for Epstein’s inevitable exit (he’s about to hit year 10 with the Cubs, which he’s previously indicated is the end of the road for him in any one post).
Adds another layer to a presser that otherwise might have had the exact same feel as the last three …
• The LDS rounds of the postseason begin this week – ALDS today, NLDS tomorrow – and MLB has announced the full schedule for your viewing purposes:
— David Lennon (@DPLennon) October 4, 2020
• Go Padres. It has been decided. The Padres are my proxy team for the postseason. They are talented, fun-loving, and they beat the Cardinals.
• Speaking of viewing, MLB viewership climbed this year, most starkly among those under age 50:
Other important news out the MLB regional sports network data…. big increase in viewership for 18-49 demo (+53%)
— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) October 5, 2020
• The top-line 4.2% increase in viewership might not sound like much when you think about the pandemic, but two factors to keep in mind: (1) baseball squandered its time advantage, and ultimately wound up returning to face the NBA and NHL for much of its season; and (2) viewership for broadcast TV overall is down 24%. That isn’t apples-to-apples, but the point is more about just how competitive the landscape is for time and attention.
• The Cubs – who were also up 4% despite the switch to Marquee – had the fourth most viewers per game in baseball, behind the Yankees, Dodgers, and Phillies. I doubt that’s the kind of explosion that fundamentally changes the budgeting process for this offseason, but I also doubt it’s a problem – and it could have been, especially if the deal hadn’t gotten done with Comcast.
• The White Sox jumped 152% thanks to their exciting core and competitive year, but also thanks to being the only baseball on NBC Sports Chicago (their raw viewership number remained only half that of the Cubs, for what that’s worth). The biggest decline in baseball? Consider it a massive warning for the Cubs going forward: it was the Red Sox, whose viewership declined FIFTY-FOUR PERCENT after they tanked on the field.
• Cubs players did some good:
• Halloween candy is among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today, so there you go. #ad