BASEBALL IS BACK TODAY*!!!
*(Well, Spring Training baseball.**)
**(Well, but not the Cubs yet. They play tomorrow.)
• As the team photo headshot suggested, Kyle Ryan is indeed now in camp with the Cubs. Jordan Bastian reports that he’s practicing with the team, but is still technically on the COVID list (not sure how that works, but glad he’s all good to go). When he’s officially activated, the Cubs will have to re-clear a 40-man roster spot, and they’ll have to clear another for the Ryan Tepera signing, too. I suspect that Rowan Wick will hit the 60-day IL at some point to open up one of those spots, because if he’s not even throwing yet (intercostal issue), then there’s no way he’ll be ready to pitch in the regular season until late in April at the earliest (at which point he’d be hitting the 60-day mark anyway.
• I get this question a lot: are YouTube TV and Hulu+ Live TV going to pick Marquee up for the baseball season? The answer is still a “who knows.” Both streaming services elected to drop virtually ALL regional sports networks after the baseball season, so what I suspect will happen is that there will be pressure campaigns late in Spring Training to get the streamers to pick RSNs back up. Most of that will be driven by Sinclair, which owns half of the MLB-related RSNs (the FOX ones), and also has a minority stake in the Yankees’ YES Network and the Cubs’ Marquee Sports Network. So Sinclair will likely try to leverage that coverage to get a deal done for all of those networks with whichever streamer is interested in making it happen. Will it work? Well, Hulu had Marquee last year, but YouTube did not. So we’ll see. We’ll also see if DISH finally elects to add back regional sports this year or not. For now, your only certainties on Marquee carriage are the traditional cable providers, plus DirecTV and AT&T (which are soon becoming just one entity).
• If you missed it, the Spring Training broadcast schedule for Marquee is right here.
• Not that you’d expect otherwise, but when asked about the second base competition, David Bote spent more time talking about Nico Hoerner and Ildemaro Vargas positively than talking himself up as the guy. He figures it’ll play out however it plays out, and those two guys are plenty good:
Our Gordon Wittenmyer caught up with David Bote about the three-man race for the second base job.
Fans: Will Bote get the nod or does Nico Hoerner or Ildemaro Vargas get the call?
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) February 27, 2021
• It makes a lot of us smile:
Pedro Strop wasn’t hard to miss when he officially joined Cubs camp. Still rocking his hat to the left and a big smile, Strop was a welcomed presence. “It makes me smile,” manager David Ross said.@M_Montemurro's takeaways from camp Saturday.https://t.co/uJsbF6mY5w
— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) February 28, 2021
• A little side benefit of having a manager who also spent a lot of time catching an active pitcher:
David Ross was very involved in giving feedback during and after Jake Arrieta's bullpen session today. Arrieta had a 1.43 ERA in 82 innings with Ross during their days as teammates.
Ross: "I can pull from experiences. I think that's extremely valuable." pic.twitter.com/mhyM0VHCic
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) February 27, 2021
• It’s just different here:
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) February 27, 2021
• After my kerfuffle with a floss-induced filling popping out, I had a ton of people tell me I needed to get a water flosser (which is, apparently, exactly what it sounds like). Then I see today it’s one of the Deals of the Day at Amazon. Guess I know what I have to do. #ad
• I look forward to seeing it, Bryan:
There was definitely a quote left on the cutting room floor from my Tyson profile this offseason about Hendricks that I’ll have to look up later. But there was clear admiration there, and I’m glad that relationship is actualizing. https://t.co/XpxkV1z5sm
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) February 28, 2021
• This is awesome, but also we’re finished:
A robot bird that flies just like a real one pic.twitter.com/GTEIUzqsNN
— Mashable (@mashable) February 27, 2021