I went and saw two horror movies in theaters recently, Candyman, of course, and The Night House. And despite how excited I was about Candyman, especially because it takes place in Chicago and had Jordan Peele attached as a writer … The Night House blew it away. Far better story, scarier, generally more interesting, etc. Candyman was still good and definitely a fun movie to see with friends, but if you’re looking to get an early Halloween season spook at ye ole cinema, I’d go see The Night House first.
Now baseball stuff …
The Mets Need to Make Dramatic Changes
Just like that old friend from high school you ran into at a dive bar in Wrigleyville after the game, the Mets are going through some stuff, man.
Over the past year, alone, the Mets (1) got a new owner, (2) hired Jared Porter to be their new GM, (2) fired Jared Porter after sexual harassment allegations came to light, (3) hired an interim GM, Zack Scott, who was just charged with a DWI, (4) had a former manager, Mickey Callaway, connected to sexual harassment allegations, (5) fired not one, but two hitting coaches, (6) and failed to sign their first-round draft pick.
They also tried very hard to sign Trevor Bauer, have gotten off to a terrible start on a mega-contract for Francisco Lindor (on the field, in the clubhouse, and with the fans), and had the whole Javy Báez thumbs down debacle. Oh, and all that is not to mention that they’re almost certainly going to miss the postseason this year, despite a clear push for the October both in the offseason and at the deadline.
I can very honestly and easily say: No matter how annoyed you are with the the Cubs and their situation, it is probably worse to be a Mets fan right now.
Ken Rosenthal reminded me of all this in his latest at The Athletic, imploring the Mets to clean house and end their culture of toxicity:
Sandy Alderson is the team president who hired both Scott and Porter and before them manager Mickey Callaway …
Callaway, Porter, Scott – that’s three strikes for Alderson, who, lest anyone forget, also tried hard to sign free-agent pitcher Trevor Bauer, who instead went to the Dodgers and is under investigation for allegations of sexual assault in California. What exactly is the Mets’ definition of due diligence when pursuing players and executives? Seeing whether they can spell their names correctly?
In case you missed it, Mets fans – and others – are clamoring for the team to engage Theo Epstein for the Mets president of baseball operations gig, and save the Mets.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) September 1, 2021
But as Rosenthal fairly points out, Epstein is the one who brought/elevated both Scott and Porter into MLB. But even if you were willing to set that aside, why would Epstein want to walk into that kind of place right now? And, sure, Cohen can offer him a boatload of money, but he was already the highest paid executive in MLB and has done the job for 20 years. Nah. His next move is going to be a step up – either part of the ownership group for a new team or commissioner (if that’s even something he wants).
UPDATE: The Mets are placing Scott on leave:
The Mets have placed Zack Scott on administrative leave until further notice. Mets Team President Sandy Alderson will be assuming Zack’s responsibilities.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 2, 2021
Bauer May Not Play, But He Isn’t Going Anywhere
If you’re wondering about the latest on Trevor Bauer, Jeff Passan has it for you at ESPN. There’s a lot of ground covered in this piece, but the big takeaway is that Bauer will not be pitching for the Dodgers again this season no matter what. Beyond that, well, it’s up in the air.
But just because we might not see Bauer in a uniform anytime soon, doesn’t mean he won’t be in our lives. ESPN spoke with more than two dozen executives, owners, lawyers, players, and other people familiar with the domestic violence policy in MLB, and “the picture that emerged is one in which Bauer will remain a prominent figure in baseball even as he’s not in a uniform, with him protesting the discipline handed down and trying to salvage his career and money.”
Among the many questions answered in this story is one about Trevor Bauer's potential return to the Dodgers this year. All of the different paths lead to the same answer: He is not coming back this season. https://t.co/f1GeWKz6mf pic.twitter.com/xtXu5SrEyS
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 31, 2021
Jerry Dipoto Got a Promotion After a Crazy Year
Are any of these stories going to be positive?
You may have forgotten all about it, but the Seattle Mariners had a pretty big problem on their hands at the trade deadline, when always-active GM Jerry Dipoto traded their stud closer, Kendall Graveman, to their divisional rival Houston Astros (while the teams were playing each other, even). The players, as you can imagine, were thoroughly and vocally displeased.
So ownership rewarded him with a promotion, because everything is made up and the points don’t matter:
Another step forward. #SeaUsRise
Jerry Dipoto has been promoted to become our first President of Baseball Operations, including a multi-year contract extension, while manager Scott Servais has agreed to terms on a multi-year contract extension.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 1, 2021
MLB Streaming Updates
I want direct-to-consumer MLB streaming rights with no blackouts and availability across all platforms and streaming providers. You want direct-to-consumer MLB streaming rights with no blackouts and availability across all platforms and streaming providers. And MLB will … eventually try to make that work? Kind of? Maybe? Over a long period of time. And for a price. And with revenue sharing. It’s all very complicated and you should read the latest at The Athletic for the full picture.
But as a reminder …. In 2019, MLB returned in-market digital streaming rights to each MLB team (which is how the Yankees, for one example, had 21 games on Amazon Prime this year), but that doesn’t exactly solve the problem of direct-to-consumer broadcasts. Most teams still have contracts with their Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) that have restrictions on streaming rights. Teams can restructure these deals right now (which will cost them a boatload of money (which could, in turn, cost consumers a boatload of money)), or they can wait for the deals to expire naturally before renegotiating a more favorable split (… which could take years and cost a smaller boatload of money)). And when some teams own part or all of their own RSNs, things get even more complicated.
All I know is, long-term, making the most MLB games available to the most people willing to pay for those games is in the best long-term interest of the sport. There could be some pesky revenue-sharing hurdles to overcome without any blackouts and a la carte monthly-streaming options, but I think those are much more solvable problems than the long-term fan drain that will happen if people can’t easily access the sport.
Odds and Ends:
• Our old friend Carl Edwards Jr., he of almost got the final three outs of the 2016 World Series fame, has signed on with the White Sox on a Minor League deal.
• Uh, yeah, this is a no-brainer:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 2, 2021