Rules Changes, the Product on the Field, Division Races and the Playoffs, and Other Cubs Bullets

I am really quite down this morning. Cancelling regular season games was a red line for me, at an emotional level, and it hurts to have so well confirmed that the men in charge of this sport – the supposed stewards of the top league in the world – care more about an extra short-term incremental dollar than the whole of the fans who support their business. All that said, I suppose I can’t act like I’m surprised – just this past weekend, I was at, what, a 10% chance that regular season games WOULDN’T be cancelled? – but I think it’s OK that I’m still really sad and angry about it.

I’m also really sad for the stadium workers, nearby businesses, support staff, media, and anyone else who is impacted by yesterday’s MLB decision. This situation really sucks for them, and is deeply unfair.

Anyway, now I set about figuring out how to best do my job for you in spite of this sad and frustrating moment. I can still make jokes, though.

On to the Bullets of the morning, which I am going to try to keep separate from the worst of the CBA stuff. I’ll get into that shortly after I summon the strength …

•   In his letter to the fans last night, Commissioner Manfred said a bunch of whatever things, but on the news side, he confirmed that the league was seeking at least two specific rules changes for this season in the negotiations: a pitch clock and limiting defensive shifts. I saw reports that larger bases was also in there, though Manfred does not mention it in his letter. I did not see any reporting on automated balls and strikes or limitations on pick-offs, which were some other minor league rules changes we’ve seen experimented with.

•   I am unapologetically in favor of each of the two Manfred explicitly mentioned (deeper discussion of pitch clock here, killing the shift here), and while I won’t drill down into those topics here – read those posts for my full take – I will say only that it’s one of the very few things on which I semi-agree with the Commissioner’s and the league’s approach to these negotiations. It *is* important to deal with the product on the field as soon as possible, and while they should’ve been discussing this stuff long before this past week, it’s a better late than never situation for me. The fights about money are important for the players. The most important thing for their lives. I get that and I respect it. But the state of the game the viability of the entertainment going forward is also really important for everyone involved in Major League Baseball. The glacial pace of change – the lack of openness to it – has been ridiculous.

•   Speaking of which, a good article on that broader concept, with spot-on thoughts from Cubs broadcaster Boog Sciambi:

Sciambi has thought plenty on what could be done to boost the sport’s TV ratings and popularity with younger fans.

“As a league, I think they’ve got to monitor what the on-field product looks like, and it’s got to have a little more urgency and pace,” he said. “Then, the broadcast will have to continue to reflect that same value.

“Look, our sport is in part averse to change. I’m not advocating completely changing anything. I just think you’ve got to be open to it. The audience wants to be stimulated, and the younger the audience gets, the more it wants to be stimulated, seemingly.”

•   On the expanded playoff talks – interesting that the players have not yet pressed the button and said they are completely off the table now (presumably holding out for games to be rescheduled or backpay) – I found this comment from Max Scherzer very interesting:

•   If that is the players’ perspective on the whole, I’m very glad to hear it, regardless of how the subject actually winds up playing out. I still think 14 playoff teams is at least a couple too many, but whatever the eventual setup, there needs to be SIGNIFICANT incentives built in to win your division. I want that to be important. Maybe even more important than it is right now. I have always, always got into the idea of divisional races being huge – they are the most fun thing (for me) to follow in the standings during the regular season. Can’t lose that. Should enhance that.

•   This is very cool. Baseball – the sport, which is bigger than the highest professional league in the United States – really matters to people:

https://twitter.com/UVACoachOConnor/status/1498861430191403008

•   At least I can be excited about looming NFL free agency:

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

more cubs news

Chicago Cubs Lineup: Swanson Moves Down

CUBS LINEUP — Is Freddy Peralta the best matchup for the Cubs lineup to finally wake up? Nope! But at a certain point, they'll have to hit some good pitching. Really any pitching would be nice. Here's how Craig Counsell...

It Is Not Possible to Have a Worse Game-Ending Call

We beef a lot about lousy calls, as in the nature of baseball fans. And when it's a game-ending lousy call, the hostility gets ratcheted up quite a bit. Usually, the call is at least close enough that, although you...

MLBits: Jose Abreu on Minor League Demotion, Angel is Out, Ohtani Shares TJ Recovery Update, More

MLB Notes — Jose Abreu talked on Friday about the tough decision to accept his minor league demotion from the Astros last month, which he called the best thing he's done in his career, before making his return to the...

How to Watch Cubs Games: Full 2024 Schedule, Live Stream and More

Hey Cubs fans, if you’re looking to watch their games, you can find most of them on Marquee Sports Network. But that isn’t the only avenue to catch the action of your Cubbies on TV. Sometimes, they’ll be on other...

Cubs Farm Report | May 28, 2024: Top 25 Prospect Stock Report

The Chicago Cubs minor league affiliates were off on Monday, so it's time to take stock of some recent hot (and not-so-hot) performers inside the Cubs Top 25 prospects down on the farm in today's Cubs Farm Report. Cubs Farm...

Pre-Gamin’: Braves at Cubs (6:40 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — It's a rematch! The Cubs won only one game during their series in Atlanta last week, and it was started (on both ends) by the guys on the mound tonight: Javier Assad and Charlie Morton. Let's hope...

A Couple More Potential Cubs Trade Targets Emerge (You Know … If They Are Still Buyers)

I added the parenthetical in the headline to appease the non-believers, but in reality, I'm not so conflicted. If I had to put money on it, I would still bet the Cubs are buyers at the July 30, 2024 MLB...

Pete Crow-Armstrong is the International League Player of the Week, Also-By-the-Way-He-is-Eligible-to-Return-to-the-Big-Leagues-in-Two-Days-Just-Sayin’

The Chicago Cubs optioned Pete Crow-Armstrong to the minors on May 20, which means he can return to the big league roster as soon as May 30. That is two days from now. Just throwing that out there and cc'ing...

Brewers Fans Are Really Making a Meal of Craig Counsell’s Return to Milwaukee

I really wish Craig Counsell's first return to American Family Field was a little more painful for the Brewers faithful. As in, I wish his first game back after ditching Milwaukee for Chicago was with a dominant Cubs team that...

That Was Justin Steele’s Best Outing In a While

After his previous outing, for which the final numbers didn't look as good as the stuff, Justin Steele said he was actually starting to feel good about where he was, after missing the first chunk of the season with the...

Latest News

The RBC Canadian Open TV Schedule, How to Watch and Live Stream

Watch the 2024 RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Hamilton, ON from May 30 - June 2, with the course playing at 7,084 yards as a par-70 with $9,400,000.00 in prize money as the purse. The...

Reds vs. Cardinals: Free Live Stream, TV Channel, How to Watch

The Cincinnati Reds (24-30), led by Spencer Steer, host Brendan Donovan and the St. Louis Cardinals (25-27) on Wednesday at 1:10 PM ET.If you're trying to watch this game, keep reading for streaming and TV options for the Cincinnati-St. Louis...

How to Watch Dodgers vs. Mets: Live Stream or on TV

On Wednesday, Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers (33-22) face Pete Alonso and the New York Mets (22-30), with first pitch scheduled for 4:10 PM ET at Citi Field.If you're intending to watch this game, keep reading for streaming...

No. 3 Overall Pick Drake Maye Signs Rookie Deal With New England Patriots

The first-round picks from the 2024 NFL Draft continue to sign. Next up, New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye. ESPN's Adam Schefter has the news and the contractual details: https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1795549275151118618 And just like that, Drake Maye becomes the highest draft...

Denver Nuggets Mock Draft: Nuggets Land 2 Exciting CBB Stars from Marquette, Gonzaga

As the 2024 NBA Draft approaches, the Denver Nuggets find themselves in an intriguing position with two picks in hand. This Denver Nuggets mock draft focuses on adding the best player available. The Nuggets' front office, led by General Manager...

How to Watch Phillies vs. Giants: Live Stream or on TV

On Wednesday, Alec Bohm and the Philadelphia Phillies (38-17) face Matt Chapman and the San Francisco Giants (28-27), with first pitch scheduled for 3:45 PM ET at Oracle Park.If you're planning on watching this game, keep reading for TV and...

How to Watch Padres vs. Marlins: Live Stream or on TV

Yu Darvish will take the mound for the San Diego Padres (29-28) when they host starting pitcher Braxton Garrett and the Miami Marlins (19-36) on Wednesday, with first pitch at 4:10 PM ET.The article below will provide you with everything...

Blackhawks Sign Zach Sanford To One-Year, Two-Way Contract

After announcing an entry-level deal with Martin Misiak on Tuesday, the Blackhawks signed another forward. The Blackhawks announced the team has signed forward Zach Sanford on a one-year, two-way contract that runs through the 2024-25 season. The deal has a $775,000 salary...

Mavs at T-Wolves Game 4: First Basket Props, Odds, and More for Tonight

The NBA Western Conference Finals are reaching a critical juncture as the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Dallas Mavericks prepare for Game 4. With the Mavericks leading the series 3-0, tonight's matchup is a must-win for the Timberwolves to keep their...

WATCH: Go Inside the Chicago Bears 2024 NFL Draft War Room

Before I left for a mini-vacation, I wrote this post sharing video from the Minnesota Vikings 2024 draft war room. Part of me thought it was worth sharing because I find it worthwhile to keep tabs on the Chicago Bears'...

more cubs news