A Streaming Overhaul Draws Closer, Cubs Single Game Tickets, Nico Snubbed, and Other Cubs Bullets
Any time there is a streaming update, I think I’m going to try to hit it quickly in just a few bullets, and it always becomes more unwieldy than that. It’s just such a complicated, complex situation. I try to boil it down as much as I can, I swear.
That, and some other Cubs bullets …
- A streaming reckoning is another step closer, as Diamond Sports (which is a Sinclair subsidiary, and owns the Bally RSNs, which hold the rights for about half of MLB’s teams) is reportedly signaling a bankruptcy:
- To be sure, there could be a restructuring of the company’s debt before a bankruptcy actually arrives, but it’s clear MLB ain’t gonna help that happen – they want a chance to get their local streaming rights back from Sinclair/Diamond so that they can create their own national distribution platform. It sounds to me like Sinclair/Diamond was hoping their direct-to-consumer product would be a hail mary to save them, but MLB wasn’t about to make it easy for them to lock up those local streaming rights long-term (for fear they’d get stuck in a bankruptcy). And without local streaming rights for ALL the teams under the Bally umbrella, the direct-to-consumer product was kinda DOA. Thus, Diamond is reportedly planning to stop making interest payments on its debt, which means bankruptcy is highly likely.
- What happens when bankruptcy arrives is still unknown. Sinclair/Diamond owes annual rights fees to the MLB teams under its umbrella, but when they go into bankruptcy, they no longer have the sole authority to make those payments. So you’d have MLB and half its teams fighting to get their RSN fees paid, while other creditors are fighting to get their loans paid. It would be a mess, and again, I suspect MLB is hoping that it provides a vehicle for them to buy back the local streaming rights. From there, they could create their own national, blackout-free streaming product, possibly together with the NBA and NHL.
- As for the Cubs, specifically, they own Marquee jointly with Sinclair, and it’s never been entirely clear how a Diamond Sports bankruptcy would impact their situation, other than perhaps providing an opportunity for the Cubs to buy back the other half of Marquee at a reduced price (or for MLB to buy that half, which I am trying not to dream on, because that could mean the Cubs would then be included in a national, blackout-free streaming product – and I tend to think the Cubs are going to want to control that on their own, rather than be lumped in with every other team). The Cubs are expecting to launch a direct-to-consumer option for Marquee this year, so no matter what happens, it’s highly likely that you, the fan, will always have an option for streaming Cubs games – in the Cubs’ market, you can get Marquee; out of the Cubs’ market, you can get MLB dot tv.
- Cubs single game tickets go on sale February 24:
- This kind of thing doesn’t actually MATTER, but it’s pretty hard for me to review and not think that Nico Hoerner wasn’t just a snug, but he could’ve been as high as six on this list:
- Whatever. Use it, Nico. Put it on your bulletin board. They think you stink. Show ’em what’s what.
- Mentioned this briefly in yesterday’s Cody Bellinger post in relation to hoping for continued bouncing back from him, but I also want to comment on some of the substance of what he said:
- All true, and I’m obviously happy about the shift restrictions, but I’ll note: with the currently-articulated shift restrictions, those line drives up the middle still might be caught by a shifted shortstop. As long as he’s left of second, he’s fine to be there. And for some guys, that’s definitely where the shortstop is going to be parked. That’s why I was such an advocate for the pie slice rule, which keeps defenders from setting up behind second base, and I hope they take that next step next year.
- The Rays converted a previously relatively obscure reliever into a starting pitcher for his age 29 season, and he was so good in 2022 that he merited a four-year extension thereafter:
- What an incredible story. I’d only barely even heard of this guy when I saw the news of his extension. That’s just what the Rays do. This, by the way, is why you keep trying to reclamation projects. Sure, Springs was a REALLY EXTREME example, but it can pay off. Heck, look at how good Adrian Sampson was last year for the Cubs.
- Given the Cubs’ extreme turnover at the position, this rings true:
- Wild factoid from the piece: “Next season, only six teams — the Braves, Rays, Astros, Dodgers, Giants and Blue Jays — will have a primary hitting coach who has been in the same role for more than two seasons.” The Cubs, of course, made the change to Dustin Kelly from Greg Brown, who himself was in the job only one year.
- Cubs player favorite baseball movies:
- ‘Major League’ is obviously the correct answer, though I will give partial credit to ‘The Sandlot.’ That said, it’s the Cubs … how is NO ONE gonna say ‘Rookie of the Year’?!
- The de-juicing effect:
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