The Cubs move to block rooftop advertising

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You know how those buildings over the left field bleachers at Wrigley have ads and stuff on them?  Well, the Cubs don’t like it all that much. At least when the ads are for casinos:

The Cubs have fired the opening salvo in a dispute against a local casino, erecting two signboards in the back of the left-field bleachers, which would obscure a prominent casino ad in most television shots during game telecasts.

The two large green wooden signboards were erected in the bleachers last week without fanfare. There currently is no advertising on them, but they’re expected to be ready for the 2010 season.

For years that rooftop was home to a prominent Budweiser ad. Budweiser eliminated the middle man back in 2006 and now owns naming rights to the bleachers, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that Bud ads will show up on those boards.  It’s unclear whether the board will actually block the view of fans who sit on the rooftops.

I suppose some Wrigley traditionalists may complain about this, but it’s been many, many years since the buildings across Waveland Avenue were owned by simple folk and home to common neighborhood gawkers.  Those buildings and the ads, seats and parties on them are big business now, and that business is all essentially riding for free on the back of the Cubs. 

The Ricketts family didn’t become billionaires by leaving money on the table, so it’s not surprising in the least that they’re going to do what they can to capture this kind of revenue going forward. 

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.