Their feud was very fun while it lasted, but Lou Piniella and Steve Stone chatted before this afternoon’s White Sox-Cubs game at U.S. Cellular Field and cleared the air.
Here’s how Stone described the meeting:
I felt because this is our ballpark, I should go down into his locker room. I got a chance to talk with him. He facetiously said, “Do you think we should fight?” I said, “Nah, I think we’re too old to do that.” And he said, “Look, it was over when I was done with it,” and I said I felt the same way. We shook hands a number of different times. He wound up actually thanking me for coming down and putting this thing to bed, which it where it belongs.
And here’s Piniella’s version:
We closed the door and threw a few jabs … verbally. We’re fine. Everything is fine. I’ve known Steve a long time. Everybody doesn’t agree with what other people say at times. But we talked it out, shook hands and it’s all behind us and I’m happy. I don’t have any problem with Steve Stone or anybody else.
Now that they’re friends again, Stone said he thinks “when all is said and done [Piniella] is going to go down as one of the great managers in the game.” No word yet on whether Piniella values that opinion or if he dismisses it because Stone never managed.
Last November, the U.S. Department of Justice sued AT&T, accusing its subsidiary, DirecTV, of being the ringleader in a plot in which it conspired with Cox Communications, Charter Communications and AT&T cable (then a separate company), to refuse to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodger-owned TV channel in violation of antitrust laws.
Now that lawsuit is over. DOJ has settled with AT&T last night.
The bad news: no part of the settlement obligates DirecTV or any of the other alleged co-conspirators to carry Dodgers games or to even negotiate to that end. There is likewise no fine or truly substantive penalty. It’s basically a “do not do this again!” agreement with some antitrust training requirements for executives and some orders to monitor their communications about these things.
“We are pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of all parties,” and AT&T spokesman said yesterday, likely in the tone of a guy who is pretty happy to have had a major antitrust suit against him settled so quickly.
When the suit was filed, I anticipated a settlement, as most antitrust suits brought by the DOJ are settled. Such a settlement could’ve featured a cash penalty or, more significantly, a brokered agreement between the parties in question in lieu of a cash settlement that could’ve led to Dodgers games being carried on more channels. After all, more competition is the end game of the Antirust Division.
As it is, however, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a surrender by the DOJ and a victory for the those carriers who coordinated their efforts to not carry the Dodgers.
An open question, unanswered in anyone’s statements yesterday, is whether this settlement is 100% about the merits of the case — keeping in mind that the DOJ tends not file antitrust suits unless they think they can win, instead preferring to negotiate first — or whether it represents a new set of laxer priorities when it comes to antitrust enforcement from the Trump Administration and AG Jeff Sessions.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.