No Game 1 for Cablevision subscribers

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The weeks-long dispute between FOX and Cablevision rages on and, despite some last minute negotiating that gave some people hope, negotiations have broken down and Game 1 of the World Series will not appear on Cablevision. Predictably, each side blames the other, with FOX calling Cablevision’s last offer “a publicity stunt” and Cablevision accusing FOX of negotiating in bad faith.

While it’s easy to see this as a battle of two big companies motivated by greed — which happens to be partially true, of course — there’s a lot more going on here.  We’re in the middle, or maybe at the beginning, of a fundamental shift in how content gets delivered. Content companies like FOX are increasingly able to bypass cable companies like Cablevision.  There are already a handful of ways for viewers to bypass the cable companies and get that content — HD antennas and live streaming come to mind — and as time goes on there will be even more and easier ways to accomplish this.  The people who provide the content will be able to flex their muscles more and more as they find themselves with greater leverage over cable providers, and as such, we’re going to continue to see this story play out.

Not that that makes Cablevision subscribers who want to watch Cliff Lee take on Tim Lincecum tonight feel any better.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.