While HBT launched in April 2009, I think of today as being a bit more significant, anniversary-wise. That’s because today marks one year since I ditched the legal gig and started blogging here full time.
In some ways this year has flown by. It has certainly gone by quicker than any of my years working in the shyster business. But by other measures, it seems like I started a million years ago. For example: on that first day of full time work one of my posts discussed whether Roy Halladay was worth risking valuable young arms like Joba Chamberlain in a potential trade. Another one celebrated Derek Jeter being named SI’s Sportsman of the Year.
Anyway, no point to this other than to say thank you to the millions of readers who have made this blog a success. You and your clicks have allowed me to do what I always wanted to do with my life: sit in my pajamas until noon, shave sparingly and avoid genuine human interaction as much as possible.
Oh, and the writing about sports thing is nice too.
(The pic comes from this cartoon from The Oatmeal which perfectly captures the pros and cons of working at home. NSFW language, however, so beware)
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. The DOJ 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,” an 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 to 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.