Except for travel days, there will be no off days in this year’s postseason schedule. MLB announced the postseason dates today, with the ALDSs beginning on Friday, Sept. 30, followed by the NLDSs on Saturday, Oct. 1.
In order to best separate the games for TV coverage, MLB had previously scheduled certain divisional series with extra off days. Now all four series are set to play their five scheduled games over seven days. That means that Oct. 1 and 4 are scheduled to feature four games apiece, though Oct. 4 would have fewer games if either ALDS ends in a sweep.
All Divisional Series games are scheduled to air on TBS.
The Championship Series games are scheduled to run from Oct. 8-17. The ALCS will air on FOX, while the NLCS will air on TBS.
The World Series will air on FOX and is scheduled to begin Oct. 19. If the series requires seven games, it will conclude on Oct. 27.
It will be the earliest conclusion to the World Series since at least 2008. Last year, World Series Game 1 was played on Oct. 27. The season ended with Game 5 on Nov. 1. In 2009, the season ended on Nov. 4.
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 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.