Juan Pierre is eighth player to join 2,000-hit club this season

7 Comments

Last month I angered a bunch of Rangers fans by using Michael Young reaching 2,000 hits to point out that the 2,000-hit club has a relatively big membership compared to similar statistical milestones that receive much less attention.

Some people–including A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy–took that as a knock on Young, whereas my intention was merely to show that reaching 2,000 hits is something multiple players accomplish every season, at rates similar to reaching 250 homers or 150 wins.

In fact, yesterday Juan Pierre became the eighth player to reach 2,000 hits this year alone. Preceding him into the 2,000-hit club this season were Young, Carlos Lee, Orlando Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Paul Konerko, Scott Rolen, and Adrian Beltre.

Next in line for membership? Placido Polanco (1,948), Jason Giambi (1,945), Derrek Lee (1,940), Carlos Beltran (1,895), Andruw Jones (1,880), and Jimmy Rollins (1,846). So there might only be four or five new members in 2012.

To quote Konerko: “It’s nice. It’s a round number.”

(I apologize in advance to everyone offended by this post. I’m just a menace to society.)

DOJ settles antirust lawsuit against cable companies who don’t carry Dodgers games

Getty Images
1 Comment

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.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
5 Comments

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.