This just came in:
Building off the social media success of the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby – at which MLB players interacted with fans via Twitter and Facebook live from the field during an MLB event for the first time – Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media and the Major League Baseball Players Association today announced an expansion of the initiative that will for the first time include social media activity during the All-Star Game itself.
This time it counts, y’all!
I appreciate that this is not going to truly become a circus because, per the press release, players will only be allowed to update their Twitter feeds and stuff after they are out of the game. So, while I joked about it on Twitter and expect a million hack columnists to take gratuitous swipes at social media in general, it’s not like someone is going to strike out because they were uploading pics to Facebook or something.
But this still galls me. Because it is yet another example of baseball wanting to use the All-Star Game as a big marketing showcase and general free-for-all while still having the game determine the truly important matter of who gets home field advantage in the World Series. In a real game, a player would get fined and ostracized if he was caught tweeting during a game, even if he was on the bench. Here? Have it, fellas.
Major League Baseball: either admit that the All-Star Game is nothing but a fun and meaningless exhibition and take the home field advantage aspects of it away or else treat it like a real friggin’ baseball game, both in terms of roster selection and game play experience. Because trying to make it both is a terrible idea.
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.