Still gobsmacked that a major league team is playing in a joint like the Oakland Coliseum, where the raw sewage flows more freely than the Bud Light. So too is A’s owner Lew Wolff, who tells Eric Fisher of SBJ that he is embarrassed by the mess but that it’s out of his control:
Major League Baseball, of course, has spent over four years pretending to be studying the viability of the A’s remaining in the Oakland Coliseum vs. moving to San Jose. In reality it’s merely been stalling, afraid to confront the Giants over its territorial claim to San Jose and unwilling to say anything which might suggest that a team petitioning for a new ballpark someplace is somehow the wrong thing to do. In those four-plus years nothing has been done to improve the Coliseum or the A’s situation.
Which now I suspect will give us the archetypal MLB problem-solving dynamic: (a) ignore a situation until it becomes a public relations problem; and (b) then go 100 m.p.h., quite possibly in the wrong direction to quickly fix it. Which is to say that I expect Major League Baseball to announce later today that the A’s will become a full-time road team, will relocate to Pluto, will stop eating so much fiber, or something else silly at some point today.
Because that’s way easier than having done the hard work necessary over the past several years to make sure that a major league baseball team wasn’t playing in a literal cesspool.
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.