Looking at teams’ broadcast deals from 1961

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Larry Granillo has an interesting item up over at Baseball Nation today: a look at the broadcast rights fees paid to teams in 1961. Those familiar with Larry’s work know that he’s great at finding old gems in old magazines and stuff, and his finding these rights fees — which he stumbled across in a March 1961 issue of Sponsor magazine — is one of his better finds.

The high end: the Yankees, who got a combined $900K for TV and radio. The low: the Senators, who got $300K.  Adjusted for inflation that’s a tad over $7 million for the Yankees and a bit over $2.3 million for Washington.  In contrast, the smallest TV rights deal today is probably the Royals who pull in around $20 million or so a year. Go read the article for the whole chart.

Of course, back in 1961 the teams didn’t have to pay their players much money as they were basically indentured servants thanks to the reserve clause, so the owners did just fine, thank you.  They just got a lot more money from the turnstiles than they did from the rabbit ears.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.