There’s still no official timetable for Joey Votto’s return, but the Reds first baseman finally sounds confident that he’ll be back in the lineup fairly soon.
Here’s some of what he told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
I’ve come a long way. I feel like I can’t put day on it. But I feel like I’ve come a long way. I don’t think it will be too much longer.
Votto hasn’t played since undergoing knee surgery in mid-July and required a second “minor” surgery two weeks ago after suffering a setback. He was having an amazing season when he went down, hitting .342 with an NL-leading 1.069 OPS, yet somehow the Reds have gone 26-12 without Votto in the lineup.
FOX Sports and Major League Baseball announced a few minutes ago that they have agreed to a multi-year broadcast rights extension. The deal keeps Fox as the lead MLB rights holder, and home of the World Series, All-Star Game and a good chunk of the playoffs through at least 2028.
While the press release does not announce the financial terms, Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that it will pay Major League Baseball about 30-40% more than the previous contract. While ratings are not what they used to be, it would seem that the eyeballs Fox is getting are more valuable to it.
UPDATE: That bump is actually even bigger:
For the time being, things will look very much like they do now. Starting in 2022, there will be more games broadcast. There are no specifics about how many more. The release says “FOX Sports will also expand its digital rights,” but again, no specifics on what that means, exactly.
FOX Sports has been a baseball rights-holder since 1996 and has been the exclusive national non-cable rights holder since 2001. That’s gonna continue for at least another decade.