Why is the San Diego city council weighing in on Padres’ broadcast rights?

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The Padres have a thing like a lot of teams have had in recent years: a large portion of its fan base can’t see Padres games because one of the cable providers in the area isn’t carrying the channel which has the broadcast rights. In this cast it’s Time Warner — who covers northern San Diego County — not carrying Fox Sports San Diego, which runs the Padres games.

Whatever. Business is business. If Fox is asking for too much of a cut from Time Warner or if Time Warner is trying to squeeze out a competitor’s programming that’s something for the market to figure out. Customers who want to see Padres games will switch to satellite if they can. Or they’ll send a barrage of mail to Time Warner or something. I know people love their TV and their sports, but cable is a business and these things ultimately shake themselves out.

So why, then, is the San Diego City Council getting involved?

A San Diego City Council committee hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning on the impasse between Time Warner Cable and Fox Sports San Diego over carrying Padres baseball games.

The special meeting of the Rules and Economic Development Committee is set for 9 a.m. at the City Administration Building. Committee Chair Sherri Lightner said she arranged the hearing because of an outcry from fans who want to watch the hometown team’s games.

Grandstanding? Or is is just another instance of government officials mistaking sports teams as some sort of public trust and cable television carriage as an inalienable right?

 

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.