The Cubs have to take a hard look at the Dodgers before their next TV deal


An interesting column from Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune about the Cubs’ upcoming TV deal.

Their current deal expires after the 2019 season and, given how these negotiations go and given how the Cubs are on the upswing as far as popularity and team quality are concerned, some might be thinking that the organization will max the heck out of the TV dollars with a multi-billion dollar deal like the Dodgers entered into with Time Warner.

The problem, of course, is that the Dodgers’ TV situation is kind of a mess, with far more households in the Los Angeles area unable to see the Dodgers than those which are. We’ve been over that at length and Rosenthal recounts that at the start of his column. You can just skim that part.

The interesting stuff comes after that. Specifically, Rosenthal’s argument that the Cubs should at least consider being the first elite, gold-plated sports brand that doesn’t seek to maximize TV dollars for their own sake in the interests of a more sustainable model which does a better job of reaching fans than an exclusive pay TV model does. Rosenthal notes the NFL’s deal with Twitter which was just announced and rumblings of how other online players, as opposed to just cable companies, might get into the business of steaming games to the masses without cable carriage disputes or, possibly, blackouts. Games streamed via Facebook? A true a la carte TV experience via Amazon? Why not?

We’ve talked about that topic an awful lot here lately ourselves. About how baseball should find a way to get its product to the most people. It’s a business, obviously, but like any business it needs to balance short term and long term growth. The cable deals which have plowed so much money into the game in recent years are the epitome of a short term strategy it seems to me. It’ll be interesting to see if post-Dodgers TV deals — like the one the Cubs will soon seek — thinks about these things a bit differently.

(thanks to Chris Jaffe for the heads up)

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.