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Time to open the old Tweetbag
Marquee kills any fun win buzz, Javy did something weird, Trevor has a dad and MLB is still committed to keeping fans from watching their sport
Sometimes intrepid readers write in with questions, sometimes they Tweet things at me and sometimes I just poach other people’s Twitter hot takes. Regardless, it’s time to root around in the old Tweetbag!
So this happened last night and it was fun. The Cubs swept a three game series from the Mets (and you know what, Fuck the Mets for all eternity), and have crawled back to .500. The win foisted them into second place in the world’s shittiest baseball division. Never mind that had they lost they would have been tied for last.
The Cubs led 3-0 and then gave all of that lead back. They should have taken the lead in the eighth when Jake Marisnick led off with a triple (seriously), but we all knew they’d strand him there, and they did. Austin Romine (who sucks) popped out to second, Ian Happ struck out (shocker) and Willson Contreras struck out (the only surprise there was I was sure he’d drive one for a very long fly out, one that would have easily been a sac fly if he wasn’t the one up with two outs.)
Dan Winkler got out of a bases loaded jam (mostly of his own creation) in the tenth, and then what do you know, one of Heyward’s trademark grounders to the second baseman rolled through and the Cubs won.
And then, because it’s always a blast to watch your favorite team win on a walk-off we all tuned into the Cubs-owned network’s postgame to enjoy…no, we didn’t.
That’s how terrible Marquee is. There is still no reason to ever watch anything on that steaming pile of a network that isn’t the actual game. Their pregame is dull as shit, their postgame is just as bad. They exist in a world where their fans want to consume more of their product and they’re so bad at it, that those fans just switch off the channel and all take to Twitter to entertain ourselves.
It’s a failure of a nearly unthinkable magnitude. You know what, let’s go to Cole Wright, Ryan Sweeney, Sean Marshall and Ryne Sandberg to see what they have to say about…nothing, really.
Oh, Javy. Come on. You strike out in nearly half your at bats, don’t you need the exercise in running out the few that you actually put in play?
The weirdest thing about this is that he popped up, didn’t run, and yet, somehow ended up too far from first? He really is El Mago. Because that’s some really magic shit.
In the end, Javy was safe because Pete Alonzo had the ball in his glove not in the massive forearm that he hit Javy in the head with. So, great?
Fittingly, Javy’s stint on the bases was short because David Bote immediately hit into a double play to erase him.
This really is something Marquee should talk about more. While NBC Sports Chicago had a Betcast during last night’s Bulls-Hornets game with Dave Kaplan, Kendall Gill and Teddy Greenstein doing a two and a half hour infomercial for PointsBet Illinois Sportsbook, Marquee had yet another Richard Williams Cast.
Is there any less interesting storyline than that a player’s dad is at a game? It’s not the first time something like this has been an overwrought storyline. In the 2003 NLDS against the Barves, Fox couldn’t get enough shots of Kerry Wood’s wife, Sarah, during his two starts. They showed her so much that during the old Desipio GameCast we just started typing “Wheeeeeeee!” every time they showed her cheering. A very somber tHom Brennaman actually announced during the NLCS that year that they would no longer be showing reaction shots from her to respect her privacy. (I was going to ask if there’s anything other than a very somber tHom, but then I remembered he can also go full homophobe whenever he wants to.)
Here’s a shot of Sarah and the kids at Wrigley during the ceremony where they buried Kerry’s ulnar collateral ligament in front of home plate.
That reminds me of the time that Kerry forgot he was the starter one time and had to pitch the first inning in cargo shorts.
First off, both Jordan Bastian and Taylor McGregor reported that the Cubs made roster moves (plural) before last night’s game. They said Joc Pederson was going on the IL with a severe case of being bad at baseball and that Nico Hoerner had been recalled from the alternate site. OK. What was the other roster move? You said moves, with an s, as in multiple moves.
Putting a guy on the IL and replacing him on the roster is one move. Right? Am I crazy? Doesn’t any roster move require two players?
The Cubs have put Joc on the IL with wrist tendonitis and will play with 25 players for the next ten days because it’s cheaper.
Wait, I shouldn’t give the Garbage Family That Owns The Cubs™ any ideas.
As for Joc’s wrist “injury.” It really does kind of smell of Daniel Descalso’s 2019 ankle “injury” doesn’t it? Descalso had signed a two year deal with an option and in July, while hitting .181 he was put on the IL with an ankle that we were assured had been bothering him for quite a while. He came back to play nine games in September (and amazingly lowered his batting average to .173) and then never he played for the Cubs again. He got paid $2.5 million to not play in 2020 and then got a $1 million buyout to just go away before this season.
The Descalso signing never made any sense, well, other than he was relatively cheap. He had played nine seasons in the big leagues and provided below league average offense in eight of them. But his one productive season just happened to be 2018 in Arizona and the Cubs deluded themselves into thinking his changed launch angle (remember when that was a thing?) was the secret to a new, improved Descalso. In that season with the D’bags he still put up mostly underwhelming numbers he hit .237 with a .436 slugging and 13 homers. Yay? His most whelming number was for a guy with zero power he struck out in nearly a third of his at bats (110 K in 349 ABs). His floppage should not have a been a surprise to anyone.
Descalso did pitch in a game for the 2019 Cubs. Alas, he was just as bad on the mound as in the box. He pitched the bottom of the seventh in an 18-5 loss to Pissburgh. He gave up a two run homer to renowned Korean drunk driver Jung Ho Kang. It might have been Kang’s only revenge for Chris Coghlan breaking his leg in 2015.
OK, so I’m sure Joc really is hurt. At least I hope he is, it would explain why he’s hitting just .137/.262/.235.
The Cubs were excited to get Joc late in free agency as they saw him as a suitable replacement for Kyle Schwarber.
So, how is our Large Adult Son doing in Washington?
He’s been “much” better than Joc. At .200/.238/.350. Yikes. Maybe they are perfect replacements for each other. If you add Joc’s OPS+ (41) to Kyle’s (61) you get…league average.
Joc is not the first Cubs’ acquisition to struggle in his first month with the team.
Jason Heyward hit .224/.333/.271 in his first month as a Cub (though honestly he pretty much did that his first two seasons.)
Dexter Fowler had a good April when he came over in 2015, but he was brutal in May .189/.293/.377 (probably the gravity of having to replace Luis Valbuena finally hit him.)
Jon Lester was 0-2 in four April starts in 2015 with a 6.23 ERA and opposing batters hit .322/.354/.456 against him (then again, did that guy ever win a big game for the Cubs? I can’t think of any.)
Derrek Lee hit .233/.333/.411 with 21 strikeouts in his first month in 2994. It happens to the best of them.
And, of course the great Steven Souza Jr. hit .148/.258/.333 in his first 11 games with the Cubs and then got designated for assignment between games of a doubleheader.
So, it can happen to the best of ‘em. I’m sure Joc will be just fine.
By the way, the other Jock, Jacque Jones hit .228/.274/.474 in April 2006, his first month with the Cubs. And then he went on to…be just as bad for three seasons.
Bleacher Nation pointed out this story yesterday. Major League Baseball is finally telling its teams that their Regional Sports Networks should start to figure out ways to offer non-authenticated streaming rights directly to consumers. Basically, that means even if you don’t subscribe to a cable, satellite or streaming service that offers…oh, I don’t know, Marquee Sports Network for example, you could just pay Marquee directly to subscribe and stream Cubs games.
It won’t happen this year, because MLB’s chief operations and strategy officer Chris Marinak says that rights will be tricky to negotiate (all these teams are getting paid rights fees from those cable, satellite and streaming services based on the idea that nobody can stream the games without paying them for service first), and MLB wants to “retain overall control over where live game footage plays.”
As many things in life are, this is bullshit. Even before the more drastic (but necessary) step of making every game available on MLB.tv regardless of where the viewer is located (and MLB owns that package and gets all the money), or allowing the RSNs to sell streaming straight to consumers, baseball should finally do away with its nonsensical blackout rules.
Every year we all end up running this graphic of the convoluted blackout areas. What other sport would deny their fans a chance to PAY THEM so they can watch their favorite team? And the worst part about these blackouts is that they penalize the fans who live closest to their teams. It has never made any sense.
Remember when we used to have to worry about whether the Bears home game was a sellout because if it wasn’t the game would be blacked out locally? You know why we don’t worry about that anymore? Hint: It’s not just because new Soldier(s) Field has a smaller seating capacity than the old monstrosity did. Since 2015, the NFL owners have continued to approve one year extensions to suspend the blackout rule. It’s not enforced anymore.
Why? Because as much as NFL owners love their ticket and beer and trinket revenue from game day, the biggest checks they get every year are from the TV networks. So they are not about to deprive anyone the chance to watch Fox or CBS air three hours of Budweiser ads with some football mixed in.
And, as much as MLB teams worry about their aging fanbase, those fans watch enough games on TV that that’s where their real money is, too. The fact that they continue to stick their clammy fingers in the eyes of their biggest revenue streams (streams don’t have eyes…you know what, just go with it) is dumb even for these rich assholes.
They know they need to get rid of the blackouts, and they know they need to stop preventing fans from paying them to watch the games on their TVs or phones or iPads, and I guess somebody’s watching games on those stupid refrigerators that have TV screens built into them, sure, why not?
They know this, and they’re going to do it. Someday. That’s what makes it so frustrating. They continue to cost themselves fans over something they know is inevitable. They just haven’t gotten around to actually fixing it yet.
Comfort yourself with that fact the next time you try to watch a baseball game and can’t.
I also would have given career sub-mediocrity Albert Almora a standing ovation were I to waste my money to attend a Cubs game. I would have been celebrating that he’s no longer on the roster.
What exactly were those fans honoring him for?
I guess the obvious is that he scored the go ahead run in the 10th inning of game seven of the only World Series we’ve ever seen the Cubs win
Perhaps it was fact that he walked 67 times in 1316 plate appearances with the Cubs?
Maybe it was that in five seasons with the Cubs he was worth 3.5 wins above replacement?
Or, maybe it was the fact that after his first three seasons he was was actually worth 4.3 wins above replacement? Yes, it went down the last two years.
Could it have been that he was drafted 12 spots ahead of 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager, and that the Cubs were actually thinking very seriously about drafting Seager, but decided he was too tall to play shortstop? Did they not notice Albert was too slow to play center?
Nah, maybe it’s just that Cubs fans are going to always give nice welcome back ovations to all of the 2016 World Series heroes. That’s pretty cool, actually.
Oh, except that they somehow managed to mix in a fair amount of boos when the guy who actually drove in the eventual winning run in game seven returned a season later.