The Rundown Lite: Chatwood’s Disastrous Start, Sinclair Partners with Amazon on YES, Mound Building

The Tyler Chatwood redemption story saw something of a plot twist last night. He looked good after retiring the first three batters he faced to open the game, but then he walked the leadoff hitter in the 2nd inning and allowed a single before a lineout and another walk to load the bases.

Then, in some bastardized form of karma, Chatwood fielded a comebacker could have ended the inning and fired it over Victor Caratini’s head to allow two runs to score. Yes, he had trouble throwing the ball home. Eek. Another single was followed by his third walk of the frame, after which a bundled-up Joe Maddon ended the outing.

Until this debacle, it appeared as though Chatwood had solved his noted control issues, though the box score may have been telling some lies. The righty’s usage may have been working in his favor, since he was largely facing lineups replete with prospects and non-roster invitees who were stepping to the plate looking to get their cuts in.

As with any of these performances, we can’t take this as a reason to tear our clothes and sit in the ashes. But it does temper the hopes and expectations for Chatwood heading into the season. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Sinclair increases RSN clout

Sinclair Broadcast Group, a big player in local TV stations, initially seemed like an odd choice to partner with the Cubs on the new Marquee Network. As Cubs Insider‘s Moshe Wilensky wrote back in January, Amazon would have been ideal in terms of digital broadcasting and non-traditional media in general. But with MLB’s tight control over streaming rights and territorial restrictions, it made sense for the Cubs to stick with an outfit that could leverage relationships with local carriers.

The recent developments with YES Network, however, show us that Amazon and Sinclair can actually work together. According to the New York Post, those two entities joined with the Yankees to purchase the remaining 80 percent of the RSN the ballclub didn’t already own for $3.47 billion.

This deal serves all parties in different ways and is more of a local play for the time being, but could have a much broader impact in time. Amazon gets to add more sporting events to its portfolio, since YES broadcasts the Yankees and the Brooklyn Nets. Sinclair gets to push more of its existing channels in the New York market. The Yankees get more control of their product.

But you know darn well that Jeff Bezos isn’t getting into something that will have to remain regional. I had theorized back in January, when the Cubs were still waiting to formally announce Marquee, that an Amazon partnership could be a way to force MLB’s hand when it comes to territorial blackouts and streaming rights. Could that be the endgame here, not just with the Cubs or Yankees but with the league as a whole?

As big an industry as MLB is, the league’s record $10.3 billion revenue in 2018 is about 23 times less than what Amazon pulled down. Money talks, and a big enough deal that ensures profits for all teams could eliminate restrictions meant to protect smaller-market teams.

In terms of the Cubs specifically, it’s possible that Amazon could join Marquee in the future to handle the network’s streaming aspects. Please understand that I’m presenting that purely as a hypothetical and not as a prediction with any foundation in sourced information. But, again, money talks, and the Cubs figure to make much more of it if and when they’re finally allowed to expand their reach.

In terms of immediate impact, the Amazon/Sinclair/Yankees deal doesn’t mean anything to the Cubs and their fans. But we may want to put a pin in this topic so we can easily circle back to revisit it later.

Cubs News and Notes

Extra Innings

I’m skipping over news from around the league in the interest of time, but I wanted to share a project I just completed last night. My son is in Little League and he’s getting into pitching, so I wanted to help him out with that. Even if the temperatures were conducive to practice, the ground is mush from rain and doesn’t make for a good surface. Plus our yard is flat.

With that in mind, I went online for ideas and then made a trip to Lowe’s to build a “portable” pitching mound. It cost me maybe $80 in materials and probably took me 3 hours in labor, though it would’ve been lessened had I not lost the screwdriver bit for my power drill.

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Make up your own today. I’ve had a really bad cold for a few days and couldn’t fall asleep until about 3:45am, so I’m wiped.

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