In what is almost certainly a tease for what fans can expect to see on Marquee Sports Network in 2020, the Chicago Cubs are re-launching their own YouTube channel. MLB had previous maintained control over that content, so this means the team can have a more customized approach.
From shorter, irreverent videos such as Javy vs. Javy to more “inside baseball” content such as the excellent Between Starts series, Cubs Productions has already given fans tons of excellent material. The move to YouTube from the somewhat limited platform offered by Twitter means having a much larger canvas and a lot more creative freedom. This new channel will still feature the standard one-off clips and highlights, but the real draw is long-form video series on any number of topics ranging from players’ offseason lives to puppies and even crafting.
That variety stands out and it’s clear the Cubs are trying to create programming that can appeal to just about everybody. Here’s a quick look at some of the planned programming:
- “The Offseason,” a look inside the offseason lives of Cubs players.
- “Call to the Bullpen,” a call-in advice segment for anyone who who has ever wondered how Anthony Rizzo might approach dealing with a significant other who is a bad kisser.
- “Make it Cubs,” a series of Cubs-centric crafting videos along the lines of Tasty.
- “The Breakdown,” a deep dive into significant plays by way of player interviews, analytics, replays, etc.
- “Cubs & Pups,” a cute, interview-in-the-backseat style show where a young child hangs out with Cubs players in a car full of puppies.
- “Top 10 Plays,” which is exactly what it sounds like, with the first video showcasing the top 10 comebacks of Joe Maddon’s Cubs tenure.
- “Bae vs. Ballplayer,” a take on “The Newlywed Game” or, if you prefer, Tom Haverford’s “Know Ya Boo.”
Readers of Cubs Insider fall squarely within the target audience for “The Breakdown,” the first episode of which looks at David Bote’s walk-off grand slam against the Nationals last July. It includes commentary from Bote about his thought process during the at-bat, along with input from Joe Maddon and each Cub who reached base that inning. There’s even an interview with Bote’s wife, Rachel.
Few fanbases have access to such in-depth content about their team, and I suspect this series will stand out and serve as the closest approximation to the types of programming we’ll see on Marquee Sports Network.
“The Offseason” offers a less baseball-focused glimpse into the lives of Cubs players. In the first episode, we get to see Pedro Strop’s offseason in the Dominican Republic. Strop is one of the most entertaining Cubs to follow on Instagram, so it makes sense that he’d play prominently into the Cubs’ YouTube efforts as well. If you didn’t think you cared about hearing Strop’s mom singing while she cooks, let me be the first to dispel you of that notion. You very much do!
The other shows such as “Cubs & Pups” and “Make it Cubs” are admittedly a little silly. Still, they manage to be entertaining without being too hokey. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to make a Cubs logo out of string and nails, your day has arrived.
Given the kind of content we’ve already been treated to on Twitter, there’s plenty to be excited about here. YouTube should offer a lot more freedom to create Cubs-focused videos that appeal to everyone from the hardcore to the casual fan. What we’ve already seen is high quality, entertaining stuff that should provide plenty of fun both during and after baseball season.
The Cubs YouTube channel will likely serve as both a testing ground for potential Marquee content and a hook to lure new subscribers. This opening salvo represents what Cubs Productions thinks will be a hit and fan response will help determine whether or not “Cubs & Pups” and other features are here to stay.