The Rundown: No Marquee No Problem, Prime Time ESPN Showcase Suits Ross, CubsCon Canceled, Sunday Baseball Notes
I watched my first baseball game of 2020 last night…it was the Yankees-Mets game held at Citi Field. Most of the Cubs’ intrasquad games haven’t been televised, which is irritating to some, but I’ve been satisfied with highlights on social media. The games are sleep-inducing, glorified practices at best, and I probably wouldn’t have watched anyway.
These guys come from legend. @Sloan_Valve pic.twitter.com/BtVICUKpS3
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 18, 2020
The good news is that you can watch the Cubs play the White Sox on ESPN tonight. It looks like it’s available on MLB TV, too. Those in the Cubs viewing market will only be able to watch on Marquee, so if you have Comcast you’re SOL. It’s easy to blame any of Crane Kenney, Marquee, Sinclair, or the cable carrier, and I’m sorry if it sounds like I am picking on you, but why on earth would you subscribe to Comcast? If that’s your only provider option, then don’t have a provider.
You can easily find a VPN gateway for free, assign it to a location outside of the Cubs region (mine is assigned to Salt Lake City, though I do not use it for baseball), and subscribe to MLB TV. Cable subscriptions are one of the most expensive creature comforts in a first-world society, and they’re so unnecessary. If you’re worried that you’re not tech-savvy enough, you can have a vpn set up in under ten minutes.
If you are morally opposed to losing thousands of channels you probably have never watched, there are far cheaper options besides cable, including Sling or Hulu. My television options save me about $175 per month and include Sling, MLB Network, HBO MAX (which I get free with my AT&T mobile contract), Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. I watch local television using a digital antenna and the picture is pristine. Believe me, nobody needs a cable contract these days, ask anybody who is under 30. When I lived in Chicago my Comcast bill approached $300 per month. That’s blatant thievery!
Cubs News & Notes
- David Ross has named Jason Kipnis and Nico Hoerner as his primary second base options for this season.
- The mutual admiration of Hoerner and Kipnis continues (subscription required).
- Ross plans to treat tonight’s exhibition against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field “like a real game.”
- Victor Caratini will likely see time at first base if Anthony Rizzo is unable to go. Rizzo has been plagued by back and rib soreness for most of camp.
- Caratini and Yu Darvish have developed a trust that goes beyond their budding friendship, which is why Caratini will work exclusively with Darvish this season.
- Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. could be the team’s “X-factors” this season.
- I have no link, but I am of the opinion that Jason Heyward will be the team MVP in 2020. The pressure of a shortened season will simply not rattle the right fielder.
- Theo Epstein is going to have to shave at least $5.5 million from the team’s payroll before August 31 to avoid luxury tax implications.
- The Cubs have canceled their 2021 fan convention, originally scheduled to take place January 15-17 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. It looks like they may try to incorporate a virtual experience for fans, which if done right, could be decent. I wonder if they’ll do a Zoom Q&A?
Find Your Inner Hero
Even though the “if Clint Frazier (or any player) can wear a mask and hit dingers, you can wear a mask, too” tweets are obnoxious and unoriginal, everybody should be masking up regardless. It would be nice if retail businesses encouraged the use of face masks by offering a small discount, say 5 percent, or customer reward points. Most people are against masks only because they feel forced or bullied. It’s easy to incentivize and watch how many boomers become complicit if saves them a buck or two.
Video of Yankees Clint Frazier going deep in a mask tonight against the Mets. pic.twitter.com/tCg7uaTTwV
— andrew kaczynski? (@KFILE) July 19, 2020
Odds & Sods
Frazier has a new stance which makes his quick bat even quicker. He struck out his first time up, though, looking awful on an offspeed pitch. He had his mask on then, too, but nobody tweeted that.
Apropos of Nothing
The coin shortage this country is facing is mildly amusing, but now a Wisconsin bank is paying 5 percent interest for your change, and you do not need an account at the institution to make the exchange. Banks pay a fee to get change from the Federal Reserve, which is why they usually charge a fee for coins that are cashed in rather than deposited. But the tables have turned!
If you can’t make it to Milwaukee, send me your change. I’ll give you full value, and I’ll keep the 5 percent kick.
Updates on Nine
- Frazier was spot on when explaining why he chooses to mask up during games. It’s disappointing to see some people make fun of him since he is genuinely interested in the well-being of others.
- The Yankees experimented with a five-man infield last night behind reliever Zack Britton, who tends to throw a lot of worm burners. We’re not even used to the universal DH yet, and we’re already moving toward deploying the short center fielder.
- Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman shared his horrifying COVID-19 experience. Freeman revealed that he dealt with an extremely high fever, spiking as high as 104.5. At times his body temperature would normalize, allowing him to go through his typical workouts, only to have the fever return.
- Retired pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, who is apparently more decorated than I had known, is playing slow pitch softball in Des Moines, Iowa. Last year he helped the Nationals win the World Series.
- The general expectation is that because of revenue diminishment this year, the prices for free agent players will likely fall too, mirroring rollbacks that have happened in many businesses. That uncertainty has tabled extension talks for players like J.T. Realmuto and Javier Báez (ESPN+ subscription required).
- There will be no major league baseball played north of the border this year, as the Canadian government has ruled against allowing U.S. teams to travel into their country in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The Blue Jays may be forced to play their home games in Dunedin, Florida, an area that has been declared a virus hotspot. A few Toronto players tested positive for C-19 at the end of June, though the team did not release any names.
- Because Jordan Hicks has opted not to play this season due to a pre-existing health condition, the Cardinals may employ a closer-by-committee strategy. Hicks had 14 saves by mid-June last season before being sidelined for the rest of the season after Tommy John surgery.
- A silver lining for the Phillies? Bryce Harper is free to crank out copious amounts of taters at National Park without retribution from fans of the defending champions.
- White Sox infielder Nick Madrigal hopes to make the team’s Opening Day roster. I don’t see him having any impact at the major league level despite being the fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft. He does make pitchers work, but I question whether the hit tool will play against the game’s top pitchers. The rookie was 6-for-27 (.222) in Cactus League play before the season was interrupted.
Out of Left Field
Irregardless, I’m appalled.
In case you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, Merriam-Webster just officially recognized “irregardless” as a word.?
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) July 6, 2020
Though I think Eloy Jiménez should slow his roll just a bit, I do plan on spending a great deal of time watching White Sox games this year just because of Luis Robert.
“[Luis Robert] going to be the next Mike Trout.” pic.twitter.com/fToUbUSmlr
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) July 19, 2020
Sliding Into Home
Because I have had a fever since Friday, the doctors postponed my esophageal dilation. It is now scheduled for Tuesday morning at 11. Fever is gone as of this morning.
Also, let’s give home runs hit in empty stadiums to hospitalized children.
Finally, when I leave my home I take two masks with me (insert joke here if you like). I keep one for myself and I politely offer the secondary mask to someone without one. I do get turned down at times but eventually someone accepts. Before you ask, the second mask is sealed in its original packaging. Nobody wants a used mask. Please stop mask bullying and just be genuine.
They Said It
- “You can ask Nico [Hoerner] — he knows I’m a big fan of his. We’ve been working together, and I know he has a bright future. He’s probably ahead of where I was at his age. He does the right things. He says the right things. He asks questions. He works hard. You never have to worry about him. That’s a great thing to say about someone so young. Sometimes, you got to make sure they’re doing the right things. No, he’s always doing the right things.” – Jason Kipnis
- “There’s going to be guys who need work and to see pitches. I’m going to listen to these guys and their bodies. We pushed them hard [during summer training].” – David Ross
Sunday Walk Up Song
Truck Stop by Anton Mink – If you are into a deviant shoe gaze/jam band/garage rock amalgam, this song is right up your alley. Also, the album represents my first ever online review, one which may hold the world record for its use of adjectives, and Anton Mink was the first band to join Jivewired when we started it up a decade ago.