Everyone is Always Wrong.

Pitching and defense.  Two things I would have bet the farm that the Cardinals would have excelled at this year.  I was wrong.  Maybe the title of this post is a little too presumptive, but I, personally, am always wrong.

But, of course, the opposite holds true.  The Cardinals are swinging the bat well, particularly Aledmys, whose defensive prowess appears inversely proportional to his offensive game.  The first basemen has produced more in the first 40 games than they did all year last year.  Matheny has done a fantastic job of riding the hot hand and being unafraid to define an every day starter although it looks like Mark Reynolds is his early favorite.

Meanwhile, the pitching staff, almost the same staff that put up historical numbers last year, continues to struggle.  Oh well.

There is a lot to worry about as our division rivals continue to rack up wins, particularly those little fuckers up north.  But the season is long and summer here, so I will just hope the Cardinals can find a way to find a little more defensive efficiency and hope the Michael Wacha’s of the world revert to the mean.

Go Cards! Beat the Dodgers.

 

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Holliday at First.

Matt Holliday to First. Finally.

The inexhaustible Derrick Goold (@dgoold) posted a photo of Matt Holliday working out down in Jupiter at First Base.

This seems like a move that was years in the making. He has never had the surest glove in left field, and although for years his bat made up for his limited range, the last couple years he has been a liability.

It seems Mozeliak is betting big on the quick maturation of Tommy Pham, Randal Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty.

I think in the long term I agree with him, but Holliday has been struggling with injury off and on for the last couple of seasons, and after losing Bourjos, Jay and Heyward we were already a little short in outfield pieces.

I’m sure Mo has a plan, and I think Holliday, because of his outfield deficiencies and injury struggles, is a better fit at First Base on this team, but I think we will need to make a move or two to bring someone in to mend any gaps in the outfield.

 

 

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Ranking the MLB TV Deals (Part 2)

Yesterday, I went over the worst 14 deals in the league. You can read that here.

So here go again, talking MLB TV Deals.

Here, are the last 16.

Old Deals, East Coast Money.

16) Washington Nationals

29 million but 13 percent stake of MASN, can renegotiate every 5 years.

15) Baltimore Orioles

– 29 million but 87% stake of MASN. Very similar deal to Nationals except they have a much larger stake in the broadcast channel.

New Money

*ADDENDUM The Cardinals were way up at the top for the 2016 season. They have already negotiated a 1B dollar 15 year deal with Fox Sports Midwest that grants them a minority equity stake that was undisclosed at the time of announcement. This most certainly will put the Cardinals within this category starting in the 2018 season, when their broadcast revenue will skyrocket to 55 million per season, increasing with at least inflation until the end of the deal in the 2033 season. Derrick Goold writes comprehensively about the deal here.

14) San Diego Padres

The Padres signed a remarkable deal for being such a tiny TV market, with an even smaller following. They got a 20% stake Fox Sports San Diego and will be compensated some 40 million per season on top of that.

13) San Francisco Giants

Almost an entirely pure equity deal. 33% owner of ComCast Bay Area and escalator incentives for viewership. The Giants receive no fee on top of the 33% of television profits though, and are in their contract until 2033. This could be either a blessing or a curse as live sports television becomes the primary target for large advertising campaigns.

12) Arizona Diamondbacks

All four of these teams are in good position for the future. The Diamondbacks will be making 80 million a year next year. This plus a small equity stake in Fox Sports Arizona (that remains unannounced as far as I could tell.)

11) Seattle Mariners 

The Mariners recently signed a deal with DirectTV that will create a Pacific Northwest sports centric channel with their broadcasts at the center. Due to ATT’s recent acquisition of DirectTV it will be interesting to see how this plays out. The Mariners signed a 17 deal (through 2030) with reports estimating the value of the contract to be around 2 billion for the Mariners. I’m not sure this 2 billion will be entirely revenue but will also contain the value of Seattle’s 71% stake in the new Venture. According to the Seattle Times DirectTV’s final 10k (before its merger) declared its 29% stake in the channel to be valued at 8 million. Based on the equity vs money deal the Astros made, I am assuming they are making between 60m – 80m in revenue, excluding the dividends paid from their equity.

10) Houston Astros

The Astros, much like the Mariners combined with ROOT Sports to create a new network channel that the Astros will anchor. From my understanding of the proceedings it seems like the Astros, took a little more revenue 80 million per year, and a smaller equity stake in the new channel (45%).

9) Texas Rangers 

The Rangers recently signed a new Television deal as well. They signed a deal with Fox Sports Southwest for around 2 billion, and this includes 80m per year as a base, and escalating with inflation (like the Cardinals) a 100m dollar signing bonus, and a 10% stake in the Fox Sports channel. Based on their market size, and deal with Fox Sports, I would imagine this 10% is most likely what the Cardinals were also able to acquire.

The Big Market Money Men.

8) Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies deals they signed with COMCAST Sportsbet, appears to fall in line with other recent new TV deals. They will receive about 100m per year in revenue plus a 25% equity stake in the channel. My informed opinion is that all of this money will not make me like this franchise any less.

7) New York Mets

83m in Revenue, plus 65% equity stake in SportsNet New York (much less lucrative than similar deals Yankees, Cubs, White Sox, and Red Sox have since SportsNet’s much smaller viewership numbers.) This is still one of the better deals in the Majors.

6) Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have a very similar deal to the White Sox, with just a much smaller equity stake in Comcast Chicago. They are 20% of the company, and receive 450,000 per game broadcast on Comcast. They receive a much higher fee from games broadcast nationally by the original Superstation WGN.

5) Chicago White Sox

The White Sox have almost the exact same deal as the Cubs but own 80% of Comcast Chicago. Although, and unfortunately for the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf is actually the 80% owner of the White Sox. So I am sure all of that revenue is not pumped back into the franchise.

4) Boston Red Sox

60 million per year for broadcast rights plus 80% stake in NESN. The Red Sox are due up for re negotiation soon. So expect them to make some inordinate amount of money, fairly soon.

3) New York Yankees

Due to the Yankees owning their own network (even though they only own 34% of its equity), they are not necessarily due in line for too much negotiation. They currently make about 100m per season in revenue excluding the profitability of the network. Considering there are literally thousands of four figure seats in  Yankee Stadium (that are empty most nights) I think they’ll be fine.

2) Los Angeles Angels

The Angels, and my little Angel Albert Pujols, are immensely compensated for being a baseball team in a town that doesn’t really give two shits about baseball (Anaheim, CA.) The Angels are paid about 150m per year on an escalating basis (with inflation) and own a 25% stake in Fox Sports Midwest.

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers, or the KINGS OF THE TV DEAL, as they are not referred to by anyone, recently signed an insane 7 Billion dollar deal. They signed a deal with Time Warner Cable which basically makes their games unviewable to the majority of Los Angeles Dodgers fans. So much so, that in Los Angeles, some bars are forced to carry both Time Warner (for baseball) and DirectTV (for football.) People even put signs up if their bar is one of the few that does have Time Warner. From my (little) understanding this has been worked out, and the Dodgers and all those big moneyed players should be much more watchable in the coming season. The Dodgers debacle has been a testament to the “too much money” in sports bandwagon, by ruining the fans experience for a little extra money.

This was an insightful endeavor for me, and hopefully for any readers as well.

Until tomorrow.

 

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Ranking the MLB TV Deals. (Part 1)

Read Part 2 Here.

Discussing MLB TV Deals

mlbtraderumors.com ran a blog post today, that quoted Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports saying the Cardinals, with a new TV deal looming in the not too distant future may be able to afford TWO marquee free agents.

David Price and Jason Heyward. Or Price and Davis. Or Davis and Zobrist. Or who the hell really knows. But this got me thinking, how do TV deals look across the MLB.

Obviously the big market monsters like the Dodgers, Yankees, and Cubs should reign supreme but I thought it was something worth looking into, and these are my findings (and a little harder to find than I though it would.)

First let me begin by saying a lot of this info has come from FORBES,which I won’t even link to because the website is so inundated with pop up ads that it was almost as infuriating as sitting in traffic behind one of those trucks you can’t see beyond but the majority of information from smaller market teams has come from a fantastic Wendy Thurm article at Fangraphs.com.

In honor of the Christmas Season, and my current reading diet we will bunch these groups of teams up by comparing them to a Charles Dickens character.

Tiny Tim.

30) Oakland A’s
29) Atlanta Braves.

Two teams sit at the bottom of the proverbial financial barrel. Their television deals, where very little has been made public, seem to be absolute travesties amongst baseball insiders. No figure is bandied about but based on implications from Thurm the deals may not even eclipse the 8 figure mark. These shitty television deals are not deals that not only create destitution but also cripple the poor franchises.

Of course, no one watches the A’s. It’s rumored Billy Bean gets NESN broadcast to his office and wonders “what if?”

Hilariously, before the Turner Media Group sold the Braves in 2007, they negotiated (with themselves?) a seriously below market TV deal for the next 25 years that is seriously hampering the Atlanta Braves ability to be competitive in the NL East. This might imply how Ted Turner became a billionaire…it wasn’t by being sentimental.

Sydney Carton.

28) St. Louis Cardinals.

Imagine that. On a St. Louis Cardinals blog, the blogger finds a redemptive selfless, alcoholic revolutionary with which to compare his team. Like Carton, it seems the Cardinals do most of the heavy lifting within the NL Central, but every couple of years another franchise swoops in to take all of the credit, and win three major awards in one season, when two of those said awards may have been undeserved*.

Anyways, the Cardinals deal expires in 2017 (thank God). They are paid around 14 million dollars a year. Hopefully, they will find a way to negotiate a deal similar to that of the Phillies. I know due to the small market size they won’t approach the 5 billion figure, but it would be nice if they were able to find a way to massage a little profit sharing into the deal. The Phillies also retain rights to split profits on games that are broadcast online. With the large Cardinals fanbase outside of the direct St. Louis region this could be a rapidly growing segment.

Rumors of 50 million or so a year abound, which seems to be about the going rate now. Even the Padres, who are a tiny little TV market and consistently pretty bad, signed a deal along those lines.

Oliver Twist.

27) Miami Marlins

The Marlins are just, I’m not too sure. They make about 16 million a year from Fox Sports Florida and the deal began about 2006. Since most of these deal are longer term (20-30 years) this could seriously hamper them for the foreseeable future. But hey, at least they got that billion dollar stadium and that big bright moving thing in center field.

26) Kansas City Royals

There isn’t that much known about the Royals deal except they make less than 20 million a year from it and it expires after 2019. Like the Cardinals their awful television deal hasn’t hindered their ability to be competitive. The AL Central, much like the NL Central is not dominated by big moneyed clubs. The World Series Champions are almost to the point of negotiating a new contract, but considering their smaller fan base, and small market, I can’t imagine them signing any major deals.

25) Pittsburgh Pirates

ROOT Sports has the Pirates on a deal of 18 million a year that expires after the 2019 season. Being a transplant from St. Louis and fully relying on mlb.tv to watch games everyday I think the Pirates broadcasts are one of my favorite in the league. I find myself watching the ROOT broadcast, particularly when the Cardinals are playing in Pittsburgh. Like the Cardinals this contract hasn’t hindered their ability to win a lot of games. They just haven’t been able to win the Central.

24) Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are making about 21 million dollars a year from a deal with Fox Sports Wisconsin. With this money they buy performance enhancing drugs for their star players to use. Their deal runs out after the 2019 season.

23) Cincinnati Reds

Now the Cincinnati Reds who share a home with the world famous Proctor & Gamble are paid anywhere from 10 million – 30 million a year based on what I have been able to find. I’m sure neither of those is right and the actual amount is somewhere in the middle, just like their division counterparts, I was able to find out that it will expire at the end of 2016.

Wilkins Micawber. 

22) Colorado Rockies

21) Tampa Bay Rays

The Rockies and Rays are both on pretty shitty TV deals for the size of their markets: 20 million per year, but the Rockies deal doesn’t expire until 2020. While the Rays will expire after 2016. This gives the Rays the slight edge.

20) Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins may have been listed a little high, actually. The value of these contracts particularly one locked in for the foreseeable future, should be pretty high. The Twins are making 29 million a year from their deal but they signed it around the 2006 season which may lock them in at that relatively low price for the next 10 years or so. As people like the Diamondbacks and Phillies continue to sign astronomical new TV deals, this may end up being a pretty severe disadvantage as others in their division are due up for new deals fairly soon.

19) Cleveland Indians

The cost of broadcasting television games in Sports Hell? 30 million a year. The Indians as well are in a year to year contract, obviously contented with the current money from Fox Sports Ohio and possibly negotiating a little more now that Johnny Football may be in the stands periodically.

18) Toronto Blue Jays

Like the Braves above, Rodgers SportsNet owns the Blue Jays. They aren’t selling though, so they’re currently paying the Blue Jays about 36 million USD, and its renegotiated every season. This isn’t very competitive in the AL East, but seems to an appropriate market value for a team in a city that doesn’t seem to give two shits about the American Pastime.

17) Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers make a cool 40 million a year from their TV deal and it expires, like the Cardinals after the 2017 season. Fox Sports Detroit may have to pony up a substantial bit more money after this deal expires. The Tigers have went from a perennial underachiever to one of the premier franchises in the American League.

The rest of the MLB is either on new deals which are worth billions and equity in the local station or are grandfathered in to better contracts thanks to their large markets or owners shares of media companies.

Read Part 2 Here.

Footnotes:

  1. Come on! Kershaw OR Greinke should have won the Cy Young over Arrieta, and particularly Greinke. Reminiscent of that year Lincecum won simply because Wainwright and Carpenter split the Midwest votes. AND winning MOTY when you finished third in your division! With a Cy Young winner and ROTY. And finished third. Go fuck yourself, Baseball Writers, you self congratuling assholes.
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orioles-magazine-cropped

Is Chris Davis the Cardinals Answer?

Is Chris Davis the Cardinals answer for increased offensive production?

Maybe.

It breaks my heart that Jason Heyward is leaving. He quickly nestled his way into my heart, by being a guy that plays his ass off everyday and genuinely seems to enjoy playing baseball. He was easy to root for and the kind of young guy you want to see the franchise build around, but 200+ million isn’t in Mozeliak’s comfort zone, and understandably so.

Contracts like that have not panned out in teams favors too often. Rarely, do guys as young as Heyward walk into giant contracts like that though, so he may be the exception to the rule that big name free agents are Value Traps.

I wonder if Chris Davis is the answer to the Cardinals’ offensive deficiencies. Obviously Matt Carpenter is returning, a very exciting Stephen Piscotty (who will be our right fielder now?), and a couple of old guys that have hit the shit out of the ball in the past, but now, well Matt Holliday and Yadi aren’t necessarily exciting hitters anymore.

If the season were to start tomorrow our lineup would probably look something like this:

RF – Piscotty
CF – Grichuk
LF – Holliday
3B – Carpenter
SS – Peralta
2B – Wong
1B – Adams (Davis?)
C – Molina

I understand this team won 100 games, while suffering a lot of injuries along the way, but that was definitely due more to the once in a decade performance of the pitching staff, that it was the mediocre offensive production.

An update at first would prove a gigantic upgrade over the middling Adams and Reynolds, but the absence of a serious base running threat is pretty obvious. Particularly after a season in which electric lead off men had a big role.

For a monster like Davis to make an impact, we need to get people on before him, and in scoring position. Carpenter hitting 1 and Heyward 2 proved to be the most dynamic lineup the Cardinals could field in 2015, and I’m not sure who slides into that 2 role now.

There is a certain extravagance to the Davis as well that feels very Un-Mozeliak. So as much as I’d like to see a major upgrade at first, I’m not crossing my fingers.

Until next time.

 

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Joe-Maddon-copy

Joe Maddon is an Idiot.

First, let me preface all of this by saying I know Joe Maddon is probably a good manager, he could be a great manager, I don’t know, and I’m not sure my opinion matters one way or another.

I wanted the Cardinals to sweep him up when he left Tampa Bay, and I’m not sure I would have been mad if the Cardinals unceremoniously dropped Mike Matheny in the process.

Matheny has been nothing but successful, and as I have touched on earlier in this blog he is one of my favorite Cardinals ever, but I thought Maddon was special. Now I just think he is an idiot.

After the Cubs beaned star Cardinal Matt Holliday in the head, immediately following a very long stint on the DL from a hamstring injury, the Cardinals plunked a Cub, two times.

It was a day to forget, the Cardinals walked 11 batters. So obviously control was their strong suit. Needless to say, the Cardinals pitchers were not painting corners, or even hitting the veritable Tony Cruz’s glove very often.

They hit Anthony Rizzo twice. So of course they were both intentional.

The second time Rizzo was hit; Belisle barely scraped the outside of his fucking calf muscle.

Here are a couple direct quotes from Joe Maddon himself:

“I’m really disappointed in what the Cardinals did right there, we did not hit their guy on purpose. That was an absolute mistake.”

“I don’t know who put the hit out. I don’t know if Tony Soprano is in the dugout. I didn’t see him in there. We’re not going to put up with that from them or anyone else.”

“We don’t start stuff, but we will stop stuff.”

I bolded that last comment for effect. The emphasis was not Maddon’s but it may as fucking well have been.

You hit our perennial number 3 hitter in the head, literally, clonked him in the head, so…WHO THE FUCK STARTED IT!?

I am not a Major League Pitcher and never will be, I can barely hit the broad side of a barn with a 58 MPH fastball, but I tell you what I can do, not clonk a guy in the batters box in the head with 100 out of 100 pitches.

So fuck you Dan Haren, fuck you Joe Maddon, for playing the defenseless victim card in a game you started. And…now this question has to be asked…what are you going to stop?

Stop whining?

Stop saying you’re going to win the division and finishing third?

Stop being the perpetual laughing stock of an entire professional sports league?

I guess the thing that really bothers me about all of this, is it stinks of the same “bygollywhyshepickingonme” that seems to plague this entire world.

There’s absolutely no self reflection.

I wish there were still good journalists, because an excellent follow up question would have been:

Well, Joe, if Anthony Rizzo (or Kris Bryant) was hit in the head with a fastball in a close game, would you have been alright with that?

But of course, no one asked that, because the article was already written, and the Facebook comments already typed.

“The Cardinal way, huh? Drunk driving and throwing at people.”

People on the internet are the absolute worst. Hiding behind heinous comments and likes spurned on by jealousy of a successful franchise.

I understand, I really do. I hate the Patriots, hate, hate, hate them. Why? Because they win a lot. And they beat the Rams in the 2001 Super Bowl. Sure, I take digs at Tom Brady’s character, but it is the WORST part of me, a part I wish I could bury under the Marianas Trench.

But all I can do is acknowledge it and try to change.  Unfortunately, an already unbearable fanbase (I went to college in Illinois) now has an even more intolerable manager and unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do to change it.

 

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MikeMatheny41

4 Game Lead; 22 To Go.

Here We Go:

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog. There’s been too much work. There’s been no free time, being that it is summer and all animage1d bbqs and beaches and pool parties, but I really haven’t gotten to do any of that. Just a whole lot of work.

Obviously, as you see my Talking Redbirds co-host Brock isn’t too enthused with the end of the season.

The Pirates are hot and heated up and just took 2 of 3 from us in convincing fashion. The Cubs almost truly embarrassed us, except for a late Joe Maddon, classic Cubbie collapse.

But now, the Reds, the cellar dwellers from Cincinnati have a chance to sweep us. It took The Cardinals almost all season to lose two series in a row. So they went ahead and made it three.

The Cardinals still have a 4 game lead though, and only 22 games left. Magic Number is 19.

Must Win Today:

Lance Lynn has the ball today, and the Cardinals put a run up in the top of the 1st, which should be reassuring but it isn’t. They really need to win this afternoon.

Mike Matheny doesn’t seem to think so though. Tony Cruz gets the start and so does Greg Garcia.

During the dog days of summer, when there is nothing else on it is easy to spend the afternoon or evening with the baseball game on. Now there, is a plethora of options, and football, and soccer, but, the baseball matters now. And come October it will matter even more.

Let’s go Birds! Need a W, today.

Cards Catcher Suspended:

Catcher Cody Stanley got suspended for 80 games for using some substance there is no way in hell I can type out here. I’m sure the news media will love to blow this story out since it is a member of the Cardinals organization. Heaven forbid they talk about Grichuk for Rookie of the Year, this should lead Sportscenter tonight, or maybe come on right after they talk about Tom Brady for 23 minutes.

Oh well. Since the news today is bad, just enjoy this .gif.

http://i.imgur.com/LDyjnA1.gifv

 

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