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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pickoff Moves

Angels Offense And Pitching Offensive: A's 6, Angels 4

The Times recap focused mainly on the offensive problems, but the real issue was the leaky bullpen that really left the game out of reach. Like it or not, the post-2002 Angels have been mainly about their pitching staffs. While I've been happy to bag on the Hatcher for his painful anti-contributions to getting the team offense working, pitching failures (in this case, Kevin Jepsen) will make it that much more difficult to hide this kind of silliness. Stranding ten baserunners doesn't help.

Yahoo boxMLB.com recap

Chris Young Manages The Dodgers*: Padres 4, Dodgers 2

The Padres gave the Dodgers' offense a pass to Somnambia, failing to get a hit for the last five and a third innings of this one. Never mind the loss: the real interest was getting to see Ronald Belisario making his major league debut. I have to admit, the kid has some excellent raw stuff (the last time I saw that kind of fastball movement it was Scot Shields in his prime), but you can also tell he's just barely able to throw it for strikes. Nonetheless, he did a fine job in wrapping up the game, and I expect we'll see more of him as Joe Torre gets a better read on his ability.

*Adam Eaton? What was I thinking?

Yahoo boxMLB.com recap

Morons Fight At Angels Stadium, Leave Man Bleeding, Unconscious

Anaheim police are looking for two 25-to-30-year-olds in conjunction with the incident. Their victim, a 27-year-old man, was punched in the back of the head while he himself was fighting with someone else, fell, and hit his head on a concrete step.

How MLB Network Outfoxed The NFL


Truth be told, baseball didn't plan to manage its game this way. In 2004, when baseball owners voted to create a network, they intended to create a niche product like the NFL's, not a channel that would end up hiring big-name broadcasters like Harold Reynolds and Bob Costas and have a chance at Year 1 profitability. Owners created the network mostly as part of a broader plan to copycat the NFL's popular Sunday Ticket service with its own Extra Innings package.

Sunday Ticket, long the bane of cable-subscriber NFL fans, is a DirecTV-only package that gives viewers access to every game played every week. Fans have long demanded the NFL open up Sunday Ticket to cable, but just last week, the sides announced an extension of the exclusive deal to 2014, locking cable fans out for three more years. Extra Innings was to be a similar beast, but as the cable networks got word of MLB's proposal, they revolted, threatening to banish its MLB Network to the sports tier, years before the network even existed.

Meanwhile, DirecTV, which thought it was getting Extra Innings all to itself, balked when it learned MLB was pitching Extra Innings to cable operators. Sunday Ticket is a cash cow for DirecTV thanks in part to its monopoly on the product. The satellite provider charges well more than $100 a season for access to the games, which are simulcast from the networks. But for Los Angeles Dodgers fans trapped in Cleveland, assuming they can get satellite service, that's a small price to pay.

Lots more over there. Whether MLB stumbled into doing the right thing or not, it's a good example of MLB expanding their audience in a fan-friendly way.

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