We already knew the White Sox were teaming up with the Blackhawks and Bulls to remain with NBC Sports Chicago for five more years, while the Cubs are setting off to establish their own regional sports network.
Nevertheless, it’s now official, with a press release and everything. One notion is confirms is that games will no longer appear on WGN:
NBC Sports Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago+ will be the exclusive regional home for all regular season games, pre-season/spring training, and the first round of the post-season coverage for the Bulls and Blackhawks.
That’s good news for the White Sox, since NBCSN games generate more revenue. That’s good news for fans with both channels or those with MLBTV, as WGN’s production lagged behind NBC Sports Chicago’s. It’s good news for writers who are just about done reflexively using “CSN,” because that hard work will have been worth it. It’s bad news for cord-cutters and Jeff Vukovich.
The comprehensive compensation of the deal is still unclear, although Jon Greenberg’s year-end sports media column at The Athletic included this:
The Rocky Wirtz and Jerry Reinsdorf teams will stick with NBC Sports Chicago on a five-year deal that, according to Athletic sources, could be paying the teams a significant upgrade in subscriber fees. That’s important, because without some improvements, their ratings will be garbage without the Cubs.
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While the White Sox were one of a dozen teams that attended Troy Tulowitzki’s workout, the former star ended up signing with the Yankees for the league minimum.
Tulowitzki didn’t play at all in 2018, and he only played in 66 games in 2017. Going back further, he’s only topped 140 games in three of his 13 seasons on an MLB payroll, so it’s hard to plan around him.
The Yankees have an optimistic take as you’d might expect, at least according to this New York Post report …
Should the Yankees also get a deal done with Machado — which remains no sure thing, with the Phillies and White Sox still very much in the mix — Machado would play third, with Tulowitzki at short.
What that would mean for the future of Miguel Andujar remains to be seen, but Andujar’s situation would be up in the air with Machado in pinstripes once Gregorius returns.
… but it’s easy to be optimistic when you just won 100 games and are a preferred free agent destination. Things have a habit of working out.
That said, the White Sox are going about it the only way they can.
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FutureSox talked to Rick Hahn for its first podcast of 2019, and while a lot of his quotes are typically circumspect, the focus on minor-league structure allowed him to make more definitive statements.
For instance, the White Sox are taking a more direct role when it comes to the nutrition of minor leaguers:
We’ve taken over our supply of food, it comes only from White Sox-sanctioned menus and suppliers, whether at home or on the road. We’ve also augmented, outside of the specific per diem the players receive, we’ve actually created a separate account for all the food in both home and road clubhouses, well beyond what it was in previous years. It was a bit of an antiquated system in terms of how it was run, especially at the lower levels. You had these clubbies who had a number of responsibilities, none of which are simplistic, responsible for feeding players on the road. And more often than not that meant a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or some sort of fast food, carry-out, pre-game or post-game. And that was simply because of ease, of habit, and affordability. All of which was understandable based upon the structure that was in place. We’re certainly not alone in trying to address this, and ameliorate it for the players, and try to put them in a much better position to perform by improving their diets. But we like other clubs see it as a pretty high priority item in recent years and one where we are continuing to improve.