The Magic Fox-TV Wizard Strikes Again: Cubs vs. Dodgers, Saturday 5/30, 3:10 CT

via images.bleedcubbieblue.com

The three games being carried by Fox today are the Cubs game, Atlanta at Arizona and Minnesota at Tampa Bay (sounds like Fox NFL Sunday, doesn't it?), so you can forget about any rainouts in the other games. The Cubs are the feature game, but Fox's link above, unlike other years, doesn't list the percentage of the country carrying each game.

Without posting a huge list of markets (you can check yours at the link above), it appears the backup games are going to the Southeast, Arizona, parts of the northwest and much of New England. The exceptions are baffling: they're sending the Tampa game to New England, presumably, because the Rays are in the Red Sox division. But Hartford, Connecticut -- filled with Red Sox fans -- gets the Cubs game. The Cubs are going to Milwaukee, Madison, Wausau and Green Bay in Wisconsin -- but not LaCrosse (all of 100 miles from Madison). Grand Rapids, Michigan gets the Cubs, but Lansing doesn't (less than 70 miles apart). Cleveland and Columbus get the Cubs, but Toledo doesn't. Las Vegas, where there might presumably be some Diamondbacks fans, gets the Cubs game.

What Fox ought to do is what some Fox markets do for NFL games -- let their own viewers vote via a web poll or some other method. That way they'd maximize ratings by broadcasting the game in each market that the majority of people in that market actually want to watch.

Or, at the very least, make all their games available on EI and/or MLB.TV -- if they want to "protect" the local advertising, it's not that difficult technologically to insert the local ads to people watching via those alternate methods.

Unfortunately, all of that makes too much sense, so it'll never happen. (Oh, and the Fox-TV market listing link also says "start times are all 1:00 p.m. ET". That's wrong, too.)

Thought I'd toss out this rumor I heard yesterday, which actually makes some sense: the Cubs may have some interest in the Pirates' Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez can play 3B -- though he hasn't since 2006 -- and could platoon at 2B or even take over there once Aramis Ramirez returns. I have no idea how serious this "interest" is or what it would take to get him. But it's an intriguing idea.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Eric Stults
Eric Stults
Dodgers
3-3 W-L 4-1
4.99 ERA 4.29
52 SO 27
26 BB 23
8 HR 2
vs. LA -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Ryan Dempster 3-3 10 10 0 0 0 0 61.1 57 35 34 8 26 52 4.99 1.35


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Eric Stults 4-1 9 8 1 1 0 0 42.0 40 20 20 2 23 27 4.29 1.50

Eric Stults has one career start vs. the Cubs; it was on September 5, 2007 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs hit him pretty hard, but only three Cubs on the active roster today played in that game: Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto. Soto went 2-for-2 off Stults, who missed some time earlier this year with a jammed thumb.

The last time Ryan Dempster faced the Dodgers, he ... well, let's not talk about that. Actually, Dempster has a good lifetime record vs. LA: 3.01 ERA, 4-3 record in 19 appearances (9 starts). He had a 2.92 ERA with a win and a no-decision against them last year including seven strong innings against them on May 26, 2008 at Wrigley Field. Andre Ethier is a Dempster tormentor: 5-for-11 with a homer; that homer was a devastating game-winner off Dempster when he was still a closer, on September 6, 2007.

See above for TV information for today. Try to not get too steamed if your market isn't carrying the Cubs game, but you can curse Bud Selig under your breath if you want. For today's other games see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Overflow comment threads will post today at 4:15 pm, 5:15 pm and 6 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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