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  • Writer's pictureEthan Semendinger

6 O'Clock News: Bally, Montas, & New Rules

Lots of information is and has been coming out in the baseball world with Spring Training camps starting today. Let's get to some of it!


Story #1: Diamond Sports To Bankruptcy?

Earlier today, the conglomerate "Diamond Sports Group"- a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcasting- have elected to skip a $140,000,000 interest payment and will be entering into a 30-day grace period in order to discuss finances. The way it seems that this will turn out is that they will be filing for Chapter-11 bankruptcy. This is fantastic news for baseball. But, why?

In 2019, Diamond/Sinclair purchased the rights of broadcasting to more than 20 regional broadcasts across the country which includes 42 professional teams across the MLB, NBA, and NHL. These rights were bought from Disney for $10 Billion dollars and now it is being reported that the company is $8.6 Billion in debt and needs serious restructuring.

In baseball, they owned the rights to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers. They also held the rights to 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL teams.

Luckily, the MLB has already been talking about what they will do if Diamond Sports/Sinclair is not going to be able to broadcast. In a recent owners meeting, Rob Manfred was quoted with the following:

"I think you should assume that if Diamond doesn’t broadcast, we’ll be in a position to step in. Our goal would be to make games available not only within the traditional cable bundle but on the digital side, as well.”


"What we do is largely dependent on how Diamond and the creditors play their cards, what they decide to do. Our No. 1 goal in terms of preparations is that if for some reason Diamond isn’t broadcasting, that we want to be in a position to make sure our fans are going to get their games.”

While this does not directly affect the New York Yankees (and we can all thank our lucky stars that the YES Network exists), this does pose a very interesting question about the future of cable networks and sports streaming online. Obviously I hope that the MLB can retake control of their broadcasting rights and be able to promote a bigger and better streaming service through and most importantly, allow fans to be able to watch their teams play.

There are no answers to these many questions right now, but it will be incredibly interesting to follow and see what happens in the coming weeks and months.



Story #2: Frankie Montas Heading for Shoulder Surgery

Earlier today, Aaron Boone announced to reporters that the New York Yankees pitcher, Frankie Montas, will be heading into shoulder surgery next Tuesday. This news is not incredibly surprising as reports came out a little over a month ago that Montas was set to miss the first month of the season with a shoulder problem. This, however, throws a bigger wrench into the equation.

Aaron Boone also stated that he is hoping that Montas could return to the Yankees, as a best case scenario, at the end of the season. Cue the "Montas is our trade acquisition" jokes about the future comments from Brian Cashman.

This also comes the same week that the Yankees are dealing with an injury to another starting pitcher, Nestor Cortes Jr., who was taken off the United States World Baseball Classic roster as he is dealing with a hamstring problem. He will be limited from throwing for the next two weeks, and it is unclear how that injury recovery progression will go.

For the time being, however, the news on Montas' shoulder brings about two very important questions: "What is the rotation going to look like?" and "Why did the Yankees get him?".

The rotation- provided Cortes is healthy and ready by Opening Day- will be:

  1. Gerrit Cole

  2. Carlos Rodon

  3. Nestor Cortes Jr.

  4. Luis Severino

  5. Domingo German/Deivi Garcia/Clarke Schmidt

That 5th man in the rotation spot is not all. I have no faith in Domingo German (and I've wanted him off the team ever since the aftermath of CC Sabathia's gala event). Deivi Garcia is a former top prospect who has had a combined ERA over 6.50 across the MLB and MiLB (Double and Triple-A) in the last two seasons. Clarke Schmidt is also somebody who should not be stuck in limbo. He should be a reliever. Don't mess with him like they messed with Chad Green.

If Nestor Cortes Jr. is also going to be out, the biggest Yankees strength is going to be hurting a lot.


With this latest injury, and his horrific performance with the Yankees down the stretch last season, the question does also have to be asked about why the Yankees thought Montas was going to be the right pitcher to get. At the time it was exciting, but it was underwhelming that the Yankees missed out on bringing in an ace like Luis Castillo for Montas. Montas, who was dealing with a shoulder problem at the time too!

He's set to join the list of many other pitchers the Yankees put their eggs into a basket with that failed. Names like Sonny Gray (what a shame that was), J.A. Happ, Andrew Heaney, and more. This is looking more and more like a failure on the front office every day.


Story #3: New Rules - Extra Inning Zombies, Bases, Balks/Balls, & Position Players Pitching

A slew of new rules have been agreed to by the MLB's Joint Competition Committee. These rules are nothing new to those of us who have been following the sport, but they are a kick in the gut towards us fans.

The first rule (as seen above) is the the "ghost-runner" is going to be fully implemented going forward. There will forever be a runner automatically placed at second base for the start of all extra-inning games in the regular season. How annoying! They are purposefully taking away baseball from us. I'd honestly be embarrassed if I had to talk about this as a player to a kid.

Imagine this:

Kid: "So, why aren't you playing the same game in extra innings? Why is there a ghost runner?"

Player: (Being honest) "Because I want to get home earlier."

For the players making hundreds of thousands of dollars (for a rookie) up to hundreds of millions (for a superstar) to play a game, this is a sad look. Everyone else has to sometimes fill in for overtime at their workplace. Sometimes it's required. Sometimes they have to work long days and it isn't fun, but they have to do it. But, baseball players can just opt out of playing the sport to make it easier for them to go home. It's sad.

Jay Jaffe ran a detailed analysis about the time saving measures of this rule. I hate to spoil it because you should give it a read, but he found that it saves about a minute a day over the course of a full season. For 162 baseball games, that'd be a total time save of under 3 hours. To see his whole article, check it out here.


The new bases for the 2023 season (and beyond) were also revealed. ESPN has quoted Alex Cora as saying they are the size of a "pizza box" and "personal pan pizza".

Here is a photo from Bob Nightengale:

That's about it. I've talked about my opinions on the bases in the past and I'll hold judgements about how they will actually change the game for now.


There is also a new change to what pitching motions are going to be allowed going forward. We've seen firsthand the many different wind-ups that Nestor Cortes Jr. has taken, and it seems that there will be a big limitation to that going forward.

The new official rule is that there will be no more allowance on pitchers coming to a full stop in their throwing motion. If an umpire deems that this was the case, the batter will be rewarded with a free ball. This is being done with an emphasis on allowing the pitch clock operators to have an easier time with keeping the timing consistent.

League representatives also reportedly commented saying that the motion should have been called a balk in recent years. While I am in favor of the league honoring the rules of the sport, this was a fun little thing to watch with pitchers and it's a shame they are (seemingly) getting rid of it.

I wonder how this will affect Nestor Cortes going forward.


And the final new rule is that they are putting limits on when a position player can come into a game to pitch. This new rule has it that a position player can only pitch if:

  • The game is in extra innings,

  • If their team is trailing up 8 runs, and/or

  • If their team is up by 10 runs, but ONLY in the 9th inning

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this rule. The move to put in a position player to pitch in a blow-out has been happening more and more recently and that was making it more boring to watch (except when Kyle Higashioka hits a home run). It used to be an oddity and it was being treated as a 1st resort instead of a last resort.

Just another rule to add more rules. We'll see how much (or little) this actually changes the sport.


Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Feb 16, 2023

Diamond Sports is GREAT news! Anything that hurts Sinclair's bottom line is a good thing.

Montas is good news. He's a bum who can't pitch in New York. He is a cross between Sonny Gray and Carl Pavano. German has a league-average ERA+ and averaged 1.05 WAR over each of the past two years. That's fine for a No. 5 starter. I know you don't like him because of the Domestic Violence suspension, and that's a legitimate criticism. But he did his time, as it were. If you want zero tolerance, one strike and you're banned for life, that's a legitimate position to take, but it's not the rule adopted by MLB and the Players Union. I hope Ge…


Feb 15, 2023

None of us will agree on everything and that is what makes life interesting. MLB has a shaky financial partner in Diamond Sports and this might be an opportunity to allow Apple to step in and broadcast more games. Obviously Diamond overpaid and cannot meet their obligations and MLB doesn't need Diamond. I have to disagree with you take on the "ghost runner." Maybe it doesn't speed up the game as noted but from a fan perspective it make game more exciting which is what the fans want and your scenario about talking to the kid about extra innings ... bad analogy imo. Larger bases should also provide for a return to more traditional style of baseball that rewards athle…

Feb 17, 2023
Replying to

All these new rules are designed to bring "more baseball action" for fans ... pitch clock, banning the shift,, larger bases as well as continuing the extra runner on 2nd in extra innings. The goal is to speed up the game for fans and create more excitement etc whatever you want to call it semantics aside baseball is baseball and far from falling into the junk sport category as you so elegantly stated in your post. Baseball is changing albeit at a glacial pace and sport will be more appealing to the casual fan.


Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Feb 15, 2023

A few weeks ago I wrote in the comments to a Derek McAdam article:

"I think you are correct in the fact that it seems like Montas might miss more than the first month.

The Yankees have a strong rotation, but a lot of their better triple-A starting candidates were traded away last year so there isn't a whole lot of depth behind German and Schmidt.

The concern would be if Montas isn't ready by May or June.

The other concern is that Cashman may have traded for an already injured player."

And now here we are.

This is bad news for the Yankees. Very bad news. It's a bad look and they don't have the pitching depth to cov…

Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Feb 16, 2023
Replying to

German is a starter this year, but he's not necessarily a guy who doesn't have an injury history.

You mentioned that the Yankees had 7 starters.

I am pointing out that they are down to 6. Plus, Nestor Cortes is hurt now. And German has durability questions. As does Severino. And Schmidt projects as a bullpen arm rather than a starter.

Randy Vasquez and Beeter might be great, but they're unknowns.

One can't say that the Yankees starting pitching is a strength if 40% of the rotation is rookies.

I don't have any information on Nestor's injury other than what everyone else has. What I do know is that the Yankees have a history of downplaying injuries. It seems …

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