Eulogy In Haiku: MLB Kills Cubscast

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The great “Cubscast” podcast is gone, but not forgotten

Really, MLB?
You tell a great Cubs fan cast
To cease and desist?
If you’re a fan of Cubscast, a great fan-produced Cubs podcast, then you know it’s been months since we’ve heard a new episode.  This week, in their final installment, Lou and Sheps explain why they’ve been gone and why their podcast’s great run has ended after 6 seasons.  Earlier this year, MLB Advanced Media sent a cease and desist letter demanding that Cubscast stop podcasting, take down their website, and transfer the domain name to MLB.  
Major league baseball
Shows their utter cluelessness
‘Bout new media
“In-market” fans can’t watch games online, even though many of us are willing to pay for the privilege – most of us do not have televisions at work.  As my fellow ChicagoNow blogger Julie DiCaro has complained, many teams (including the Cubs) really haven’t figured out how to treat bloggers when it comes to access. And now, because a fan-produced podcast uses the Cubs name and colors (yes, they complained that the Cubscast website used a blue and red theme) we have lost one of the best, and most entertaining, fan podcasts. 
Here’s how Lou put it in his letter to Cubscast listeners:
Of all the things an organization with such great resources as Major League Baseball can do, this seems like a low note and a waste of talent to me. I love baseball, but I wish they would move quickly to embrace fan involvement, fan communities, and technology. Other leagues such as the NBA are setting the bar high, and baseball has some serious catching up to do. Watching a great sport like baseball is one thing, but being connected to other fans makes watching and experiencing a season a thousand times better.
I’ll sure miss Cubscast
They’re the reason I’m blogging
In the haiku form
In an early episode, Lou, Sheps and Sneetch were joking around about haiku. For some strange reason this inspired me to start my first blog, The Cubs In Haiku, which became Chicago Sports In Haiku when I was invited to join ChicagoNow. So now you know who’s to blame!  I was honored to have been mentioned in their list of friends during the final episode.  
So watch out, bloggers
And baseball fans on twitter
You just might be next
Take the time to listen to the final episode of Cubcast and get the complete story from Lou and Shep’s perspective.   While you’re listening, remember … if you use the name (or even the colors) of an MLB team in your blog title or twitter handle you might be the next recipient of a nice cease and desist letter from Major League Baseball.  If this blog becomes too popular and MLB starts to notice, I may have to get a new title banner.  
So it’s au revoir
To a great bunch of Cubs fans
Lou and Sheps (and Sneetch)

Filed under: Cubs

Tags: Cubs, Cubscast, Haiku, MLB

Comments

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  • Well versed, Ed. I really can't believe it. Not sure prose can capture the emotion of it nearly this well.

  • In reply to AndCounting:

    Seconded.

    Ed, thank you for the thoughts and of course, the haikus.

    -Lou

  • In reply to cubscast:

    It's my pleasure, Lou
    To sing your praises widely
    For a great podcast

  • In reply to cubscast:

    Guys, that really sucks.

    I have a story that I've rehashed many times at other sites.

    I've sent about 20 e-mails on the Customer Service site through MLB.com. I've never received a response.
    In 2008, I purchased six old Cubs game through their website. I thought it would be fun to go over some old games from 84 and 89.

    When I got the games...they were cassette tapes. Yep. You heard me, correctly: Cassette tapes...like for a tape recorder....like it's 1983.
    When I tried to contact MLB.com, I received no response.

    MLB is a heaping pile of crap.

  • In reply to jdoolsiu:

    You're lucky it wasn't reel-to-reel. CDs were just coming of age in the 80s, so maybe MLB considered cassettes to be more-or-less "state of the art" for portable media at the time.

    But, of course, it is inexplicable that nobody at MLB in 2008 thought it would be a good idea to convert that stuff to newer formats.

    For a lousy $50 they could have gotten a simple device to create MP3 files from cassette tapes.

    More evidence that, as I mentioned earlier, "Major League Baseball Advanced Media" is an oxymoron.

  • In reply to EdNickow:

    To be fair, there's nearly 2500 games per year. The costs of digitizing or maintaining archives for all of that are daunting. The number of individual game requests is probably pretty low, so getting some poor intern to babysit a VCR for three hours is probably far less than the gains they'd hope to make by modernizing the archives and having every game ready to go at a moment's notice.

    Of course, that's taking the short-term view of how things are right now. The problem and thrust of this whole discussion is that MLB are not thinking long-term, not considering the kinds of brand new opportunities that would open up to them if they made those sorts of investments.

    They just see the cost, they don't see the potential gains, and obviously don't have the know-how to realize them anyway.

    Maybe someday. But clearly not now.

  • In reply to GalenAtTheDugs:

    I can understand issues with digitizing the "back catalog" as it were, but for as long as there has been MLB.TV and Gameday Audio it's a no brainer.

    As you suggest, demand for old games is probably low - and my guess is that it's really a relative handful of games being ordered by several fans. So they could digitize a game on the first order and then have it in the archives for subsequent requests.

    An investment of a few thousand dollars (maybe even close to just $1,000) in digitizing equipment would allow them to create the necessary files for games as they are ordered. Unless they are willing to "sell out" of pre-Gameday-era tapes, they're making copies anyway.

    But we agree on the broader point. They seem clueless about the long-term potential of new media.

    Especially fan-created media that costs them absolutely nothing and can only increase interest in their product.

  • In reply to EdNickow:

    damn! while I was in Iraq for an entire year, this was my best source for information about the Cubs. How clueless is MLB/Bud Selig?

  • In reply to johnz:

    It's obvious ... despite the patriotic hats for Memorial Day and Independence Day ... Major League Baseball hates the troops!

  • In reply to EdNickow:

    I recommend that they simply change the name to 100yearsoffutilityandcounting.com and just keep going.

  • In reply to Bankerdanny:

    Are you familiar with Adam Kellogg's great blog?

    http://andcounting.adamkellogg.com/

  • In reply to cubscast:

    The Cubs and MLB tried doing the same thing to me at Beyond the Vines. The cemetery on the North Side. They said I was getting the fans confused and I was copying Wrigley Field. They asked me to sign a three year contract to advertise in Vineline. They told me the montly subscription base was 60,000 printed. Actually, there are only 27,000 printed. When the contract ended, they wanted me to take down the Ivy and the Red Brick wall at the Cemetery. Were they thinking I could take all the urns out and put then in Ikea shelfing?

  • In reply to AndCounting:

    Thanks, Adam. The rant on your blog was great, as I've said elsewhere. Let me just put a link here so that people can read it.

    I guess being inspired by Lou, Sheps and Sneetch is just something else we have in common.

  • In reply to EdNickow:

    The Cubs and MLB tried doing the same thing to me at Beyond the Vines. The cemetery on the North Side. They said I was getting the fans confused and I was copying Wrigley Field. They asked me to sign a three year contract to advertise in Vineline. They told me the montly subscription base was 60,000 printed. Actually, there are only 27,000 printed. When the contract ended, they wanted me to take down the Ivy and the Red Brick wall at the Cemetery. Were they thinking I could take all the urns out and put then in Ikea shelfing?

  • Major League Baseball deserves to lose fan interest to football if they don't understand that podcasts and blogs keep interest (and demand) high for their product. This is stupid on so many levels. It is astounding even for the MLB.

  • In reply to Aisle424:

    It strikes me as even dumber than old man Wirtz refusing to put Blackhawks games on TV. In both cases, short-sightedness prevents supposedly smart people from seeing the big picture.

    But apparently it's not just MLB. The University of Florida has told the Crystal Lake High School Gators to stop using their logo.

  • This is really disappointing to hear. Hopefully it isn't too shameless a self promotion, but this is a topic that was tackled in our comic strip way back on June 26, 2009:
    http://thedugs.com/?p=181

    It's sad to see that instead of embracing more mobility, more technology, and more community engagement, that they're instead choosing to go even further the other way. Bill Wirtz of the Blackhawks never learned the lesson that hiding your team from your fans and audience is a horrible idea, and here the MLB is doing just that.

    They must not like money, when so much of it is available from just embracing some technology and getting people fired up. Weird decision for a business to make.

  • In reply to GalenAtTheDugs:

    Honest, I replied to Aisle424 above before reading your comment about Wirtz. Really. I did.

    I think your strip catches the frustration of "watching" games on Gameday. This year they "improved" things with cartoon players in an enhanced game day "experience". But based on what I read on twitter it kinda creeped people out.

  • Good job, Bud Selig. Piss off your most loyal fans. Bravo.

  • In reply to BrianMoore:

    Not only were Lou, Sheps and Sneetch huge Cubs fans, they had a large following of Cubs fans, some of which certainly became bigger and more devoted fans because of Cubscast.

    Their shows made it exciting to relive the highs, gave us a place to share the pain of the lows, and somehow validated the unjustified optimism of Cubs fans everywhere.

  • Brought to you by the same people who tried to claim ownership of baseball stats and who won't let you watch your own team on mlbtv.com.

    What a braintrust they have running that place.

  • In reply to cubbiejulie:

    "Major League Baseball Advanced Media" is an oxymoron.

  • In reply to cubbiejulie:

    The Cubs and MLB tried doing the same thing to me at Beyond the Vines. The cemetery on the North Side. They said I was getting the fans confused and I was copying Wrigley Field. They asked me to sign a three year contract to advertise in Vineline. They told me the montly subscription base was 60,000 printed. Actually, there are only 27,000 printed. When the contract ended, they wanted me to take down the Ivy and the Red Brick wall at the Cemetery. Were they thinking I could take all the urns out and put then in Ikea shelfing?

  • Doug, that was indeed my gut reaction to getting a C&D letter after over 5 years of doing our show. However, there was a lot more at play than just our pride. The prospect of being sued or paying thousands in legal fees just to prepare a case for court sounds a lot better on paper than it actually would have played out.

    The bigger issue was just having to dwell on the "why" of the whole thing. Not even "why us" but just why. It's a question we'll never get a real answer for.

    -Lou

  • Isn't MLB "Advanced" Media a party to those TV contracts? It's probably time to renegotiate.

    I do believe you are correct about local streaming, I just hope it's sooner rather than later.

  • In the final installment, they did say it would be possible to start over with a different name and URL. But after 6 years of doing the show, and in the wake of the frustrations of dealing with the crap from MLB, I think it was too daunting a task. I'll miss them, but I can't say I blame them.

  • The Cubs and MLB tried doing the same thing to me at Beyond the Vines. The cemetery on the North Side. They said I was getting the fans confused and I was copying Wrigley Field. They asked me to sign a three year contract to advertise in Vineline. They told me the montly subscription base was 60,000 printed. Actually, there are only 27,000 printed. When the contract ended, they wanted me to take down the Ivy and the Red Brick wall at the Cemetery. Were they thinking I could take all the urns out and put then in Ikea shelfing?

  • I got a similar letter from the Cubs and MLB.
    Actually, my situation is still on-going. I have been jerked around for almost two years now!
    The Cubs and MLB tried doing the same thing to me at Beyond the Vines. The cemetery on the North Side. They said I was getting the fans confused and I was copying Wrigley Field. They asked me to sign a three year contract to advertise in Vineline. They told me that 60,000 magazines were printed, then when I questioned the same person in the organization a few weekss later, he told me the that 40,000 were printed. Actually, there are only 27,000 printed. When the contract ended, they asked me to take down the Ivy and the Red Brick wall at the Cemetery. Were they thinking I could take all the urns out and put then in Ikea shelfing?

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