When the Chicago Cubs announced they were leaving their old TV home to start their own network, some saw it as a prudent business decision that would create another significant revenue stream.
With more revenue streams, the Cubs will theoretically be a contender for years.
Of course, that hasn’t happened.
The cubs are in the early stages of rebuilding to an undetermined length. In the middle of the marquee sports network’s first full season in 2021, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer came to the conclusion that he could not sign three of his biggest stars, and had to largely restore the farming system from the next start. Sales carried out. Stages of Cubs History.
But instead of stating the obvious, Hoyer declined to call the plan a reconstruction and even questioned why a reporter needed to put a label on it. Ten months later, the Cubs are below .500 and are looking for prospects like Christopher Morrell, Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson.
The Cubs still refuse to believe they are in rebuilding mode, which is their prerogative. No one has to take the word of cub management for knowing what they are seeing with their own eyes, and no matter what it is called, it is often not observable.
Nevertheless, there are games that have to be broadcast and there is a station to provide fans with news and information related to the Cubs. For those who can’t get enough of the team, Marquee — owned by the Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group — provides that content. This includes hour-long pregame and postgame shows, documentaries and events such as the unveiling of the fake Jenkins statue on Fridays. The network also hosts the Chicago Sky Games and other sports.
But there is too much airtime and not enough live sports to fill the blank. So the network created a Sunday morning talk show called “The Reporters,” a classic cable talk show for “sportswriters on TV,” which aired during the 1980s and ’90s.
That show featured a former PR person named Ben Bentley, who spoke Chicago and served as a moderator, and old-school sportswriters Bill Gleason, Bill Jouss and Rick Taylender, who were technically young, but previously Already had developed the personality of an old sports writer.
For the sports media people, the announcement of the marquee show was welcome news. There hasn’t been a local sports debate show since the summer of 2020, when NBC Sports Chicago canceled David Kaplan’s “SportsTalk Live.”
But few wondered how much exercise candid journalists could get on Cubs-related topics at the station run by Cubs and Sinclair. Would a reporter be allowed to criticize Chairman Tom Ricketts’ spending? Can anyone say that manager David Ross was having an issue? Will the Cubs intervene to ensure that the top officials don’t get ripped off?
The answer to one of these questions was received on Sunday. No, the network won’t let a reporter criticize upper management – Hoyer in particular.
Sunday’s show featured three veteran journalists: David Hogg of WSCR-AM 670, Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times and former sports anchor Peggy Kusinski. They were joined by WGN-AM 720 personality Bob Sirot, who was the moderator.
Sources said a segment on the Cubs’ undisclosed business-deadline plans was going smoothly until the former Tribune columnist, and Kusinski, who has a weekly show on WMVP-AM 1000, discussed rebuilding. .
Hoy said that Hoyer’s transparency was “lacking”, comparing it unfavorably to the job former President Theo Epstein did in explaining his game plan. Hoff wondered aloud whether Hoyer was “bound to reality” and asked the Cubs president for some clarity. Kusinski agreed and called for “honesty.”
“It was the wrong word,” Kusinski told the Tribune.
The taping was abruptly stopped shortly thereafter because journalists were told it was a technical difficulty. He was then told that he would have to start this segment altogether.
Before they began taping again, reporters were told not to mention the “transparency” angle in the new segment.
“They kept saying, ‘Stay by what Jade said (during a group interview last week),'” Kusinski said.
He avoided the subject and the original segment was edited out when it aired on Sunday mornings.
A spokesperson for Marquee said the show would air live in the future rather than being taped, but did not address the decision to edit out critical comments.
Hoff declined to comment. Lee was not available for comment.
Kusinski had appeared in previous episodes and stated that the panelists were told it would be an “interactive show” and that the reporters were “not there to make headlines or go viral.”
But until Sunday he didn’t believe he would censor the panelists if Marquee criticized the Cubs.
“It has been the theme behind the scenes, that (producers) were being uber-sensitive,” she said. “The problem was they weren’t transparent in stopping the show themselves, claiming it was a technical problem. That was[BS].”
According to Kusinski, the panelists were all shocked by the decision, but decided to continue taping.
“I really thought (Huff) was going to walk,” she said.
After the Tribune reported the incident on Tuesday, the Sun-Times informed their reporters that they could no longer be on the show. No Tribune reporter has appeared on the show.
As someone who has appeared on dozens of such panel shows, from CLTV to WBBM-Ch. 2 from Comcast SportsNet to WTTW-Ch. 11, I can’t remember ever having a show paused and redone to remove a comment. I can confirm that the Cubs frequently complained to CSN about my criticism of team officials during the “Chicago Tribune Live” broadcast, but the station never edited it or asked me to stop mentioning them on the show. Didn’t ask.
Kusinski previously had a panel show on CLTV, owned by the Tribune company—which was owned by the Cubs at the time—in which we both took shots at Cubs management without fear of censorship.
The point of showing an opinion is that you give your opinion. Some people get it. Marquee apparently doesn’t.
The marquee doesn’t have to give opinions about the Cubs that the team or station doesn’t agree with. After all, it’s the Cubs’ station, and it’s the network’s show. But journalists should at least know that their opinions can be edited if they don’t conform to the Cubs’ message.
And of course viewers looking for objective analysis on the Cubs should be aware that opinion on “reporters” is subject to censorship.
The Cubs are free to share their message in any way they want. But if the bosses want any credibility, they have to let the journalists speak freely on the network.