The Rundown: Breaking That Burdensome Cable Contract, Ross Excited to Have Bryant in Camp, Vegas Doesn’t Hate Cubs

Marquee Sports Network reached an agreement with Hulu yesterday, making the new network available to Hulu+ Live subscribers who reside within the team’s market. Still, some continue to lament that no deal exists between the Cubs and Comcast.

Why? Crane Kenney just gave you your Get Out of Jail Free card.

Let me preface this by saying that a cable subscription is one of the worst financial decisions you can make. If you are not already changing your service every two years to take advantage of new subscriber deals, you are pouring anywhere from $1500 to $4000 down the drain every year. How many channels are you actually watching on a regular basis in exchange for that mammoth cable bill?

When I cut the cord, the answer was three plus my local networks: MLB-TV, ESPN, and The Weather Channel. I couldn’t justify paying Spectrum $300 every month for cable and internet, so I switched to a high-speed broadband package with AT&T, which costs me $55 a month, including taxes and fees.

I bought a digital antenna to pick up local channels and I subscribed to Hulu+ (with Disney and ESPN included), Netflix, and Amazon Prime (which includes HBO, plus the usual two-day free shipping perks for online purchases). I have a free account with Vudu that allows me to choose from thousands of movies per month, though they do stream ads every 30-40 minutes or so. I get hit for about $40 bucks a month for all of that.

I do have to live without TWC, but I can get all the weather information I need from any one of a dozen phone apps, or by just going to the Weather Channel website.

Cutting the cord seems like a daunting process, and as was pointed out to me yesterday, most don’t do it simply due to sheer laziness. Are you kidding me? Let me help make it easy and free (or nearly free of charges) for you in a couple steps.

  1. Add it up. You don’t want to cancel your service if your cancellation fee is higher than what it would cost you to pay out the rest of your legally binding contract. So it’s important to calculate which is best option for you.
  2. Don’t skim over the details. That’s where you will find out if you are stuck paying off the remainder of your contract in full or as a prorated portion of what remains on your agreement. If you’re stuck in your contract, mark your calendar for the day your subscription ends so you can avoid automatic renewals, which usually means an exorbitant rate hike. For Comcast/Xfinity subscribers, the fee is $10 per month of what remains on your two-year contract. You can start the cord-cutting process by calling 1-800-934-6489. If you have a legitimate complaint regarding service, they will let you out of your contract at no charge. Honest to God. I told them I couldn’t afford it anymore because I have two kids in college. They cancelled me at no extra cost.
  3. Just call. This is actually the hardest part because nobody likes dealing with customer service reps. The good news is that cable CSRs have been unforgivably bad through the years, but most of them are actually accommodating now, even if you want to ditch their service.
  4. Find an internet-only provider. RCN, Spectrum, and AT&T Fiber are great places to start for Chicago-area residents.
  5. Return your rental equipment. Giving back equipment that does not belong to you (you lease all that equipment for about $50-$100 per month) is crucial when you end things with your cable provider. You don’t want to hold onto those items at a cost of a couple hundred dollars and a call from a collection agency.
  6. Sign up for the streaming services of your choice. Don’t forget Hulu+ if you want Marquee. Just remember you need to be within the boundaries of the Cubs’ television market.

I’m going to go the extra mile and give you some conversation starters for when you muster up the nerve to call your service provider. Any of these will get the ball rolling, and could get you a fee-free cancellation of your existing agreement.

  • “This service is too expensive. I can no longer afford it because…”
  • “I didn’t mind the initial package price, but I wasn’t expecting the fees to increase.”
  • “TV service has been regularly intermittent, and I’m tired of constantly recycling my cable box and router.”
  • “I no longer get [insert favorite channels here] with my package, so I just don’t need your service.”
  • “I didn’t realize the significant price increase after the trial offer of premium channels, and I was never given an opportunity to opt-out.”

You can start today and have Marquee via Hulu+ in time for the network’s launch on February 22. If you really want to get bold, add Sling TV and you can get hours of The Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, and Friends reruns on TBS.

Cubs News & Notes

MLB Spring Training Notes

Infielder Brock Holt has agreed to a one-year contract to play for the Brewers.

Orioles slugger Chris Davis contemplated walking completely away from baseball after his struggles the past two seasons.

Tigers DH Miguel Cabrera is looking for a huge bounce-back season and is in the “best shape of his career.”

Public shaming is apparently the Astros players’ punishment for their participation in the team’s sign stealing scandal.

Houston second baseman José Altuve has a tattoo on his left collarbone, and it’s the talk of baseball.

A season ticket holder has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Astros.

The always refreshing Sean Doolittle thinks commissioner Rob Manfred is “completely out of touch.”

Citing “unacceptable tweets, the Giants have decided not to invite World Series hero Aubrey Huff to the 10-year anniversary of their 2010 championship.

For the first time in seven years, reliever Daniel Bard is hoping to once again pitch in the major leagues.

Extra Innings

No wonder Kris Bryant would run through a brick wall for David Ross.

They Said It

  • “I’ll tell you what, that was one of the things that brought me here, the fans and the environment. I’m super pumped,” he said. “And no offense, but I’ve played in Tampa and Arizona and those aren’t the greatest markets in the league. I’ve always enjoyed going to Wrigley, and I’ve had some good success at Wrigley, and I know the Cubs fans bring it every day and I’m looking forward to that.”  – Steven Souza Jr.
  • “Obviously paying large taxes on CBT is really inefficient and not a great use of team resources, so if there’s a way to put a great team on the field and not pay that, then they will. But I leave it up to Theo and Jed. Like I said, the CBT thresholds are a piece of the puzzle. They’re something that we’re always mindful of, but they won’t define the situation and they won’t determine the actual player moves.”  – Tom Ricketts

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel featuring Kate Bush. This one’s for me, and thank you for the encouraging comments recently. They truly mean the world to me.

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