“It’s Time For Dodgers’ Baseball” Only a Dream For Most

Unbelievably, another baseball season is on the horizon and still 60% of Los Angeles area Dodgers’ fans are shut out from the teams’ telecasts and the final year of play-by-ply from Vin Scully. The horror that is SportsNet LA, the Dodgers-Time Warner Cable joint venture designed to enrich the team, enrich Time Warner, and destroy baseball in Los Angeles, will

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begin season three as virtually the sole provider of Dodgers’ baseball on tv in Southern California (Fox networks and ESPN will show a handful of games during the regular season).

Originally the impasse between Time Warner and virtually every satellite and cable provider in the LA area prevented over 70% of residents from purchasing the SportsNetLA package, but last year’s merger deal between Time Warner and Charter Cable led Charter to add the network to its
system, giving access to games to an additional 10% of area residents, including me. But, as the proposed merger moves slowly through the FCC, not a single additional provider has since signed on, still leaving about 60% of Dodgers’ fandom without tv access to the games.

Additionally, in a move that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, the geniuses who run SportsNetLA and Time Warner have now also decided that Dodgers’ fans do not want to be able to see spring training games, cutting back the tv schedule that has always included virtually EVERY Dodgers’ spring game, about in half, from 31 to 16. Remember, this is a dedicated network that shows nothing but Dodgers programming, yet live spring games will not be shown. In their place, and get this, the network will be showing reruns of ancient games, such as 16-year-old games against the Milwaukee Brewers and 10-year-old games against the Chicago Cubs. As the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke wrote this week, who wants to see Corey Seager and Yasiel Puig when they can see J.D. Drew and Kevin Brown?

There seemed to a a ray of hope last year when the proposed takeover of Time Warner by Charter was announced, but since the one move of adding SportsNetLA to the Charter channel, nothing else whatsoever has moved forward, and instead ludicrous decisions are

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still the order of the day with this totally mismanaged deal that has done nothing but enrich the Dodgers’ and piss off fans, or should I say “ex-fans”?

We had such high hopes for the Dodgers when Guggenheim Baseball Management swooped in to salvage the team from years of corruption and deceit under first Fox and then McCourt, and while in the long run on some fronts they’ve come out ok (for example, while it took way too long they finally did rid the team of the empty uniform non
manager and hired a competent baseball person, Dave Roberts, as manager), the ongoing television fiasco is so totally unacceptable a proper description cannot be put into words.

Meanwhile, Dodgers’ Stadium ticket prices and parking rates go up and up and up, and they can get away with it all now as attendance continues to set records, but I guarantee you that the number of fans is decreasing, and in the long run, it will have a definite effect on popularity, attendance and viewership, and at some point Guggenheim and their principles will live to regret their total disdain for their fans. Or should I again say “ex-fans”?

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