I remember Steve Sax, Steve Garvey, Orel Hershiser and Davey Lopes wearing Dodger blue.  Fernando Valenzuela rolling his eyes right before he pitches; Jerry Reuss and his epic ‘stache, Mike Scioscia and his flawless fundamentals behind home plate.  Reggie Smith and his afro falling out of his helmet, and Tommy Lasorda bumbling towards home plate to unleash an expletive laden tirade on the home plate ump.  I remember Vin Scully, in all his mastery, recanting stories about what it was like in Brooklyn, conversations he had with Jackie Robinson, and cooking tips from Mrs. Lasorda.

Vin is what stood out to me the most; how he made me feel like I was standing right next to him at the Polo grounds…how personable Walter Alston was…Steve Yeager’s favorite dinner spot in Torrance.  He made me feel like I was right there next to him, listening in on a conversation, not just a broadcast of a baseball game.

ICYMI: July 8th Declared Vin Scully Day

In 2013, the Guggenheim group, with notable names like Earvin Magic Johnson, Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, etc., bought the LA Dodgers for an unheard of price of $2b. They immediately turned and sold the exclusive broadcast rights to Time Warner Cable for $8.3 billion.

Dodger fans are being held captive by this monstrous TV deal, and the fans are the hostages.  To date, Time Warner Cable has not budged on their subscriber demands,  and in the interim, legions of Dodgers fans throughout southern California are adjusting to following the Dodgers via online streams, MLBTV, the MLB app or even Facebook, where I’ve watched more than one game via some guy streaming the game on his phone in his own living room.

A generation of Dodgers fans are growing up not hearing Vin talk about Dodgers stadium; not hearing him spin tales about Satchel Paige, conversations with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax…catching tips with Yogi Berra, and talking baserunning with Maury Wills.

Instead, less than 30% of Los Angeles County gets Dodgers games.  The numbers plummet once you step foot out of the county. A contract is a contract, and I understand the business behind it.  I, myself, would be hard pressed to turn down $8.3 billion dollars, no matter the strings attached.

There has to be a point where the ownership team comes to the realization that the TV deal is doing more harm than good, and use their unlimited resources to find a solution.  It’s on them.  We, as fans, can only do so much: we could boycott games themselves, and further restrict access to the club.  We could rush the field and display signs saying ‘TIME WARNER IS WORSE THAN HOT DOGS’, but that will only get us so far.

It breaks my heart to know that my little sister’s twin 7yr old boys, Brody and Cooper, have grown up without Vin Scully in their lives.  They know who the Dodgers are due to the never-ending diligence of their mom, but when it comes to exposure, all they see is Angels games.  Cooper’s favorite player is Mike Trout, and he has more than 1 Trout jersey.  Now, Brody is a Dodgers fan, and his favorite player is Joc Pederson, but if you were to ask BroBro when was the last time he saw Joc play, he couldn’t answer.  The lack of TV games means he only gets to see him when they go to games in person, and, even with the fairly good pricing of seats at Dodgers stadium, it’s a bit cheaper to watch on the couch at home than to rally the fam and drive up to a game.

There is no easy answer; I’m a businessman myself by day, and I thoroughly understand that this isn’t as simple as adding a new channel to everyone’s existing cable deal, or broadcasting the games on KCAL or KTLA. That doesn’t change the reality that there is an entire generation growing up not watching Joc Pederson roam centerfield;…not watching Yasiel Puig gun someone down from right field (HI TREVOR STORY!), not witnessing Clayton Kershaw strike out the side.  Missing out on Vin Scully narrate it all, weaving personal stories throughout the entire game.  It’s a shame, and it’s time something was done to fix it.

ICYMI: The 5 Stages of Dodger Fan Grief

9 Responses

  1. Bleed Blue Forever

    Very well written article.  I’m a bit removed from the fray of this TV deal with TW, since I now live in the northwest and watch nearly all Dodger games on MLBTV.  I grew up in the greater LA basin and listened to Vinny for nearly 40 years.  No one approaches his talent to call play-by-play as he does.  He’s the greatest there ever was and ever will be.  It is a crying shame that today’s youth can’t hear Vinny call the games.  Magic Johnson and others managed to line their pockets quite well in this deal though.  Maybe fans need to attend fewer games or stop buying Dodger gear/clothing and the like.  I wish I had an answer to the lack of concern for the fans.  Boycott.  Boycott.  And boycott some more.

    Reply
  2. ChuckParido Jr

    I know the current ownership could care less. This debacle will go down as a giant black mark on the LA Dodgers franchise history. When the people who support your business like Dodgers fans have here since 1958 are treated so badly, it has to fall on ownership for not stepping in on a broadcast dispute that has now reached into its third season. My adult son is a huge Dodgers fan, like the rest of our family. Is it fair that he should have to go to extreme means for his six year old son to join the family in following our favorite baseball team? Should my grandson follow his Orange County roots & be allowed to follow the Angels? Just the fact that I have to ask these questions is ridiculous! This is easy to blame the media giants that can’t seem to agree on a way to bring my family’s favorite pastime into our homes. They should accept a share of the blame, but ultimately this is the responsibility of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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  3. Dodgers55

    There are many sub-issues in this debacle.   If you live outside the TW empire, you don’t even have the choice to choose because in each County, there is a mini-monopoly on cable provider choices. I am not a TW fan, but a Dodger fan for over 50 years so would choose TW if I had a right to choose.  Instead, I get to listen to a statically enhanced radio broadcast, just like being a kid again only worse.

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  4. Bleed Blue Forever

    Chuck, I think you really meant to say that the current ownership couldn’t care less. To say that they could care less means they care a lot. People misstate this phrase frequently.

    Reply
  5. Vin Scully - The Long Goodbye | Dodgers Nation

    […] a fan over 67 years old, all you’ve ever known is Vin. Christiaan’s post last Sunday, “How the TWC TV Deal is Ruining a Generation of Dodgers Fans” really made me think. Not just about the big business power struggle with the TV entities, […]

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