I planned to open this column with a witty remark about how well the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing, followed by some version of a “Or so I’m told, because I haven’t seen the games” punchline. Then I changed course.
After a season and change’s worth of roadblock between Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, and the Dodgers, which has kept the Blue off television for roughly 70 percent of the Los Angeles market (including yours truly), there are only so many ways to spin the same joke. Moreover, with no end in sight, I’m not sure fans appreciate gallows humor anymore.
For that matter, they likely don’t appreciate minority owner Magic Johnson’s response last week when asked by the L.A. Times’ Bill Shaikin if the Dodgers’ brand has been damaged.
“No, it’s not hurting us,” Johnson said. “But we want to be on TV. You know that.”
Magic is nothing if not a sharp businessman. It’s impossible to argue that having your professional sports team on television isn’t the better scenario. But based on the front office’s actions — or lack thereof — throughout this saga, there’s a limit to what they’ll do to get the Dodgers back on TV, because there are options.
They could give back some money to Time Warner to soften the company’s bottom line and potentially grease the wheels for a compromise. They could enthusiastically encourage (if not demand) TWC allow some games to be carried on local TV, as they did last season. They could, at the very least, appear publicly pissed off.
Instead, they’ve largely stationed themselves outside the fray. Any sense of urgency from ownership is pretty much non-existent. And that’s because Magic is 100 percent right. The Dodgers’ brand hasn’t suffered in the slightest over this fiasco.
Even worse, unless this standoff lasts several more years, the organization is absolutely safeguarded against true damage, because Dodger fans are too good for their own good when it comes to this particular mess.
CONTINUE READING: Loyalty Of Dodgers Fans A Double-Edged Sword