The Los Angeles Dodgers’ television network (SportsNet LA) has made another decision which has local fans unhappy. The team announced it was cutting back spring training broadcasts from 31 to 16.
It sounds like a joke, but it’s real. A network that exists solely to telecast Dodgers games will not be telecasting some Dodgers games. A network accessible to only 40% of Southern California homes has decided, what the heck, let’s shut out everyone.
Luckily for local baseball fans, there is always FS West, which will broadcast 31 Angels spring games, including being the sole television provider for the first two Dodgers-Angels Cactus League games March 9 and 11.
This is not about the importance of watching spring exhibitions, which become awfully boring when all the good players hit the golf courses by the fifth inning. SportsNet LA is not alone in taking a spring break, as most teams televise only a smattering of games — and even KLAC radio is broadcasting only 14 games from Arizona. And yes, it makes sense when Time Warner Cable officials say they are cutting back because of lousy midweek afternoon ratings.
But when the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable continue to deny 60% of Southern California households a chance to watch their team because of ego and greed, then each misstep becomes more galling than the previous one, and every stumble becomes emblematic of a legendary fall.
At this point in the three-year debacle, it is worth wondering whether this might be the worst team-TV partnership in modern sports history. If the Dodgers keep Vin Scully from Los Angeles during his final season, that seals it.
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