The Dodgers just announced “Vin Scully Weekend”, which will be held Sept. 23-25 at Dodger Stadium. Over that weekend the Dodgers will pay tribute to the man who has been the golden voice of summer in Los Angeles for 67 years.
But here’s the rub. Scully hasn’t really been heard by everyone for 67 years. That’s because the Dodgers’ television broadcasts have been blacked out to more than half of southern California for the past three years. All due to the devil’s deal of greed and arrogance that the Dodgers struck with Time Warner Cable in 2013.
Since then, millions of homes have been without the Dodgers on television. Countless thousands of fans who grew up with Vin Scully have been robbed of the priceless pleasure of listening to the best there ever was, or ever will be. Who knows how many potential Dodger fans were lost over that span because they were never introduced to the master?
One can argue that the Dodgers are as popular as they are today, partly due to Vin Scully. Koufax, Fernando and Kirk Gibson are baseball legends based on their accomplishments-but Scully’s masterful descriptions are forever bound to them in our collective memories.
Scully is the last of the solitary broadcasters in the booth; when he is gone, it will be the end of an era that we will never see again. He is the last connection to a collective baseball nostalgia that many of us never actually experienced. Yet, through his personal recollections as a man who spent almost 70 years with the Dodgers, we feel it all just the same.
Which brings up my request to the Dodgers. Let Vin Scully be free for his last broadcasts. One of the greatest tributes to Scully, and sincerest gifts they can give to Dodger fans, would be airing Scully’s final games over the free television airwaves, for all to enjoy.
There is precedent. In 2014 the Dodgers allowed the last six games of the season to be broadcast on local channel KDOC. The channel was available on cable and satellite carriers, and accessible for free with an over-the-air antenna. If the Dodgers could do it then for the last few games of a pennant race, they can certainly do it now for the final broadcasts of the legendary Vin Scully.
At the start of this season, TWC and the Dodgers exploited Scully in a blatant (and crass) attempt to get cable and satellite carriers to buy the Dodgers channel because it was Scully’s final year. The ploy didn’t work, and their use of the venerable Scully as an economic puppet left a sour taste in my mouth.
Their statements at the time rung hollow as they had little to do with delivering the beloved Vin Scully to the fans, and everything to do with the economic benefit of Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers. The ironic part of this story is if there were any truth or substance to their words (as they would surely proclaim), their words make the perfect accompaniment to my request for free TV broadcasts.
“There could be no better way to honor Vin in his final year than for them to quickly accept this offer and get the games on TV.” -Dodgers President Stan Kasden
“The Dodgers’ massive fan base deserves to be able to watch Dodger games regardless of their choice of provider. The situation is particularly acute given that this is Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully’s final season.”- Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred
Finally, from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti:
“Dodger fans across L.A. deserve to watch our team play — not just subscribers to one cable system, but everyone who bleeds Dodger blue…If nothing else, let’s do it for Vin Scully.”
Amen to that.
16 thoughts on “You Want to Honor Vin Scully? Let LA Watch Him on Free TV”
Well said Oscar.
I’m on board with the idea.
However, to ask a corporation to do something for free because it’s the right thing to do goes against everything they stand for.
Not sure if it is even possible for Dodgers to make this happen. Didn’t they sell the rights to the cable company to broadcast the Dodgers in LA?
A word in your essay, Oscar, that kept recurring was “Listening”, most of us grew up “Listening” to Vinny on the radio. Although only 9 games a year were on TV in those days, I SAW every game very clearly listening to Vinny. Is Vinny currently on the radio in LA when he broadcasts?
I live in Reno, I get all the games televised via MLB, except when they play the hated ones. It seems like at least half the Dodger games are broadcast with other team’s announcers. All the games against the hated ones are with the Midget announcers. We all have our crosses to bear!
Boxout, Amen to we all of our crosses.
I use the word listening for a couple of reasons. First, like you, I also grew up listening to Vinny on the radio. Second, although Vinny does a couple of onscreen tidbits during the TV broadcast, he is rarely seen, so I still think of him as providing the audio for the pictures. Thus, listening.
Vinny’s on the radio here for the first three innings when the Dodgers are home. It’s a simulcast from the TV audio.
I answer your question about the Dodgers’ power to do anything in this situation in my reply to Mark Timmons below.
Boxout, You also asked about the Chavez Ravine debacle. I wrote about it briefly in my column calling for the Dodgers to retire Fernando’s number:
“Valenzuela almost single-handedly presented the Dodgers to L.A.’s Mexican-American community as a local sports entity to be followed and loved, and not as a symbol of corporate power that destroys neighborhoods.
Chavez Ravine was the name of the Mexican-American community that was displaced – with many residents forcibly removed – on the very spot the Dodgers built their new stadium on after moving operations to Los Angeles from Brooklyn. As a result, the Dodgers were resented by many, who swore never to set foot inside the stadium. Thus, through their first twenty years in heavily Latino Los Angeles, the Dodgers’ fan base remained largely white.”
The Dodgers weren’t primarily responsible for the destruction of the neighborhood, but many in the community saw it that way when the stadium went up. You can find more details with a simple google search. If the play “Chavez Ravine” by Culture Clash was still running, I would recommend you catch it. It was a wonderful historical, political, artisitc, Dodger blue educational piece.
For a taste, check out this preview video for the play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0OdGXJFxqE
I thing is that anyone Dodger fan in Southern California can get the Dodgers if they want to.
At one time that wasn’t true, and I was one of those people, that didn’t have a choice, because Charter was the only cable in my area.
But once Charter merged with TWC I was able to get the Dodgers.
I prefer DIrect TV, but I want to see the Dodgers more, so I got Charter.
Anyone can get the Dodgers, if they switch to TWC or Charter.
There are some exceptions that I have heard of, but it is usually in areas that are almost out of the main areas.
I beg to differ with you, MJ, as not everyone can get the Dodgers if they like. Of course, in this instance, I’m talking about the Dodgers’ broadcast, with Vin Scully calling the game. Over 60% of southern California doesn’t even has an option to get the game because there is no available service.
People with MLB subscriptions can get the Dodgers if they employ workarounds to get around the LA market blackout.
People can pirate stream the broadcasts, but that has it’s drawbacks, and one needs a small level of network manipulation that many people don’t have, or wish to use.
Finally, people with fixed incomes, cord cutters, and limited knowledge of the internet have no free TV option.
I’ll never understand why the last 2 innings of a home game couldn’t be broadcast as a simulcast, just like the first three innings. Call it eves dropping I don’t care.
Why couldn’t Vinny’s 8th and 9th inning come out on the radio?
It’s a sad situation.
Artieboy, I totally agree. They used to simulcast the first and last three innings of Vinny on the radio.
To be honest, I didn’t know they stopped using the last three innings. Seems to me like that’s a big marketing opportunity lost there.
It would be nice if the Dodgers would allow Dodge fans to watch their them the rest of the season. Unfortunately, they have the same power to do that as I have to pardon convicted felons!
Mark and Boxout,
It’s a myth the Dodgers are powerless and have no voice in broadcasting a limited number of games over the free airwaves. I’ve talked about that before in articles I wrote about the TWC fiasco.
Of course they have influence and weight in decisions about how and where their product is broadcast. Sure, they signed a contract giving rights of broadcast to TWC, but like any contract, they have some reserved rights in the fine print. If they don’t – in a multi-billion dollar contract – they need some new lawyers.
At the very least, they can certainly lean on Spectrum (who now controls the broadcasts after buying TWC) and they can throw their weight around. They can offer incentives and so on.
Besides all that – as I said in my article – PRECEDENT.
Boxput, My MLB broadcast always gives the option of either the home team or the visiting team. Both options are always offered. I usually watch some of both.
I meant to say “MLB telecast.”
Thanks for that info. I have MLB through my TV cable company. I see sometimes the Dodger games are on two different channels, but, it is always the same exact broadcasters. My subscription doesn’t allow me to get the games on my computer. I will have to ask my IT person (the wife) to look at this again. Thanks again.
You have to get it on the web at MLB.com
That’s a better way of doing it than on a cable company. That way I can watch on my computer at the office, computer at home, i-pad, i-phone or any TV at home (with Fire TV).
I checked with IT (the wife). She said yes, she knew about that option, but, that I had chosen to go over TV cable, because then I could record the game and watch later. I always thought it was the same broadcast.
So I screwed myself, missed Vinny on half the games and this year hardly ever recorded and watched later.