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.