May 15, 2014

Magic Johnson's greed ruins 2014 season for Dodger fans

One of the many overlooked ironies of the Los Angeles Clippers story is that the media-beloved choice to take the Clippers away from Donald T. Sterling is basketball legend Magic "The Ultimate Cleanser" Johnson, who was the frontman for the purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers two years ago. 

Yet, Magic, his Guggenheim Partners backers, and their smart money investor Michael Milken, are currently the greediest owners in big league sports. A quarter way into the 2014 baseball season, 70% of Dodger fans haven't been able to watch the team on TV because of Magic's consortium's demands for more money. In today's Los Angeles Times, the TV reporter tries to see the bright side: it's like being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan in 1958, listening to Vin Scully on the radio describe the play of Pee-Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo, and Elmer Valo. (Scully has been the Dodgers announcer since Brooklyn in 1950.)
A hot night, Vin Scully on the radio: What's not to like?

SCOTT MARTELLE  
For many, watching the Dodgers on TV still isn't an option 
On a summer night, who needs cable when you have Vin Scully on the radio?

By the time the first pitch was thrown out at Wednesday night’s Dodgers game, the thermometer on my patio in Irvine still registered in the mid-90s. Which, come to think of it, is the speed you like to see on a good fastball.

So we spent the evening outside ... So it was me, my wife, the dog, a couple of cold beers and Vin Scully on the radio (for the first three innings, anyway). Which really is how baseball should be followed, rather than on television.

Of course, watching the Dodgers on TV wasn’t an option. Our cable supplier is Cox, not Time Warner, which paid that obscene amount of money — reportedly $8.5 billion over 25 years — for the right to distribute the new Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA channel. Time Warner has since found it impossible to spread the costs around to other distributors like Cox and DirectTV. So those of us non-Time Warner customers can’t watch the Dodgers broadcasts.

But that’s OK. A persistent problem with cable television, and with professional sports, is the cost (I’ve written about ticket prices before). According to news accounts, the per-subscriber monthly cost for a cable provider to pick up SportsNet LA from Time Warner is $4.

That’s a deal if you’re a Dodgers fan who wants to watch the team on television. But it’s a waste if you’re not a baseball fan, or a Dodgers fan, yet you still have to pay that fee because cable companies refuse to sell access on an a la carte basis. 
And, in fact, if consumers paid only for the channels they wanted to watch, the individual cost for the Dodgers’ game channel would probably be significantly higher. 
So in a sense, we’re creating yet another economic divide, with low-income viewers or those who decline to pay exorbitant cable rates shut out from most television broadcasts, Dodgers or otherwise. Without cable, CNN, ESPN, USA Network and scores of other channels can’t be viewed. 
   
But Magic isn't racist, so it would be all good if he and his backers build their local monopoly by adding the Clippers to their bargaining power. Making Michael Milken richer is a small price to pay to express our loathing of racism.
     

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

""""Without cable, CNN, ESPN, USA Network and scores of other channels can’t be viewed."""""""

Way way way way wait. Hold it.

CNN, ESPN, et al have their own websites, yes? And they often stream their content.

MLB also has for a price, you can watch whatever MLB team you want on your computer or smartphone, etc.


In baseball's hallowed halls of broadcast history, Vin Scully is a name to be said with reverence. Long before Bob Costas found his niche selling retromania for baseball, Scully is and was retro in the flesh. He's the connection left to a former bygone era.

Scully started out alongside such luminaries as Bob Prince, Jack Buck, Ernie Harwell, and of course, Mel Allen and others as well, actually. These are HOFers.

Scully, one of the most well respected, greatly appreciated men in all of baseball.

Notice: Per previous iSteve post, that Scully is 86 yrs old and no one is claiming that HE is over the hill, past it, should be put out to pasture, etc. He's still got it.

And he's one amazing person. The national pastime, wow.

Jeff W. said...

To review: Sterling played the "Magic has AIDS" negative PR card, and also played the Armageddon card and the drag-it-out-in-court card.

Magic's team has now threatened the player boycott card with LeBron as the leader.

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9430835&postID=4480011066239202160

As an NBA owner, which would you prefer, an Armageddon of discovery from Sterling's lawyers or a player boycott?

The other NBA owners must be saying, "A pox on both your houses!" Those owners may become collateral damage. Do they have a card they can play?

Dennis Dale said...

Vin Scully's still at it? That's amazing. He's got toupees older than some of us. LA was a great place to be a sports fan back in the day: Scully, Chick Hearn, Jim Murray...
Thank God they weren't racists who had to be cleansed. Every time I read that "ultimate cleanser" line I imagine a spray bottle with a little Magic Johnson head spraying a fine mist out of his puckered-up lips. You could do a whole commercial parody; "Magic Cleanser blows away Hate!"
All that satirical potential lost to political cowardice.

Steve Sailer said...

A few years ago, I heard Vin tell a pretty funny anecdote about something Frankie Frisch had said to him in 1950-51.

Anonymous said...

I think the NBA overreached. I'm pretty sure a negotiated settlement with Sterling consisting of a slap on the wrists ($2.5 mil fine, donations to various charities for the advancement of coloured peoples, 2 year ban) would have been much better. The story would have died. Instead, we're going to get many years of litigation, litigation the NBA has a good chance of losing.

Lugash said...

As an NBA owner, which would you prefer, an Armageddon of discovery from Sterling's lawyers or a player boycott?

Discovery, by far. As we saw with the last player's strike, they live paycheck to paycheck and can't afford to strike.

L

Anonymous said...

>>Steve Sailer said...
""""""A few years ago, I heard Vin tell a pretty funny anecdote about something Frankie Frisch had said to him in 1950-51.""""""""

You shouldn't leave baseball fans hanging like that. Frankie "the Fordham Flash" Frisch? Player manager of 31 and 34 St Louis Gas House Gang Cards? HOF all the way, first switch-hitting 2B in the HOF?

At least give a hint as to what it was about.

People have no idea the names referred to. Frisch played under legendary HOF manager John McGraw and he was the "other" dude traded to St Louis from NY in exchange for 2B HOF Rogers Hornsby (batting average .358).

Frisch for Hornsby, one of the most even handed trades in all of baseball.

A hint wouldn't hurt.

Steve Sailer said...

Good question. Unfortunately, I didn't blog the story in 2007, only mentioning that Vin had told one about when Frankie Frisch was a manager around 1951:

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2007/07/ol-times-there-are-neer-forgotten.html

Steve Sailer said...

Vinnie told it again in 2013:

http://www.sonsofstevegarvey.com/2013/07/vin-scully-on-batting-out-of-order.html

But I think he had a funny punchline when he told it in 2007.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer said...
Good question. Unfortunately, I didn't blog the story in 2007, only mentioning that Vin had told one about when Frankie Frisch was a manager around 1951:""""

Yes, after the Cards, Frisch went on to manage the Cubs and the Pirates. He would've been the Bucs manager in late 40s early 50s but right before Branch Rickey became GM and also right before the 51 MGM film "Angels in the Outfield" (which highlighted the Pirates' misfortunes in MLB and was actually filmed on location at historic Forbes Field.)

According to most accounts, Frisch never particularly forgave McGraw for trading him away to St Louis, as he considered himself to be a NYer through and through. Maybe he thought that he'd have a chance at being McGraw's successor but instead that honor went to HOF Bill Terry in '32.

Anonymous said...

"""""Vinnie told it again in 2013:"""""""


Also, as you may already know, Scully is an avid golfer. He, like his good friend, the late Bucco broadcaster HOFer Bob Prince, were both southpaws. So during road trips when they'd be in each others respective cities they'd borrow each other's spare golf clubs and golf together.


Piazza was a jerk for talking trash about Scully. One of the most universally admired men in all baseball.

Jeff W. said...

I'm going to answer my own question: "As an NBA owner, which would you prefer, an Armageddon of discovery from Sterling's lawyers or a player boycott?"

Maybe, if the scorched-earth warfare drags on, NBA owners will get both.

Whom should the NBA owners appoint to mediate a peace agreement? Kofi Annan? Not Oprah; Sterling won't accept Oprah. Alan Dershowitz? Eric Holder? Hillary?

Idle Spectator said...

I congratulate Magic and his merry band of capitalists to extract every deserved dollar from the market place. This is EXACTLY the kind of behavior libertarians applaud.

FearlessFreep said...

A few years ago, I heard Vin tell a pretty funny anecdote about something Frankie Frisch had said to him in 1950-51.
Think about that for a moment: most every night, you can listen to a guy calling a baseball game who worked professionally with men who played the game during WWI.

Scully is really a treasure. Only slightly below him is the guy I grew up listening to, the great Milo Hamilton, who finally hung up his headphones in 2012 at age 84.

Baseball is a great radio sport. To hell with Earvin and the greedy bastards who own the Dodgers now. I'd rather listen to Scully anyway.

David said...

Fight, Sterling, fight!

I am with this Jewish slumlord all the way.

I hope he tears them all a new one.

Anonymous said...

>>FearlessFreep said:
"""""""Scully is really a treasure. Only slightly below him is the guy I grew up listening to, the great Milo Hamilton, who finally hung up his headphones in 2012 at age 84.""""""""

Milo was Bob Prince's replacement in Pittsburgh before moving on to the Cubs and later Astros. Because he called Aaron's 715 and his amazing talent he probably will get into the HOF if he's not in already.

His replacement, Lanny Fatare should be in the hall of fame but the problem was that the team sucked for so damn long and sometimes that affects HOF voters minds unless you're from the Windy City where losing is great and a okay.

Last time in WS: 1945

Last time won WS: 1908

= Cubs suck

Anonymous said...

Anybody can have a bad century.

Icepick said...

Jeff W., the only appropriate person to mediate in the current era would be a transsexual of color. RuPaul, maybe?

ray said...

Your sterling Sterling series illustrates how far U.S. (and global) athletics have strayed from what I remember during the fifties.


The modern greed, egos, intrigues, buffoonery, criminality, and worst, genuflections to the new god Holy PC (all check Thoughts now!) are tiring and way outta control and perspective. Televised sports -- event and commercials -- are now vectors for material gluttony, selfishness, and solipsism, and drink the supersweet koolaid of Korrecthink.


Contrary to Magic and his Johnson, Harrison Barnes reports himself "excited" to sign every autograph request he gets, for free.


http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/10944664/harrison-barnes-golden-state-warriors-implements-free-autograph-policy-offseason



Course espn and the nba see this as good counter-prop. But that doesn't detract from a pro athlete doing something ungreedy and unselfish... setting a good example for a change.


I hardly need mention that Harrison is a Warrior :O) but you see that I did.



Cheers.

stari_momak said...

Anybody use the digital rabbit ears? I hear you can get all sorts of cool stuff.

Mr. Anon said...

Ala-carte cable programming would solve a lot of problems. Then I wouldn't be forced to subsidize 100 channels I don't watch (and a hundred loathsome viewpoints I don't agree with) just to get the five channels I do want.

hazily remembered bloggings said...

Ala-carte cable programming would solve a lot of problems. Then I wouldn't be forced to subsidize 100 channels I don't watch (and a hundred loathsome viewpoints I don't agree with) just to get the five channels I do want.

I think that's what Mr. Beefheart(?) said and he never made a dime.

Maxwell Power said...

Baseball has several good announcers still working. I also like Jon Miller and Ken Korach; the glacial pace of the game can teach good commentary habits (as opposed to Jeff Van Gundy idiotically raving about civil rights or some player's family member in the stands). That might not be applicable for players turned announcers like Mike Shannon

Anonymous said...

People might have over 100 channels but studies show that they only watch 17 channels regularly.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to Magic and his Johnson, Harrison Barnes reports himself "excited" to sign every autograph request he gets, for free.

Arnie Schwarzenegger always does the Terminator move for any child who asks sure he has done it thousands of times but each time is the first time for the child.

Pablo Sandoval has played catcher for The Giants and has a picture of him in catchers gear while the wikipedia text has a citation needed for him playing catcher.

Jon Miller is an excellent commentator and Amy Gutierrez is one of the few sideline reporters who is worthwhile.

Maxwell Power said...

I don't know whether Steve has written about sideline reporters, but they definitely don't make any sense to me