A hot night, Vin Scully on the radio: What's not to like?
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.