Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Television (Page 3 of 5)

Dodgers’ final six regular-season games to air on local broadcast station KDOC

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers’ final six games of the regular season — September 22-24 against San Francisco and September 26-28 against Colorado — will air on independent broadcast station KDOC, which is carried by every cable, satellite and telco provider in Southern California and can also be received over the air with an antenna.

Time Warner Cable announced today an agreement for SportsNet LA to air those games on KDOC, subject to national broadcast commitments.

KDOC can be seen on the following channels:

  • Charter: 710 high definition or 10 standard definition
  • Cox: 1012 or 12
  • AT&T U-verse: 1006 or 6
  • DirecTV: 56
  • Verizon FiOS: 506 or 6
  • Dish: 56
  • Over-the-air broadcast: 56.1

“Time Warner Cable is part of this community, and we’re Dodger fans too,” Time Warner Cable COO Dinni Jain said.  “Angelenos love their Dodgers, and we’re happy to give them a way to watch their beloved team during this pennant chase.”

Earlier this summer, Time Warner Cable offered to enter into binding arbitration to facilitate the completion of distribution deals for SportsNet LA, but potential distributors did not join in.

“Right now, we can’t change the fact that other area TV distributors won’t carry the channel, but we don’t want anyone to miss this exciting pennant run,” Jain said. “We hope everyone will tune in to KDOC and help us cheer on the Dodgers. We will continue to work on long-term agreements with other providers in the offseason.”

Born in Brooklyn, televised baseball turns 75 today

tv cachetToday is the 75th anniversary of the first televised baseball game. Mark Langill wrote about it for the August issue of Dodger Insider magazine. (Click the image to enlarge.)

— Jon Weisman

First TV Game

LIVE VIDEO: Vin Scully talks about his 2015 return to the Dodgers

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Live online today, you can watch Vin Scully’s media availability to discuss his return to the Dodgers for the 2015 season. The presser is scheduled to begin at 3:45 p.m.

— Jon Weisman

Vin Scully on taking Route 66: ‘I wanted to wear Yasiel Puig’s jersey’

Vin and Sandi Scully, 2012 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Sandi and Vin Scully, 2012 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

So why did Vin Scully choose to come back to the Dodgers in 2015 for his record-setting 66th season?

“I wanted to wear Yasiel Puig’s jersey,” Scully joked to SportsNet LA’s Alanna Rizzo.

“No, the big reason I think is that I’ve had such a long, enduring love affair with the game, but more than that, I just could not say goodbye. I talked to so many people, most of whom — the majority — have said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t retire.’

“And so … I talked to (my wife) Sandi, being the sweetheart that she is. She said, ‘If that’s what you want, go to it. And so as I said at the outset, ‘I’m gonna be back, please God, and we’ll see about the fun and joy of next year.’

Scully added that he didn’t want to overemphasize the role that his wife played in the decision. It’s a partnership.

“The one thing I know Sandi is very sensitive about, if I talk about it, is that she doesn’t want to let people think that she’s making a decision as to whether (I come back). But we try to do everything together that we possibly can. And I’ve been enriched by the fact that she’s been coming to more games — sitting in the booth — and I’ve loved that.

“We sat and we thought, ‘OK, let’s try it one more time at least,’ and so, here we go again.

Scully said the Dodgers’ winning or losing did not affect his decision, making clear that “it’s the people” who mean the most to him.

“It’s really my home away from home,” he said. “And that’s one of the things I’ve tried to do — is to have Sandi come and share some of the experiences, meet some of the really nice people.

“I don’t get involved with the players anymore, like I used to. One big reason is that they insist on calling me ‘Mr.’ When they do that, it’s like putting a wall up,” he joked. “It’s just such a lovely, wonderful place for me to be, and we’ll try it again, God willing.”

As for his listeners, Scully noted that he never uses the word “fans,” deliberately choosing to say “friends.”

“They’ve been so good to me,” he said. “They’ve been so generous with their understanding. I have had some pain in my life, and they have stood right by me. Everything about them, absolutely idyllic — they have made this a marvelous, marvelous place to be.”

Viva Vin! Scully to return to Dodgers in 2015!

Vin LASEC 2014-07-2819-14-16D4S_1732

Photo credit: Gary Leonard

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By Jon Weisman

It’s true, it’s true. Vin Scully will be back to broadcast Dodger games in 2015 for his 66th season.

The Dodgers announced the news tonight in the middle of the second inning of tonight’s game against Atlanta, with a message first to fans from Hyun-Jin Ryu in Korean, Yasiel Puig in Spanish and then Justin Turner in English.

The roar from the crowd was deafening.

Scully also offered this insight into the year’s most anticipated decision.

“It is very difficult to say goodbye,” said Scully. “God willing, I will be back next year. Over the years I have been blessed to have so many friends, including those that sit in the stands and listen, as well as those at home who listen and watch. It is just too hard to say goodbye to all these friends. Naturally there will come a time when I will have to say goodbye, but I’ve soul-searched and this is not the time.”

The greatest at his profession of all time, Scully will continue to call all nine innings of the Dodgers’ television broadcasts on Time Warner SportsNet LA, with the first three innings of each of his games also simulcast on the radio.

“I’m obviously not alone in saying that I’m overjoyed Vin will be coming back to the booth in 2015,” said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. “Our fans deserve the very best and Vin’s voice, knowledge, experience and passion for broadcasting Dodger baseball are second to none.”

To put Scully’s Dodger career in perspective, more than half of it has taken place since he earned National Baseball Hall of Fame status by receiving the Ford C. Frick Award in 1982. And he just keeps going, remarkably. We’re so happy to have him back.

Clayton Kershaw plays William Tell, throws at Jimmy Kimmel’s head

No more introduction really needed …

— Jon Weisman

Dodgers support binding arbitration to solve distribution of SportsNet LA

TWCSLA_Logo_loRESBy Jon Weisman

On behalf of the Dodgers, team president and CEO Stan Kasten spoke tonight in favor of a proposal from a group of six California-based members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Brad Sherman, calling for binding arbitration between Time Warner Cable and potential carriers that would enable immediate distribution of 24-hour Dodger channel SportsNet LA to all available homes in Southern California.

Time Warner Cable also said it would submit to binding arbitration with potential distributors of SportsNet LA (including DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Dish Network and Verizon Fios), effectively taking the negotiations out of Time Warner Cable’s hands.

“This, if it were agreed upon, would end this blackout right away, today, and we would be on the air literally tomorrow night in the entire area, ” Kasten said at a Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission event at Dodger Stadium this evening. “I want to thank Congressman Sherman and his colleagues for their diligent work and their concern for Dodger fans everywhere. I think it’s a very useful and productive step that he made.”

“We’ve heard a lot of things on both sides of this equation,” Kasten added. “This is a way to cut through all that. We’ll let an arbitrator decide who’s right and who’s wrong, and we can move on. And we don’t need to wait for the outcome of the arbitration. Once both sides agree to submit, we can turn the games on right away and they can figure out the price later.”

Kasten’s words followed an affirmative response from Time Warner Cable earlier in the evening to the proposal from the Sherman group.

“We are willing to enter into binding arbitration with DirecTV, and we appreciate the Congressman’s concern for Dodger fans,” Time Warner Cable’s statement read. “We prefer to reach agreements through private business negotiations, but given the current circumstance, we are willing to agree to binding arbitration and to allow DirecTV customers to watch the Dodgers games while the arbitration is concluded.”

Earlier this evening, a letter sent to the chairman/CEOs of DirecTV and Time Warner Cable by U.S. representatives Sherman, Janice Hahn, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Alan Lowenthal, Grace Napolitano and Karen Bass was released, outlining the proposal. It followed a recent letter from eight members of Congress, led by Tony Cardenas, that asked the FCC to mediate the gap between TWC and potential distributors.

“While such mediation would be helpful, it would not be binding or certain to resolve the dispute,” Sherman’s group wrote. “Now, on behalf of Dodgers fans throughout Southern California, we urge that Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and all other TV providers enter into binding arbitration, so that a neutral third party can determine the right price and terms for the Dodgers network. This will be a fair and fast way to return programming to consumers.

“Additionally, as you enter into the arbitration process, fans should no longer be left in the dark. We are requesting that SportsNet LA be made available immediately to all fans, beginning with tomorrow night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. The arbitration would determine the amount payable for games aired both before and after the arbitration is complete.”

MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred, among the speakers at the LASEC event, said that he spoke about tonight’s news with MLB commissioner Bud Selig and said “we’re in complete agreement that this is a very positive development.”

‘Planet Dodgers’ seeks your Dodger home videos


By Jon Weisman

A new SportsNet LA series, “Planet Dodgers,” offers Dodger fans a chance to get their own videos on the air.

Read More

Dodger Stadium meets ‘Boy Meets World’ meeting ‘Girl Meets World’

By Jon Weisman

My cultural translator tells me that as “The Brady Bunch” was to my generation and “Saved by the Bell” was to the generation that immediately followed, so was “Boy Meets World” to the generation or half-generation after that, which explains all the excitement that immediately surrounded Disney Channel’s plans to spin the latter series into “Girl Meets World.”

Imagine if Greg and Marcia had gotten married become co-parents through entirely moral means. That’d beat “The Brady Brides” with all its unnecessary spouses any day.

So was it a big deal that Cory and Topanga were at Dodger Stadium tonight? To those who form our nation’s future, I have no trouble believing that it was.

Read More

A.J. Ellis kills it on ‘Intentional Talk’

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Here it is, the latest, greatest appearance by A.J. Ellis on MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk.” It’s got … a little bit of everything.

— Jon Weisman

Dodger Stadium and ‘The Last Man on Earth’


In the post-apocasomething world of upcoming Fox series “The Last Man on Earth” with Will Forte, Dodger Stadium still stands tall. Start the video at the 1:30 mark.

Tip for pros: Starting at 0:53, can you recognize the shooting location of the museum scene?

— Jon Weisman

Vin Scully Award presented to Verne Lundquist


CBS broadcaster Verne Lundquist received the seventh annual Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday. Jake Kring-Schreifels covered the event for

“If you are in the business of radio/television, there’s no better way to begin a work week than by receiving a call and hearing the wonderful, rich baritone voice of Vin Scully saying, ‘Congratulations, and welcome to the club,'” said Lundquist. “That happened to me in December. I was overwhelmed then, and I’m overwhelmed tonight.”

Scully, the longtime voice of the Dodgers and a proud alumnus of Fordham University and WFUV radio — which distributes the awards and hosts the event each year — presented a video message to Lundquist beforehand from his familiar broadcast perch in Dodger Stadium.

“[Lundquist has] done so many sports, so many. How do you define that? He has done 20 different sports. In fact, I think Verne owes it to all of us that during his acceptance speech, he should name 20 different sports,” mused Scully. “You fulfill every definition of a national and successful sportscaster. We welcome you with open arms.” …

… While Lundquist has a distant relationship with baseball, he fondly recalled attending his first Major League game, between the Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers at Wrigley Field.

“Don Newcombe was pitching, Roy Campanella was behind the plate, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Carl Furillo , Duke Snider … and in the dugout, a couple of young puppies named Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax,” remembered Lundquist. “We had seats right beyond the first-base line. I remember early in the game looking over my left shoulder and peering up into the broadcast booth, and that’s the first time I ever saw Vin Scully. He was 29 years old.”

Read the full story here. Past winners of the award include Dick Enberg, Ernie Harwell, Pat Summerall, Al Michaels, Bob Costas and Scully himself.

Stan Kasten and Dodgers disappointed in missing SportsNet LA deals but hopeful

Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten addressing participants at the Dodgers' Winter Development Program in January.

Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten addressing participants at the Dodgers’ Winter Development Program in January.

By Jon Weisman

While saying that he expected the start of the Major League season in the U.S. to be a catalyst for holdout distributors to carry SportsNet LA, the 24/7 network dedicated to the Dodgers, team president and CEO Stan Kasten didn’t shrug off the fact that deals had yet to be completed.

“I am disappointed that deals haven’t been closed yet,” Kasten told a small group of reporters before Thursday’s Freeway Series game against the Angels, the first game at Dodger Stadium in 2014.  “I also have to tell you that with the first regular season game (to be broadcast by SportsNet LA) coming on Tuesday, I am now concerned that some fans are not going to be able to see games. And that’s disappointing and shouldn’t be happening.”

Kasten reiterated the suggestion for fans to keep calling their providers to tell them that they want SportsNet LA and that without it, they would switch to a provider who would carry the network. But he again held out hope that with continuous fan support there would be movement – because ultimately every carrier has reason to want SportsNet LA to meet the demand.

“I just wish they would hurry up and get them done,” he said.

Though Time Warner Cable’s reported asking price for carriage of SportsNet LA has become a talking point in the media, Kasten said that it has been exaggerated.

“This is not about price,” Kasten said. “The price is consistent with the marketplace. In fact, to be blunt, some of these (distributors), and they know who they are, are already, on their own systems, paying more than the price that’s out there to teams in smaller markets. That’s the truth. So this isn’t about price, it’s about the game of negotiation. And it’s disappointing.

“Those same providers have done deals at higher prices, for bigger packages, than has been offered to them right now.”

Kasten found other aspects of the public posturing by potential distributors to be “disingenuous,” such as the suggestion that SportsNet LA should be offered “a la carte,” along the lines of a pricy individual pay channel such as HBO, rather than to all of a distributor’s customers the way an ESPN is.

“All these providers know there is not another team in all of baseball whose games are a la carte, anywhere,” Kasten said, “including, interestingly enough, on the cable systems owned by these same providers.”

“The other thing that’s particularly irritating in terms of disingenuous rhetoric is when someone tries to say, ‘Well, we’re not really seeing the demand for Dodger games.’ OK, that doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

Kasten had noted earlier than the evening that the Dodgers would reach 3 million in ticket sales before the April 4 home opener, the earliest date in franchise history.

“We have the highest number of season tickets we’ve ever had — it is the highest in all of Major League Baseball,” Kasten added. “Last year, our TV rating went up by 40%. So come up with some other excuse, because the reality is that in the history of this franchise, it is likely that right now, it’s the greatest interest our team has ever had.”

For Dodger fans understandably frustrated by the process, Kasten commented upon the importance of the deal to the organization being run as a big-market team and being able to do big-market things, from investment in players to the ongoing improvements at Dodger Stadium, none of which benefited from public funding.

“I don’t know what will happen here,” Kasten said. “I will say this — very few cities have a product this strong.”

Orel Hershiser on the power of Vin

Los Angeles Dodgers Broadcasters/Time Warner reception

Photos: Armando Arorizo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Never underestimate the reach of Vin Scully.

When I spoke with Orel Hershiser the night of the Dodger Town Hall for an upcoming magazine piece, the new SportsNet LA analyst gave me an anecdote that caught me off guard (and I thought would be best to share online).

I was wondering how much Hershiser had gotten to hear of Scully, given that his playing days wouldn’t have offered much opportunity …

“Other than those transistor radios when you step back and you hear, ‘Hershiser winds,’ and you hear everybody’s radio,” Hershiser said. “That was amazing to be on the mound and hear his voice. Oh yeah, you could lock in and know on a day game, if they had the radios on, you could actually be doing something and hearing him announce you doing it. It was unbelievable. It was so much fun. You had to block it out, but I did hear it once in a while.”

Photo: Armando Arorizo/Los Angeles DodgersHershiser also had an interesting take on how he would approach the broadcast, given that by his own admission, he had a rooting interest in the Dodgers.

“I think I’ll feel the same way as the fans do,” he said. “I’ll feel the same way as Ned Colletti and Stan Kasten do in the front office when they put the team together. I’ll feel the same way as when Don Mattingly puts somebody up to pinch-hit to get a bunt down, and he doesn’t get it down. You’re killing yourself inside, but you figuring out a way. How do I impart knowledge? How do I vent my frustration so they can do better next time? How do I not kill this guy, though? And then when do they well, how do I keep them on a roll. Do you get in their way and compliment them when you’re around them, or do you just leave them alone?”

The 1988 Cy Young winner, famed for his endurance that season, realizes he faces a different kind of marathon with the hefty schedule of daily broadcasts.

“I think it’s going to be a challenge,” he said. “You have to know how to pace yourself. … I’ll be reminding myself – you’ve got a lot of time for a lot of material.”

Larry King to host Dodger show on SportsNet LA

Time Warner Cable Sports Headshots

By Jon Weisman

Longtime TV/radio host Larry King will take the helm of “Larry King At Bat,” where he will interview celebrities, baseball legends, Dodger personalities and other luminaries in a series of hour-long episodes on SportsNet LA.

The new series was announced tonight shortly after SportsNet LA launched with “Access SportsNet: Dodgers” and will premiere March 18 at 7 p.m., with Orel Hershiser as the interview subject.

“In addition to being a talented and renowned TV personality, Larry King is an incredible Dodger fan,” said Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten. “We are so excited to officially bring him into the Dodger family.”

Said King: “With my love of sports and my interviewing skills, I think it will be a happy combo.”

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