Last year the Dodgers aired a handful of late season games on broadcast TV so fans could see the final games of Vin Scully. It gave some people hope that, maybe, the team and its sports network, SportsNet LA, and its cable partner, Charter Communications, would find a way to end the impasse that has prevented most baseball fans in southern California from seeing Dodgers games due to a carriage dispute between them and various cable providers. We now have our answer.
Nope. From the LA Times:
For the fourth consecutive year, the Dodgers’ television broadcasts could go unseen by a majority of fans in the Los Angeles area.
Charter Communications said Monday it does not anticipate reaching agreements with DirecTV or any other cable or satellite provider to carry the Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA channel by the time the regular season starts April 3.
At some point people just learn to live without watching their baseball team. Time makes it easier. Vin Scully retiring makes it easier. It’s anecdotal, obviously, but I have a handful of friends in Los Angeles who are Dodgers fans and they’ve all since moved on. They check in online, looking at scores and stats and occasional stories but that’s all. They care in the way someone cares about a friend who moved away. Keeping in touch, but only for so long.
The Dodgers will not suffer for this in the immediate future, as the money they got for the TV deal that is so expensive that it is basically preventing carriage on cable providers is guaranteed. But, at some point it’s quite possible that the deal won’t make sense for Charter Communications and they’ll find they cannot get sufficient revenues to support their multi-billion investment in Dodgers broadcast rights. What then?
In other news, if your team has not yet struck a lucrative new broadcast deal, there’s a fair chance that it’s too late for them to take full advantage of one of the bigger bubbles of our time.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Giants have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract.
Mildly surprising that Hernandez had to settle for a minor league contract, but the free agent racket has become a tough one in recent years. As it is, he posted an ERA of 3.84 and struck out 80 batters in 72.2 innings while walking 32. That’s not amazing but he’s a useful bullpen piece in a game filled with teams who scramble for bullpen help in the middle of every season. Oh well.
Hernandez stands at least a moderate chance of making the Giants out of spring training.
Neither Nick Swisher nor Grady Sizemore ever retired. They just . . . stopped being signed by teams and given a chance to play. Now, despite, the lack of an official announcement, both have signaled that they have moved on to the next phase of their careers.
The Yankees have announced that Swisher will be a spring training instructor. He joins A-Rod, Goose Gossage and a cast of the zillion usual former Yankees suspects down in Tampa. I would guess that he’ll talk to young players about how to scare the living hell out of reporters with a positive intensity that goes to 11, bro.
Sizemore, meanwhile, has been hired by the Indians as an advisor for player development. Whether this is a real front office job or if he’ll be the sort of “advisor” who is, in reality, just a spring training instructor remains to be seen.
If, as it seems, this is the end of each of their careers, they go off into the sunset with nothing to be ashamed of. Sizemore finishes with a .265/.349/.457 career batting line and 150 homers over 1,110 games. There was a brief period there, about a decade ago, when he was in the conversation as one of the best players in the game. Injuries, unfortunately, derailed that promise. He last played, with the Rays, in 2015.
Swisher, who also did not play in 2016, was the first round pick of the Oakland A’s in the now-famous 2002 draft featured in “Moneyball.” The second generation big leaguer — son of Cards, Cubs and Padres catcher Steve Swisher — finishes with 245 homers and a line of .249/.351/.447 in 12 seasons. He made the All-Star team once and was a a key part of the World Champion 2009 Yankees.
Good luck with your future endeavors, men.