Most people in L.A. still can’t see Dodgers games. There’s some progress though. Kinda.

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The Dodgers and Time Warner launched SportsNet LA this season. The Dodgers games appear on it in California. The problem: only Time Warner subscribers can currently get SportsNet LA and a minority of people in Los Angeles are Time Warner subscribers, leaving the majority of Dodgers fans with no way to watch Dodgers games.

The reason other carriers — including¬†DirecTV, Cox Communications, Verizon FiOS and Dish Network — aren’t carrying it? Time Warner wants to charge them $4 per subscriber to carry it. That’s pretty darn high for a single channel and it’s hard to pass on those costs to all subscribers when most of them probably aren’t baseball fans to begin with. This is a broader problem with all rights fees disputes in pay TV and it has played out in many cities, usually with sports, but sometimes with other channels too.

But since this is sports — the Dodgers no less — a lot of heavy hitters are wading in. Congressmen, mostly, and the FCC, trying to force Time Warner and the other pay TV providers to the table. At the heavy hitters’ suggestion, Time Warner has agreed to forego continued negotiations and simply submit the matter to a binding arbitration which will determine what the other carriers have to pay for it.

However, it takes two to tango:

DirecTV does not appear interested in entering into arbitration to resolve the dispute.

“Rather than force everyone to bail Time Warner Cable out, the simplest solution is to enable only those who want to pay to see the remaining Dodger games to do so at the price Time Warner Cable wants to set,” a DirecTV spokesman said, adding that non-fans should not have to pay for Time Warner Cable’s “excess.”

Not too encouraging. And, obviously, somewhat disingenuous. I’m a DirecTV subscriber and, for some reason, they don’t let me pick and choose which programming I wish to pay for. I have tiers and packages and all kinds of crap. If they’d let me have MLB Extra Innings, Cartoon Network and a couple of science/documentary channels for the kids and would allow me to turn on and turn off Fox and TBS each postseason, I’d be doing that in a heartbeat. I’m not holding my breath.

Oh well. At least I can get Dodgers games here in Ohio. Too bad people in L.A. cant.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.