MLB plays the Vin Scully Sympathy Card to guilt cable companies on Dodgers broadcasts


This morning we wrote about how the Dodgers and Time Warner have reduced the per-subscriber price for which they will offer the Dodgers’ cable network to southern California cable operators. They’re doing so in an effort to make Dodgers games available to fans in the region who haven’t been able to see their games for a few years now due to the carriage dispute. All of the details about that can be read in the linked post.

A few moments ago Major League Baseball released a statement from Rob Manfred imploring the cable companies with whom the Dodgers are negotiating to accept the latest offer. And they did so in a pretty pathetic way in this writer’s opinion:

“The distribution dispute involving DirecTV, AT&T, COX and Verizon has gone on too long. The Dodgers’ massive fan base deserves to be able to watch Dodger games regardless of their choice of provider. The situation is particularly acute given that this is Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully’s final season. Time Warner has made a significant economic move that I hope will be accepted by the providers.”

The Vin Scully card, eh? Pretty low if you ask me.

Where was Major League Baseball’s concern about the masses being able to hear any given broadcaster when, as a matter of clear league policy, it and its clubs made a concerted effort to push games off of free, over-the-air TV and onto cable? Where was baseball’s concern about widespread availability of games when it pushed not just regular season games but postseason games onto cable as well? Where is it now that it continues to enforce blackout restrictions which are aggressively anti-fan yet persist because their existence is something the cable companies desperately, desperately want to keep in place?

Moreover, I’ve been searching my archives for a while now and I can’t seem to find the press release from MLB in which it said “hey, the bids from Fox, ESPN, TBS and the other networks were not quite what we wanted for national broadcast rights, but at some point we figured they were generous enough and we felt like making the best possible business deal we could wasn’t a great thing.” I’m SURE it’s here someplace, but I simply can’t locate it. Oh, and while you’re at it, MLB, maybe get the guys who write your press releases to help DirecTV, AT&T, Cox and Verizon’s P.R. department write theirs. You know, for when they have to explain to their shareholders that they took a deal that didn’t work for them because “hey, we were asked to do it for Vin.”

Finally, speaking of Vin Scully, I’m curious to know if anyone checked with him about being used as a point of emotional manipulation like this. He has never, not once, inserted himself into controversial business matters of the Dodgers or Major League Baseball and has, at almost every turn, gone out of his way to avoid attention that is unrelated to the actual calling of a baseball game in front of him. He’s a tremendous source of goodwill for the Dodgers to be sure, but he’s not some mascot or sympathy card that should be wielded like this.

This part of baseball is a business. Cable is definitely a business. Put your big boy pants on and do business, MLB, rather than playing cynical P.R. games like this.

MLB homer leader Pete Alonso to IL with bone bruise, sprain in wrist

pete alonso
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — The New York Mets will have to dig out of an early-season hole without star first baseman Pete Alonso.

The leading home run hitter in the majors will miss three-to-four weeks with a bone bruise and a sprain in his left wrist.

The Mets placed Alonso on the 10-day injured list Friday, retroactive to June 8. Alonso was hit in the wrist by a 96 mph fastball from Charlie Morton in the first inning of a 7-5 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.

Alonso traveled to New York for testing on Thursday. X-rays revealed no broken bones, but the Mets will be missing one of the premier power hitters in the game as they try to work their way back into contention in the NL East.

“We got better news than it could have been,” New York manager Buck Showalter said. “So we take that as a positive. It could have been worse.”

New York had lost six straight heading into a three-game series at Pittsburgh that began Friday. Mark Canha started at first for the Mets in the opener. Mark Vientos could also be an option, though Showalter said the coaching staff may have to use its “imagination” in thinking of ways to get by without Alonso.

“I’m not going to say someone has to step up and all that stuff,” Showalter said. “You’ve just got to be who you are.”

Even with Alonso in the lineup, the Mets have struggled to score consistently. New York is 16th in the majors in runs scored.

The team also said Friday that reliever Edwin Uceta had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Uceta initially went on the IL in April with what the team called a sprained left ankle. He is expected to be out for at least an additional eight weeks.

New York recalled infielder Luis Guillorme and left-handed reliever Zach Muckenhirn from Triple-A Syracuse. The Mets sent catcher Tomás Nido to Triple-A and designated reliever Stephen Nogosek for assignment.

Nogosek is 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 13 games this season.