How the Dodgers are losing a generation of fans

Getty Images
15 Comments

My friend Bob Timmermann is a longtime Dodgers fan. But he lives in Los Angeles so, like a lot of Dodgers fans, he can’t see the Dodgers on TV due to the carriage dispute between Spectrum/Time Warner, which owns Dodgers broadcasts, and the other carriers which will not pay the exorbitant fees Spectrum/Time Warner is demanding.

We hear about all of this mostly when some new court case pops up. I personally hear about this most loudly from intense, diehard Dodgers fans, angry about not being able to see their team through normal channels. They beef a lot about the shady, sometimes expensive lengths they have to go to in order to see their team.

The folks we don’t hear much from, however, are people like Bob. We don’t hear much because, as he describes, he’s not angry, as such. He was mildly bummed, but since 2014 life has gone on and he simply hasn’t watched the Dodgers. Now they’re just a thing to which he’s mildly and tenuously attached:

The biggest difference between being a Dodgers fan now and one from just five years ago is intensity. When I could easily see the Dodgers on TV, I would be thinking about the team a lot. I would be very much invested in the daily ups and downs of the team. I would block out time at home to make sure to watch a game. Now, the Dodgers are something I can just check in on to see how they’re doing without investing as much mental energy. Over time, the Dodgers may end up meaning as much to me as any of L.A.’s other pro sports teams. Which doesn’t bode well for the Dodgers as I am hard pressed to name more than 3 or 4 members of teams like the Lakers, Clippers, or Rams.

The Dodgers have made a lot of money due to their massive TV deal with Spectrum/Time Warner. But that will end one day. And when it does, they will have sacrificed an entire generation of fans, like Bob, who were devoted to the team when they were actually able to be but who mostly moved on when the team made it all but impossible for people to enjoy their games.

It may very well prove to have been a shortsighted play.

 

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
Getty Images
2 Comments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.