Vin Scully’s retirement is a loss to anyone who appreciates sports broadcasting.
Few, if any, have ever done it better, and no one has done it longer.
Yet over the past few years, if you’re in the Dodgers market, it was difficult to actually watch games he called, as the SportsNet LA channel launched by Time Warner Cable has struggled to find distribution, as we’ve long covered:
After two new offers were spurned by Cox Communications and DirecTV over Dodgers-central channel SportsNet LA, operator Time Warner Cable has in essence given up the fight. Over the last week, TWC offered SportsNet LA to Cox and DirecTV at reduced costs, first bringing down its subscriber fee for this season only, then revising it to a six-year commitment.
Both offers were met with a cold shoulder and Time Warner Cable has conceded that for the third consecutive year, most of Los Angeles will not have access to SportsNet LA. Currently, the regional sports network is carried by Bright House, Charter and Time Warner systems in the LA market. That amounts to about 1.8 million households, but over 3 million still do not have access leaving them in the dark.
But with Vin’s final few regular season games fast approaching, one-time deal was struck with KTLA to show Vin’s final six regular season broadcasts.
From the Los Angeles Times:
KTLA (Channel 5) will air the broadcasts of Scully’s final six regular-season games, the station announced Friday.
Scully, regarded as the greatest broadcaster in baseball history, is retiring after this season, his 67th as the voice of the Dodgers.
As the piece notes, this isn’t the first time a temporary deal has been struck:
This year’s agreement echoes a similar deal at the end of the 2014 season, when KDOC (Channel 56) aired the Dodgers’ final week of home games.
The games on KTLA: Sept. 23-25 against the Colorado Rockies, and Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the San Francisco Giants. KTLA also will air the Vin Scully Appreciation Night tributes before the Sept. 23 game.
This is certainly not bad news for Dodger fans in the Los Angeles area. Some Vin Scully is better than no Vin Scully. But to know that they’d have had more (legal) options to watch Vin call their team’s games if they lived in Maine, or Florida, has to be frustrating.
This can’t even directly be blamed on MLB’s terrible blackout rules, as it’s strictly a fee dispute that has caught Vin Scully’s final few years as collateral damage.
That’s very much a shame.