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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Bleeding Continues As SportsNet LA Halves Dodgers' Spring Training Coverage

Bill Plaschke brings the sad yet predictable news that SportsNet LA plans on halving its coverage of spring training games from 31 to 16.
No, this is not about the importance of watching spring exhibitions, which become awfully boring when all the good players hit the golf courses by the fifth inning. No, SportsNet LA is not alone in taking a spring break, as most teams televise only a smattering of games — and even KLAC radio is broadcasting only 14 games from Arizona. And yes, it makes sense when Time Warner Cable officials say they are cutting back because of lousy midweek afternoon ratings.

But when the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable continue to deny 60% of Southern California households a chance to watch their team because of ego and greed, then each misstep becomes more galling than the previous one, and every stumble becomes emblematic of a legendary fall.

At this point in the three-year debacle, it is worth wondering whether this might be the worst team-TV partnership in modern sports history. If the Dodgers keep Vin Scully from Los Angeles during his final season, that seals it.
The reason I say this is predictable is due to the fact that the channel is hemorrhaging money, and so they have to cut costs somewhere. Spring training games, broadcast in the afternoons with poor viewership, are an obvious place to trim.

It's rare that I can endorse a Plaschke column in its entirety (or even majority); it seems to happen about twice a year now. But here it is.

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