CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Time/Warner, L.A. Dodgers and One of the 30%

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WIMPY1By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

Emerging a winner by virtue of being in the minority is a rarity worthy of Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Guinness World Book of Records. Like attending a wine tasting for the first time, I don’t know how to act. We Nisei have never been known to posture, lord it over anyone, let alone snub, snob or sneer. I mean, hey, we’ve always been a classy sort (of minority). Turn the other cheek and all that jazz; never picketing, protesting, pilfering.

So it’s kind of unsettling to find myself in a special place where others are forbidden, verboten; only I (and a few other lucky ones) can drink from this water fountain. Maybe being three out of ten doesn’t exactly separate me from the masses, but how many major leaguers bat .300?

Only by chance CR2S is a Time/Warner subscriber. It was the only cable outfit my apartment could be wired for. So I signed on without knowing my $87.02 (current) monthly tab would ultimately include Dodger Sportsnet LA, 431 on the dial.

Currently on display is an underachieving ball club that could be headed for trouble if it doesn’t improve an erratic offense, porous defense and a relief corps that doesn’t. Vin Scully can’t even watch his team on television as DirecTV refuses to pay T/W’s subscriber fee; a stand supported by Dish, Cox, Charter and Verizon. That means 70% of the local market is blacked out. Time/Warner paid $8.35 billion for television rights (25 years) and without a wider market kicking in $4 to $5 a month, that bloated figure won’t pencil out.

Here at KRH, there are only two other residents with a T/W hookup. If I didn’t have my television set arranged so only I can watch from atop my bed, dang, I could sell tickets to the many avid Dodger followers here. They might not know English, but they sure know Puig.

{It’s Mother’s Day. Me sad. The Dodgers blow another. They bad.}

I’m sure there are CR2S followers who are Dodger fans. As a public service, let me fill you in on some of the stuff you’ve been missing. Radio listeners lose Scully after three innings. If truth be told, he misses a play and name every now and again, but what do you expect from an icon at 85? Since I only watch game days, I don’t know what else the new sports channel offers aside from pre- and after-game analysis. Those chores are capably handled by host John Hartung, joined by talking heads Orel Hersheiser, Nomar Garciaparra, Jerry Hairston Jr. On-field reporter is Alanna Rizzo, a newcomer, good with interviews and bilingual (Spanish) to boot.

The only added Sportsnet feature I’m aware of is something called “Back Stories,” player conversations and rehashing of the good ole days, a la Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela and 1988. “Larry King at Bat” is another interview show. Personally speaking, he and Tommy Lasorda should remain in silent retirement. [Maybe I’ll turn to Sportsnet at 8 a.m. or 12 midnight to see if they’re on air 24/7.]

Just out of curiosity I jotted down some game advertisers. Aside from the usual automobile regulars (Toyota, Honda, Audi), Jack in the Box and Carl’s Jr., there is a noticeable lack of national advertising but quite a few locals, those who buy L.A.-area ad slots at a reduced rate. The abundance of promos, which is like to singing to the choir, makes me wonder: Why promote Time/Warner and the Dodger network to those already subscribing? It could mean there is dead time to fill because of a lack of sponsors.

Which leads me to believe there has to be an agreement somewhere down the road. Sportsnet can’t survive without more eyeballs. The longer the impasse, the more fans will lose interest. Guggenheim has a bloated contract in the bank but will suffer backlash if the present situation continues. [I doubt if a Magic Johnson gung ho Tweet will help matters.]

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CR2S is no longer the sports addict of yore. And don’t blame it on ageism. Having had first-person experience with sports heroics of the long ago past should enhance the enjoyment of today; the “I remember when” comparisons. Without debate, all sports have improved greatly. Admittedly most of my ennui (two-bit word for “don’t give a damn”) is because of inaction (honest word for no longer a gambler.) A fifty-yard field goal try as time expires is still heart-stopping, as is a desperate last-second three-point attempt (except a Kobe Bryant air ball). But let me tell you, it’s ten times the stress if you’re only up by two with the spread!

Watching a three- to four-hour ballgame is sometimes very boring, if not an outright waste of time. I make the most of it by exercising, like on a stationary bike, only I’m sitting in my chair with a pedal board at my feet instead of on a bicycle. If no game, I pedal while watching the news. An added filbert is stretching arms and shoulders (518 times) with an oversized rubber band while pedaling; those elastic rubber stretchers used while in physical therapy. Nothing like making the most of your time when the team isn’t.

[Today is Tuesday: Me glad Father’s Day comes next!] 


W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of  The Rafu Shimpo.

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