Hi, my name is Houston Mitchell, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. If the Dodgers win the World Series, please, please do not let Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway present the trophy. I don't want to take any chances.
So, it looks as if KTLA will be televising 10 Dodger games in April and May. Bill Shaikin wrote about the situation here.
While it is nice to get 10 games, the overall situation is still sad. The fact that more than half of Dodgers fans can't watch the team on TV is disgraceful. I don't blame the Dodgers. There is plenty of blame to go around.
For those who have been subscribing to this newsletter since the start (it is beginning its third year), you have heard this before, so you can skip to the next section if you want:
It's unfair to lay all of the blame for the TV situation at the feet of the Dodgers. DirecTV and the other cable/satellite providers deserve a lot of the blame. But here's what the Dodgers aren't realizing: The fans look to the team to explain what is going on, but the Dodgers never really say anything in a way the fans can clearly understand. It feels like there is a giant communications blackout, and if the Dodgers truly believe they shouldn't be blamed, they should state their case to the fans. Instead, not much gets said in a forum where the average Dodgers fan will hear or see it. If I were Dodgers ownership, I would be handing out fliers at every home game explaining the situation.
As a consumer, and fan, you have very few options short of canceling your subscription. I get a lot of emails from Dodgers fans who blame DirecTV for all of this. When I ask them whether they have canceled their subscription, they say no because they don't like their other options. DirecTV's rationale for not taking the Dodgers is that they do not want to pass on the expense of showing Dodgers games to all their customers. I can understand that. If you weren't a Dodgers fan, would you want your bill going up just so others could watch something you have no interest in?
I can already see some of the emails I will be getting: "You are just a Dodgers apologist!" No, believe me, if I were, they would actually allow me to do a reader Q&A with Andrew Friedman instead of denying the interview because what I write hurts their feelings sometimes. I am just a Dodgers fan who would love to see his favorite team on TV every night.
There is plenty of blame to go around, but as a fan, if you aren't applying the maximum pressure to get it resolved (canceling your subscription, boycotting Dodgers games, etc.), then there is no real incentive for anyone to reach an agreement.
Now, all you kids get off my lawn.
Some of you are wondering who the Dodgers hired to replace Vin Scully this year. The answer: no one. The announcers from last year will expand their roles, with Joe Davis picking up almost all the games Vin would have done. I was going to write a bit about Davis, but Bill Plaschke did a much better job than I would have, so go read his column on Davis here.
Here is this year's announcing crew, as supplied by the Dodgers via email:
"Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser will form the Dodgers' two-man TV booth for the 2017 season and Alanna Rizzo will add in-game commentary and post-game interviews. SNLA's Kelli Tennant will fill-in for Rizzo during the season. Charley Steiner will move over from the radio booth to television to fill in for Davis during the season and Nomar Garciaparra will work a number of games during the season subbing for Hershiser. Steiner and Rick Monday will call the action on AM 570 LA Sports and Kevin Kennedy will join Monday when Steiner moves over to television.Dodgertalk on AM 570 LA Sports will be hosted by David Vassegh during the season. Vassegh will have a rotating group of analysts including Jerry Hairston Jr., Ned Colletti and Garciaparra. The Dodgers Spanish radio team of Hall of Famer Jaime Jarrin and Jorge Jarrin, return to the booth on KTNQ (1020 AM). The SNLA Spanish television team of Pepe Yñiguez, Fernando Valenzuela and Manny Mota will call all the action."
Spring training update
It's is way too early in spring training to gain any useful knowledge about players yet, especially the pitchers who are trying to come back from injuries. So we will put that on the back burner for now. However, a couple of interesting items from the last week:
— Six Dodgers had left or will be leaving camp soon to join their World Baseball Classic teams. They are:
Ike Davis, playing for Israel
Adrian Gonzalez, playing for Mexico
Enrique Hernandez, playing for Puerto Rico
Sergio Romo, playing for Mexico
Rob Segedin, playing for Italy
Alex Verdugo, playing for Mexico
--Those of you hoping the Dodgers would still bring back Joe Blanton can stop hoping. He agreed to a one-year, $4-million deal with Washington.
--MLB announced two rules changes that could help speed up play.
1. A batter getting an intentional walk will take first base, with no pitches being thrown.
2. Managers will have 30 seconds to challenge a play via instant replay, and replay officials will be expected to complete their review in less than two minutes.
End of the Chase
The Dodgers traded pitching prospect Chase De Jong to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday for minor league shortstop Drew Jackson and minor league pitcher Aneurys Zabala. De Jong, 23, went 14-5 with a 2.86 ERA for double-A Tulsa last season.
Jackson, 23, hit .258 at Class A Bakersfield last season while Zabala, 20, had a 2.88 ERA in the Arizona League last season, with 28 strikeouts and 15 walks in 25 innings.
Baseball America considered Jackson the seventh-ranked prospect in the Mariners system.
De Jong was considered by most to be at the lower end of the top 20 among Dodgers prospects. Zabala throws hard and could develop, but it's really too soon to tell what his ceiling is.
Ask Ross Porter
Former Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter will be back this season, answering reader questions. Email me a question for Ross, and I will pass it on.
Tommy Lasorda is 89, but still works harder than most of us. Read Bill Plaschke's column on Lasorda here.