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Dodgers Dugout: Great, we can watch the Dodgers now, but there’s nothing to see

Dodger Stadium
Dodger Stadium
(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Just our luck, the Dodgers TV stalemate ends but there’s no season. But at least everyone in the greater L.A. area has the ability to watch the Dodgers now.

Spectrum announced Wednesday it reached an agreement to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodgers’ television home, on AT&T video platforms, including DirecTV, AT&T TV, U-Verse TV and AT&T Now in Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii, beginning immediately.

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SportsNet LA started airing Wednesday on DirecTV Channel 690. U-Verse TV also has already picked up SportsNet LA, and AT&T and AT&T TV Now are scheduled to add the channel April 8.

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The deal ends a seven-year stalemate between the two parties since the Dodgers agreed to a record 25-year, $8.35-billion television deal in January 2013 and granted Time Warner Cable exclusive marketing rights for the channel. SportsNet LA launched in 2014.

Charter Communications bought Time Warner four years ago, but had been unable to reach an agreement with DirecTV and other local providers. SportsNet LA reached less than half of the Southern California market. That changed Wednesday.

“As anxious as we all are for the ongoing pandemic to end and for the 2020 season to begin, we now have even more reason to be excited because this agreement will make Dodger baseball games and programming available for our fans on Spectrum, AT&T TV, DIRECTV, U-verse TV, and AT&T TV NOW,”

Dodgers president Stan Kasten said in a statement. “I want to thank AT&T and Spectrum Networks for coming together on this agreement. We are eager to get this season started once it is deemed safe to do so everywhere.”

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Read more

Bill Plaschke: Dodgers TV blackout ends. But for Kershaw’s peak and Scully’s finale, you had to be there, L.A.

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Ask Jerry Reuss

Throughout the next few weeks, Dodgers Dugout will expand its “Ask...” feature to include former Dodgers. First up, Jerry Reuss.

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Reuss pitched for the Dodgers from 1979 to 1987 as part of a 22-season major league career. With the Dodgers, he went 86-69 with a 3.11 ERA (an ERA+ of 11). His best season was 1980 when he went 18-6 with a 2.51 ERA and pitched a no-hitter against the Giants. He finished second in Cy Young voting that year to Steve Carlton. He ended his career with 220 wins and with his tall, lanky frame, blond hair and penchant for pranks, he is one of the more popular Dodgers of the past. He recently had his autobiography “Bring in the Right-Hander!” published, and it is well worth a read. You can read more about him by clicking here.

Reuss will answer selected questions from readers of Dodgers Dugout, so send me your questions for him by clicking here or by emailing me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. His answers will appear next week.

Your first Dodgers memory

Well, I asked you to share your first Dodgers memory and you did. I received thousands of responses, so thank you. Since we have plenty of free time on our hands, I’ll continue running multiple “first Dodgers memories.” If you haven’t already, I’d still love for you to send me your first Dodgers memory, and it may run in an upcoming Dodgers Dugout. Include your name. And don’t send only a sentence, tell why that memory sticks out in your mind. You can email me your memory at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. Thanks.

Ross Miller: One of my early memories is my first game at Dodger Stadium when it opened in 1962. My dad was not a baseball fan but knew that I was, ... [bought] us tickets in the right-field outer reserved section [in the sun] for a Sunday day game. I brought my glove and intensely rooted for our Dodgers during the game [as I still do today]. Meanwhile, my dad had brought the Sunday L.A. Times to read and then proceeded to sleep through most of the game with the newspaper over his face and head blocking the sun and heat. Over time, our entire family [including my mom] became big Dodger fans and even though my dad only followed them peripherally, I made sure when we moved him to assisted living a few years ago that he had the SportsNetLA channel so we could watch some games together and have that connection prior to his subsequent passing.

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Agieb Bilal: It was Jackie Robinson’s first series of games at Ebbets Field, 1947. Living in Harlem overlooking the Polo Grounds, it was a long subway ride to Brooklyn; we took IND, changed to BMT at 34th St. and then another train to Ebbets Field. I was 3 years old and sat in my great aunt’s lap during the entire game. The Dodgers lost, but I will never forget the excitement of the crowd every time Jackie fielded the ball or came up to hit.

Daniel Rivera: I was in fourth grade at Monte Vista Elementary in the spring of 1995 [when I am about 99% sure that this story took place]. Our school had arranged a special assembly on the playground where we were treated to a special visit by a few of the current Dodgers. I believe Tommy Lasorda and Todd Worrell and maybe Eric Karros were there but the player that stands out in my memory is Mike Piazza. I couldn’t believe he was there and that I was occupying the same general space as him. He was such a big star and it still is kind of bewildering. I remember him dressing a little pudgy boy up in catcher’s gear and picking him up by the armpits and showing the crowd.

Later, after we had gone back to class, Mike walked past the classrooms to the thrill of everyone. I remember all the kids leaving their seats and crowding him to try to get an autograph. I didn’t end up getting an autograph but it was a magical and memorable moment anyway.

Ask Ross Porter

Former Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter has agreed to return for another season of “Ask Ross Porter.” We have a new email address this season for it. Ross will have access to this email address and will get your questions without me having to forward them. So, if you have a message (like thanking him for his years as a broadcaster) and not a question, feel free to let him know. Send your question or comment to rossporterdodgers@gmail.com. Welcome back, Ross.

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Ross: It’s good to be back, Houston. Hope all of you are staying safe and being sensible. Everyone, please list your city of residence with your question.

Andy Edwards asks: Keep washing your hands, Ross. If there is no season, is Mookie Betts still a free agent in 2021?

Ross: Yes, he’s going to be a free agent whether or not there is baseball this year.

Geno Apicella of Hollywood: Thank you for being part of my childhood and I am thankful you are still with us to provide your insight. What are your thoughts about no penalties levied against the Houston players for cheating?

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Ross: Thanks, Geno. I could not believe commissioner Rob Manfred was so weak. He was afraid the players’ union would make it a lengthy legal battle and keep it in the news. My suggestion was banning the Astros from postseason play for two years.

Robert Jensen: Whatever happened to Dodger outfielder Andrew Toles?

Ross: Toles hit .364 in the 2016 playoffs, missed most of 2017 due to an ACL tear, and was in only 17 major-league games in 2018. Although apparently healthy, he did not play anywhere last year. He stayed at the Arizona spring training facility from late April to late May when he left to attend to a “personal matter.” Neither the Dodgers nor Major League Baseball has anything to say about Toles.

Edward Jimenez of Whittier: Hi, Ross, the original sabermetrician! I always enjoyed the numbers. Which two do you find important?

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Ross: Two of my favorites are on-base percentage and innings pitched/hits allowed.

John Chase: Why do hitters put pine tar on their bats?

Ross: For grip, so the bat will not slip out of the batter’s hands while swinging. It’s only allowed on the handle and illegal to use more than 18 inches from the knob. A looser grip allows for more “pop” and less “stinging” when contact is made.

And finally

Vin Scully remembers the Dodgers 1955 World Series win and the move to L.A. Watch it here.

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Until next time...
Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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