What do the Vegas Golden Knights have to do with the Los Angeles Dodgers?
Good question. Some of you may even be asking who in the world the Vegas Golden Knights are in the first place.
The Golden Knights are the NHL expansion team slated to begin play in Las Vegas next season. Their TV deal has some similarities to the one the Dodgers have, similarities that take on some ironic tones.
The Knights have a deal with Root Sports Rocky Mountain to show their games. Root Sports is a chain of regional sports networks owned by AT&T, which also owns DirecTV. However, according to the Las Vegas Sun, the Rocky Mountain network isn’t available in Las Vegas. AT&T is now going to start negotiating with Cox Cable and with CenturyLink’s Prism TV service to bring the network to Vegas.
Meanwhile, as you likely know if you’re a Southern California sports fan, the Dodgers own SportsNet LA in a partnership with Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) and have been unable to get any other major provider to carry it, most notably DirecTV, the biggest provider of the bunch.
How interesting then, that AT&T would on one hand utterly refuse to negotiate with SportsNet LA, but on the other hand enter into virtually the same kind of partnership in Las Vegas, trying to get providers to offer Root Sports Rocky Mountain in order to show the Golden Knights.
Apparently in television, standing up for principles is great — until you’re on the other side of them.
Houston Mitchell of the Los Angeles Times brought up the idea this week that Dodgers broadcaster Joe Davis might sound pretty good if he were allowed to announce alone, the way his legendary predecessor, Vin Scully, did for 67 years.
I agree. Davis has impressed me enough with his ability to do his homework and with his storytelling ability to think he might actually be able to go solo.
But there is absolutely no way that will ever happen. None. Zilch. Zero. Nada. No employer has the guts to do it anymore. With Scully gone, that’s the end of it. The only way we will ever hear a play-by-play broadcaster announce alone again is if his analyst passes out during the game.
Quite frankly, the thing that brings Davis down more than anything is the partner he’s working with. Orel Hershiser thinks he is working solo. He seems to do everything he can to keep Davis from getting a word in edgewise. Hershiser says inane things, then baits Davis into responding to them, bringing him down to his level.
Recently, there have been a few games where Hershiser was either off or relegated to the SportsNet LA studio and Nomar Garciaparra worked with Davis (or, last weekend when Davis was calling a game for Fox, with play-by-play man Charley Steiner). What a joy it was to have enough silence in the broadcast booth to actually be able to breathe a little, to be able to hear the crowd every once in a while.
And let me say again that Steiner deserved to be made Scully’s TV successor. Exiling him to radio, bringing him over to TV only when Davis is away, is a waste of talent. It would be better for the Dodgers to do like many other teams do and rotate their play-by-play from TV to radio and back.
IT’S MIKE, NOT MIKE
Breaking up is hard to do, and reportedly, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are no exception.
Last week, we reported how Greenberg is leaving the Mike & Mike ESPN Radio show to start a morning TV show on ESPN and Golic is remaining on the radio, teaming with Trey Wingo. It looks now as if there has been some animosity between the Mikes. SI.com reports the relationship “has turned icy over the last year” and that some employees are predicting the show will end well before the time it is scheduled to, around the end of the year. Greenberg’s new show will start Jan. 1 and the Golic/Wingo program begins sometime this fall.
UP & DOWN THE DIAL
- ABC will show the Indianapolis 500 at 8 a.m. Sunday with the green flag scheduled to fall at 9:17 a.m. The network is showing the race for the 53rd straight year, going back to 1965. Allen Bestwick will call the race with analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever. The pit reporters will be Rick DeBruhl, Jon Beekhuis and Jerry Punch. SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak will host the pre-race show with reporter Marty Smith.
- You have be thinking NBC had to be rooting for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday in Game 7 of their NHL Western Conference finals against the Ottawa Senators. A Stanley Cup Final matchup between Ottawa and the Nashville Predators would be a ratings stinkeroo.
- The Dodgers and Cubs will be shown on Fox at 4:15 p.m. Saturday with Joe Buck, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal. The 2016 National League Championship Series rematch will be shown to 64% of the nation. Joe Davis, who did a Fox game last week, won’t be doing a game this Saturday.
- Dick Vitale, who began with ESPN as a college basketball analyst in 1979, its first year, has signed a contract extension that will take him into his 41st year, through the 2019-20 season. Vitale will continue to be the main analyst on many of the network’s top games. Meanwhile, analyst Seth Greenberg has signed a multiyear contract extension. Greenberg has been with ESPN since 2012.
- NBC announced Sunday Night Football was the No. 1 program in prime-time TV for the sixth straight season. Only American Idol on Fox has held the top spot for as many seasons.
- The Prefontaine Classic, known as one of the most prestigious and emotional track and field meets in the nation, will be shown from Portland, Ore., at 8 p.m. Friday on NBCSN and at 1 p.m. Saturday on NBC.
- Viewership for the NBA Playoffs on ESPN and ABC has increased 5% from last season, from 4.2 million viewers to 4.4 million.
- The NFL Pro Bowl will remain in Orlando, Fla., next season and will be simulcast on ABC as well as on ESPN. It’ll be the first time ABC has shown the game since 2003.