Dodgers show seems to be starting early, but it should be a hit

Dodgers management seems to be making good moves, and the Lakers' implosion has created the right moment for the baseball team.

Pardon me if I don't do back flips over the arrival of spring training. First of all, I can't do a back flip, supple as I seem. Second, the season itself lasts seven months, about the gestation period of a grizzly bear.

So basically, nature can build a bear from scratch in the same time it takes baseball to crown a champion.

It's only mid-February and thanks to L.A.'s Tropical Vortex, my yard smells like the fragrance section of Nordstrom. Usually, such scents indicate the all-consuming joys of a Lakers spring, but apparently they canceled the Lakers this season. Still can't get it on my Dish feed. Nothing to complain about.

Just wake me when the Heat wins it all again. Yawn.

So we're forced to turn our attention to these Dodgers, fans virtually buying out the place in advance. Sales were so brisk that they put a hold on season ticket packages, so serfs like me can maybe catch a game.

Royalty's first thought in the morning? Always the little guy.

You think a benevolent king matters? Look at the opposing trajectories of L.A.'s two most prominent franchises, the Dodgers and the Lakers, all in the wake of changes in ownership. Guggenheim — or as I like to think of them, Crazy Guggenheim (Jackie Gleason fans will remember) — has hardly made a misstep.

Meanwhile, Jim Buss & Friends can't catch a break, unless it's a tendon or a bone. Even when they reach deep, they buy all the wrong horses. To cement their demise, they passed on re-signing the greatest coach of all time. Greek tragedies are based on far less than what happens almost daily in the Lakers' front offices.

Nature abhors a vacuum almost as much as my wife does, so when the Lakers imploded it was the perfect moment for these understudy Dodgers. I haven't been this excited about a baseball season since Leo the Lip used to hurl his dirty underwear at the Cubs' clubhouse attendants. Things were less PC back then. In fact, there was no PC. Men just did as they pleased. These days, that only happens in the movie business.

And these Dodgers could very well be cinematic. Triumph or fail, this season will be a terrific show. Expect many wonderful things, but don't rule out the occasional idiocy. You don't think Mark Walter opens the paper each morning half-fearing to read that Yasiel Puig accidentally ran over Justin Bieber? True, they'd probably throw the guy a parade, yet a few spoil-sports would still tsk-tsk that the outfielder needs more self-control.

Enough with self-control. That's so last century.

In fact, so excited is Guggenheim about this season that the company has taken to giving away the local opiate, Dodger Dogs. For that alone, they must be a little crazy.

Once or twice week, the Dodger Dog truck has been handing out free lunches around town. In fact, I watched Wednesday, under what felt like opening-day sun.

The free Dodger Dogs are part of a major marketing push to encourage fans to lobby their pay-TV provider to carry the new Dodgers station, known as SportsNet LA, which debuts Feb. 25.

The only requirement for obtaining a Dodger Dog, towel and T-shirt is to hear the SportsNet LA spiel about being sure to demand the Dodgers on your TV this season.

See, to give you Dodgers games, your provider — Cox, Direct, Charter, etc. — will need to sign on with Time Warner, which is brokering all those side deals. Lack of that sort of side deal is the reason Dish customers are not receiving Lakers games again this year.

Pepperdine's Babette Boliek says the Balkanized, arcane world of regional sports networks puzzles fans and puts undue pressures on cable providers. But the associate professor of law notes that the Federal Communications Commission can step in when things go terribly wrong.

And don't fret that Time Warner Cable is the same outfit that blew the Super Bowl for an undisclosed number of viewers, an hour's outage that included halftime.

No worries, only the biggest TV spectacle of the year. As payback, Time Warner is compensating those viewers $5, or a free movie rental.

I found that obscenely generous on their part, but then I wasn't throwing a Super Bowl party for 20 people, like some viewers. Judging by message boards and social media, those folks were a little less pleased.

Yep, five bucks for blowing the Super Bowl. That's got to make the seventh game of the World Series worth, what, maybe six?

Or another free Dodger Dog.

Twitter: @erskinetimes

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