You may not have noticed, but two major Los Angeles icons have recently been sounding off on the Dodgers going missing from television screens across L.A. – and they could not be further apart on the opinion – and credibility – spectrum.
A few days ago Dodgers part-owner Magic Johnson was asked if the Dodgers being off the air to 70% of the Los Angeles area has damaged the team’s standing in the community. This is what he had to say:
"“No, it’s not hurting us, but we want to be on TV… There’s nothing we can tell you right now. But we are trying. We are working hard.”"
Let me see if I’ve got this straight – Los Angeles Dodger fans being denied the chance to enjoy the final few years of legendary announcer Vin Scully in the broadcast booth is not affecting the Dodgers brand.
Tens of thousands of families in the area being blacked out from the local baseball team – for the second season in a row – is having no effect.
Right, Magic – and for a context you may be able to relate to, the passing of the late, great Chick Hearn meant nothing to the Lakers Nation.
On the other side of the coin is rapper, actor, businessman and Dodger fan, Ice Cube. Cube has been expressing his displeasure with this mess in a way that seems to be closer to the heartbeat of L.A. He’s been tweeting about the situation since well before Opening Day.
Last night he took this beef to the Conan O’Brien show, where he bluntly told the Dodgers what affect he feels this situation is having in the community, and how he would like to settle things in the old-school way:
"“I’m about to kick somebody’s ass. Y’all business men. Do business! You’re going to lose a whole generation of fans. We wanna see some Dodgers in L.A.”"
Who sounds more believable? Magic or Ice Cube? Sure, Magic has mastered corporate-speak and Cube still speaks with a bit of street accent, but should that determine who is coming from a place of truth?
Magic seems to think L.A. can go the distance of that 25-year TV contract without ever seeing a game again – and it won’t hurt the Dodgers a bit. I suppose he’s not just towing the company line, he really is speaking the truth. In a way.
Do you remember the scene in Goodfellas when Ray Liotta warns the restaurant owner not to partner up with the mob? He warns him that no matter what happens restaurant-wise, the mob will still get their money.
“Business is bad? F- you. Pay me. ” It’s a little bit like that with the Dodgers and TWC. “Nobody wants to buy your overpriced cable TV bundles? Pay me.”
Whether Time Warner Cable broadcasts the Dodgers for everyone, world-wide, or it never shows another game to anyone ever again, the Dodgers will receive their $8 billion payment. Perhaps they really aren’t hurting one bit. Today.
Ice Cube spoke for me back in the day when he rapped about people living in depressed, violent neighborhoods, and he speaks for me again today when he warns the Dodgers that their disappearance from television is hurting the team by angering and alienating fans, which will lead to an absence of home-grown fans by the time that ridiculous TV contract is done.
Magic is telling us to sit back and trust that everything will work itself out. Cube is ringing the alarm bell and swinging his foot. Who’s camp are you in?