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Dodgers TV broadcasts past and present

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With a little more than six weeks before the Dodgers play their first spring training game of 2015, and 11 weeks before opening day, we are nowhere closer to the team being televised for the remaining roughly two-thirds of the greater Los Angeles area.

As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wrote on Friday, a pair of media mergers has pushed negotiations to carry SportsNet LA to the back burner:

The two corporate consolidations — Comcast-TWC and AT&T-DirecTV — were expected to be completed during the first quarter of this year. But both mergers have been delayed by a host of issues in Washington — none related to baseball.

With the companies focusing on their mergers, there have been no negotiations to widen the reach of SportsNet LA in Southern California, according to people close to the companies.

No new negotiations are scheduled.

But while we wait, I was searching through some old media guides. This is not news to many of you, but things used to be very different.

In 1973, the KTTV televised 19 total Dodgers games - every Sunday road game, plus all road games in San Francisco.

More surprising to me was that in 1973, the regular weekday starting time for a home game at Dodger Stadium was 8 p.m., with 52 of 54 regular season weekday home dates starting at that time. Then again, with an average game time of 2 hours, 26 minutes in 1973, the Dodgers home games would end at roughly 10:26 p.m. on average, just two minutes later than in 2014, with a normal 7:10 p.m. start time and average game time of three hours, 14 minutes.


1973 Dodgers schedule (click on picture for larger view)

By 1977, KTTV televised 22 games, all on the road. Every Sunday road game was televised, plus various games around the National League.

In 1980, the count was up to 24 games, again all on the road, with every Sunday road game on TV.

In 1982 the number ballooned to 46 road games televised by KTTV, including every Sunday road game and every Saturday road game but one.

In 1984 the Dodgers televised 45 road games on KTTV.

1985 saw 46 road games on KTTV, but also added 20 home games on pay-per-view on DodgerVision, shown locally on what was known as SelecTV and ON-TV. The DodgerVision contests cost $6 per game, or $84 in advance for all 20 games.

Eddie Doucette called play-by-play on the pay-per-view games, with Geoff Witcher filling in at times. Al Downing was an analyst, soon joined by recently retired outfielder Rick Monday, who began his broadcast career on DodgerVision in 1985. Larry Stewart of the Los Angeles Times previewed Monday's spring broadcasting debut in March 1985:

The broadcast booth may be Monday's best position, what with his baritone voice, glibness and smooth delivery.

Monday isn't sure. "Just because the experts say you'll be good at something doesn't necessarily mean you will be," he said before departing for Vero Beach, Fla., this week. "I'll just jump right in and either sink or swim."

Monday worked games for DodgerVision for three years, then joined the Dodgers regular broadcast crew in 1993, where he has remained ever since.