As another baseball season begins, it's another year without Vin Scully for most of the L.A. TV market. The geniuses at Time Warner Cable, who paid $8.35 billion for the rights to Dodgers games, have been unable to resell those rights to DirecTV and other providers.
Someday this will make for a good Harvard Business School case study on how not to run a sports franchise. In truth, it probably would take a team of organizational psychologists to comprehend the mixture of fear, arrogance and incompetence that created this situation.
But until then, there is something that fans who are blacked out can do to watch the games. As we have for three years running, L.A. Weekly presents this guide as an act of public service.
Step 1. Make sure that you can stream content on your TV.
Most TVs nowadays seem to come with Internet connectivity, so you can sign up for Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime or whatever. If you don't have one of these TVs, you can get a Roku or Chromecast or Apple TV, or use an XBox or Playstation, in order to hook up to the Internet.
Step 2. Sign up for MLB.tv.
This is Major League Baseball's streaming package, now offered at the rate of $109.99 per season. This gives you access to every out-of-market game. Now, we can already hear you complaining about the price, because we've heard it before. All we can say is that if you're a baseball fan, this is a very reasonable price for six months of entertainment. It's also cheaper than it used to be. If you really, really can't afford it, cancel your cable. What do you need that for?
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Oh, but wait. Did we say "out-of-market"? Yes, that's right. Dodgers games (and Angels games) are blacked out on this service. (You can watch them 90 minutes after they're over, but nobody wants to do that.) So that brings us to...
Step 3. Sign up for a VPN or DNS server.
This year, in honor of Vin Scully, we're calling it "VPN for Vin." A VPN or DNS server will allow you to bypass the location-based restrictions on MLB.tv. We've used a couple of these personally, and we prefer Unlocator. It just seems to work without hassles. It costs $5 per month, or $27.50 for six months. Follow the instructions on the site and you shouldn't have any troubles. Voila, you're done.
Should you feel guilty about disguising your location to access Dodgers games? That's between you and your conscience. But ask yourself this: Do Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers' ownership feel guilty about preventing most of Southern California from watching Vin Scully's last season? They do not. So decide which is the greater crime, and then act accordingly.