The new Los Angeles Dodgers RSN backed by Time Warner Cable is looking to be a powerful outfit. After rumors they were ready to pinch ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst Orel Hershiser comes a report from the Los Angeles Times that the network has already signed former Red Sox and Dodgers infielder Nomar Garciaparra from Bristol:
"Nomar Garciaparra has been hired as a new commentator by the Dodgers, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Garciaparra, who was born in Whittier and went to Bellflower St. John Bosco High School, spent three seasons playing for the Dodgers and has been an ESPN analyst for the last four years.
Garciaparra is expected to do pre- and post-game commentary and be utilized on both the television and radio broadcasts. Roles are still being defined.
The Dodgers are also pursuing ex-Dodger Orel Hershiser to be an announcer and the future broadcasting face of the team, according to USA Today. Hershiser is also currently with ESPN, though is contract will soon expire."
Garciaparra joined ESPN in 2010 and had appeared on Baseball Tonight, SportsCenter, and as a game analyst periodically. This likely says more about the power and the money of the Dodgers network than it does ESPN, although it's rare to see someone move from Bristol to a regional network.
Given the fact that the Time Warner Dodgers network will have several billion dollars to splash around, they can afford to spend and spend big on talent. Nomar is certainly a big name acquisition who was certainly in the upper third of ESPN MLB analysts in terms of facetime at the network. The fact that Garciaparra is only going to serve in a studio capacity means the door is open to add more top flight announcers like Orel Hershiser.
Perhaps more than anything, this deal shows the rising power of regional sports networks and the millions and billions that are pouring into the industry at the local level.
[Los Angeles Times]