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Dodgers Network Takes First Swing on Feb. 25

SportsNet LA, the new local TV home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will throw out its first pitch on Feb. 25.

The RSN, which officially announced some of its programming plans and on-air talent, will carry more than 150 of the club’s games during the 2014 season and supplement the game action with behind-the-scenes looks and in-depth access into the Dodger organization. SportsNet LA, which is owned by the Dodgers through American Media Productions, LLC, will televise classic games, live studio shows and many other original shows, but it did not state how it will open.  The team lost to the Saint Louis Cardinals in the 2013 National League Championship Series

The RSN’s on-air talent team comprises Orel Hershiser, Nomar Garciaparra, Charley Steiner, Jerry Hairston, Alanna Rizzo and John Hartung, as well as the legendary Vin Scully, who will call Dodgers games for an unprecedented 65th season. Scully will work on the team’s home games, as well as its road contests in California and Arizona.

Time Warner Cable is SportsNet LA’s charter distributor and will offer it to its customers throughout Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii. The MSO, which owns a pair of RSNs centering around the Los Angeles Lakers, is responsible for securing affiliate pacts for the Dodgers service and will foot the monthly subscriber fee bill should it not be able to secure deals with other distributors in the team’s TV territory.  SportsNet LA is expected to seek a $5 monthly subscriber fee.

Los Angeles Times reports that the RSN will cover all of the team’s exhibition games, a schedule that would make its initial Cactus League telecast on Feb. 26, when the team plays the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Steiner, who has been the Dodgers radio voice for the past nine seasons, and Hershiser -- the right-hander who won a Cy Young Award and led LA to the 1988 World Series championship and joins the RSN from ESPN, where his work included a stint in its Sunday Night Baseball booth -- will call all Dodger games that Scully does not.

Garciaparra and Hairston will contribute to SportsNet LA’s pre- and post-game coverage, both live from the stadium and from the SportsNet LA studio. Garciaparra, originally from Los Angeles, spent three seasons with the Dodgers during his 14-year MLB career, which included six All-Star appearances, two AL batting titles and the Rookie of the Year accolades. He joins SportsNet LA from ESPN, where he spent four years contributing to its baseball shows, including Baseball Tonight and Wednesday Night Baseball. Garciaparra will also call Dodger road games on the radio alongside Rick Monday.

Hairston retired at the end of last season after a 16-year MLB career, including two seasons with the Dodgers. Hairston has previously worked for ESPN, appearing on Baseball Tonight, and MLB Network, where he appeared on MLB Tonight, Hot Stove and other programs.

Rizzo will serve as SportsNet LA’s in-game reporter for games called by Steiner and Hershiser and will also host the pre- and post-game shows from the stadium. Rizzo spent the past two seasons at MLB Network hosting Intentional Talk and Quick Pitch and also previously worked at Root Sports Rocky Mountain.

Hartung will serve as a shost for SportsNet LA, anchoring the network’s live studio shows. He joins the network from KABC-TV in Los Angeles, where he spent the past 11 years as a sports and news anchor.

“We’re so excited to launch SportsNet LA and give Dodger fans all of the in-depth coverage and programming that they have been asking for for years,” said Stan Kasten, president and CEO of the Dodgers. “Building off of this past season’s momentum, we have so much planned for the 2014 season and beyond. We can’t wait to share the excitement with our fans through SportsNet LA and showcase all that this great franchise has to offer.”