They have been rookies collectively. Fernando Valenzuela and Fred Roggin every made their Los Angeles debut in September of 1980.
Valenzuela threw his final pitch for the Dodgers 33 years in the past. After a profession of protecting the likes of Valenzuela, Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky and Al Davis for Channel 4, Roggin is hanging up his microphone. His final day of him as a sports activities anchor there may be Thursday.
It is his selection, he says. He’ll nonetheless seem on his AM 570 radio present from him. He’ll discover alternatives in tv manufacturing, whether or not internet hosting reveals or inventing them for others. However, after greater than 42 years as a neighborhood sports activities man, he is able to throw his final pitch from the anchor desk.
“I noticed goals I did not know I had,” stated Roggin, 65. “I have been the luckiest and most blessed man on this planet.”
No farewell to Roggin can be correct with out an acknowledgment of the numerous function he performed in revitalizing the nightly native sportscast right here and elsewhere.
Sports activities was once a critical factor, narrated by serious-faced folks.
Roggin was not certainly one of them. A 1989 Occasions story on a brand new and lighter wave of sportscasters centered on Roggin and carried this headline: “Ship Within the Clowns.”
Because the Channel 4 sports activities man, Roggin carried on the legacy of such distinguished alumni as Bryant Gumbel, Ross Porter and Stu Nahan. The station closely promoted Roggin along with his personal tag line: “Fred’ll present it to you!”
“I did say… that in an earthquake your probabilities have been 1 in 3 of being crushed by a Fred Roggin billboard,” Keith Olbermann stated in that 1989 story.
Olbermann was the Channel 2 sports activities man then, earlier than he exploded right into a family title at ESPN. Roggin stayed in LA, realizing over time that it might not matter if Fred might present it to you in the event you already had seen it.
With apologies to older readers, a historical past lesson for youthful readers: For a time, you needed to look ahead to the 11 pm information to see Dodgers and Lakers highlights, and Fred might present them to you first. Then ESPN got here alongside, and Fred nonetheless might present them to you, however hours after ESPN might. Then got here the Web, and the smartphone, and you may see no matter highlights you need, everytime you need.
“If we simply sit there and inform folks what they already know,” Roggin stated, “there is no such thing as a cause for them to observe us.”
That’s not simply a difficulty for Channel 4, or for some other tv station. That’s an pressing dilemma for any media outlet, together with this one.
For some followers, the ultimate rating remains to be information at 11 pm, or within the morning paper. Not everybody seems to be at a display at evening. However, for individuals who do, how do you appeal to viewers or readers?
Roggin kind of ceded the hard-core sports activities viewers to ESPN and centered on everybody else, with “Corridor of Disgrace” blooper reels and “Roggin’s Heroes” segments, the “Going Roggin” sports-talk-on-TV present, and “ The Problem” as a recreation present after the sport.
And, on Friday evening, even in a market of 20 million folks, he featured highschool soccer.
“I all the time believed that it was a degree the place we might carry our flag,” he stated. “Whenever you decide up the LA Occasions, or test it out on-line, the lead story isn’t a couple of highschool child or a highschool recreation.”
On some days, it’s. The Occasions has dedicated to the dynamic duo of Eric Sondheimer and Luca Evans on excessive faculties as a result of The Occasions sees, as Roggin did, an opportunity to domesticate a brand new viewers.
It’d work. It may not.
That, actually, was the essence of Roggin. Not the whole lot he tried labored, however he tried. On this period, the place groups and leagues themselves supply scores and highlights and interviews, should not a neighborhood sports activities report supply one thing completely different?
“That is not how native sports activities is approached across the nation,” Roggin stated. “It is scores and highlights. With all due respect to everybody that does it — and does such an impressive job — it simply does not carry the relevance it used to.
“That’s the reason you see native sportscasts dying.”
There’ll nonetheless be native sportscasts in Los Angeles, on Channel 4 and past. After Thursday, nevertheless, they may not air dwell from Mr. Roggin’s Neighborhood.