They have been rookies collectively. Fernando Valenzuela and Fred Roggin every made his Los Angeles debut in September of 1980.
Valenzuela threw his final pitch for the Dodgers 33 years in the past. After a profession of overlaying the likes of Valenzuela, Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky and Al Davis for Channel 4, Roggin is hanging up his microphone. His final day as a sports activities anchor there may be Thursday.
It’s his selection, he says. He’ll nonetheless seem on his AM 570 radio present. He’ll discover alternatives in tv manufacturing, whether or not internet hosting exhibits or inventing them for others. However, after greater than 42 years as an area sports activities man, he is able to throw his final pitch from the anchor desk.
“I spotted desires I didn’t know I had,” stated Roggin, 65. “I’ve been the luckiest and most blessed man on this planet.”
No farewell to Roggin could 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 severe factor, narrated by serious-faced individuals.
Roggin was not one among them. A 1989 Instances story on a brand new and lighter wave of sportscasters targeted 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 L.A., realizing through the years that it will not matter if Fred might present it to you when you already had seen it.
With apologies to older readers, a historical past lesson for youthful readers: For a time, you needed to await the 11 p.m. 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 could possibly see no matter highlights you need, everytime you need.
“If we simply sit there and inform individuals what they already know,” Roggin stated, “there isn’t any purpose for them to observe us.”
That’s not simply a problem for Channel 4, or for another tv station. That’s an pressing dilemma for any media outlet, together with this one.
For some followers, the ultimate rating continues to be information at 11 p.m., or within the morning paper. Not everybody seems at a display screen at night time. 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 targeted 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 night time, even in a market of 20 million individuals, he featured highschool soccer.
“I at all times believed that was a degree the place we might carry our flag,” he stated. “While you decide up the L.A. Instances, or test it out on-line, the lead story shouldn’t be a few highschool child or a highschool recreation.”
On some days, it’s. The Instances has dedicated to the dynamic duo of Eric Sondheimer and Luca Evans on excessive colleges as a result of The Instances 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 every little thing he tried labored, however he tried. On this period, the place groups and leagues themselves supply scores and highlights and interviews, shouldn’t an area sports activities report supply one thing completely different?
“That’s not how native sports activities is approached across the nation,” Roggin stated. “It’s scores and highlights. With all due respect to everybody that does it — and does such an impressive job — it simply doesn’t carry the relevance it used to.
“That’s the reason you see native sportscasts dying.”
There nonetheless might be native sportscasts in Los Angeles, on Channel 4 and past. After Thursday, nevertheless, they now not will air stay from Mr. Roggin’s Neighborhood.