Daily Distractions: Why the Dodgers are the team everyone in baseball loves to love.

Guggenheim Baseball Management

The Dodgers’ ownership team of Guggenheim Baseball Management, including Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, Mark Walter and Magic Johnson (left to right) helped raised the bar for television contracts across baseball.

On Friday, it was reported that the Philadelphia Phillies had struck a $2.5 billion television-rights deal with Comcast, and suddenly that four-year, $26 million contract for Carlos Ruiz didn’t seem so crippling.

In December, the Seattle Mariners signed Robinson Cano for $240 million — eight months after the team invested in its own cable broadcast partner, Root Sports Northwest.

Now flash back to 2012. The Dodgers reportedly had an offer from Fox in the range of $6 to $7 billion total to remain on Prime Ticket, then spurned their longtime regional-rights partner to form a joint venture with Time Warner. Estimates on the amount the Dodgers will receive from the partnership range into the stratosphere of $8 billion.

History may judge this transaction as a tipping point for Regional Sports Network contracts, especially since not everyone is happy about the possible repercussions for their cable bills. (That case is still active, by the way.) But baseball industry folks haven’t complained one bit since the Dodgers inked their massive TV contract, from the small market of Tampa Bay to just down the freeway in Los Angeles of Anaheim. The Dodgers’ deal raised the value of 29 teams’ regional TV rights, offering the hope of upward payroll mobility everywhere.

Remember this the next time your friends in the Bay Area claim the Dodgers are the team everyone loves to hate.

Forbes’ Maury Brown just did a tremendous Q&A on the topic of RSNs.

Some bullet points to tide you through the weekend:

Bill James lives in a Kansas house with a giant wood statue of a baseball player.

SBNation.com offers a good explanation of why the mediocre “innings-eating pitcher” is so overrated.

• Which Dodger would be the first to be cut from the 40-man roster?

• This analysis from Yahoo! Sports of how draft-pick compensation is squeezing free agents out of jobs makes me less critical of the draft-pick compensation end of the equation than the one-year qualifying offer. If 22 players received qualifying offers, and none of them accepted, how flawed is the concept of a one-size-fits-all qualifying offer to begin with?

• From SI.com: The 1937 Hall of Fame class was the best ever.

• Also from SI.com, how the Dodgers gave baseball its fourth and fifth-best storylines of 2013.

• Funny, this suggestion of a New Year’s resolution for the Dodgers didn’t even make my top five yesterday.

• From FoxSports.com: Don’t count the Arizona Diamondbacks out of the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes.

• “Yearning” by Black Van is a pretty solid house track:

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