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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Wishing Well
2008-12-09 12:30
by Jon Weisman

What do Dodger fans want? Sports columnist and friend of Dodger Thoughts Jim Alexander of the Press-Entrerprise is planning a column in reaction to Jamie McCourt's much-dissected comments from a couple weeks back, and e-mailed to ask this site's readers for their thoughts in advance.

I'm looking for some feedback for a column I'm writing on what fans really want from the owners of their favorite teams, and whether they're getting it. (And yes, Jamie McCourt is the inspiration for this idea.)

I think I know, in general terms, what fans are looking for:

  • A decent facility (luxury boxes not necessary), with good access, plentiful parking and good sight lines.

  • Reasonable ticket and concession prices.

  • A team that they can be proud of, one that's capable of competing for a championship while not featuring a roster of thugs or bad guys. (Definition of "bad guys," of course, often depends on who's doing the defining.)

    Am I accurate? Are there other things you want from your owner that I haven't thought of? And how close has your ownership come to providing them?

    Thanks in advance.

    My reaction? I think Alexander's more or less on target, although one question is how one thing (reasonable ticket and concession prices) can affect another (a team we can be proud of). I'm actually not convinced that they need to affect each other, but certainly lowering prices would give owners the public relations cover to do less with the product on the field. Luxury suites have also helped with revenue in this day and age, although it will be interesting to see how filled they are next year in the current economy.

    Also, I would address the thugs in the stands before I worried about the thugs on the roster. I would mention ballpark security in the first bullet point, but I don't think that player thugs are such an ongoing issue that they need to be singled out for concern.

    In a way, if you really want to simplify things, you could summarize your wish list in these seven words: "Respect for the fan on every level."

    * * *

    Baseball Prospectus intern and fellow Hoya Ben Lindbergh explores one of my favorite topics today: relief pitcher volatility. He links to my 2006 article ("You need good relief, but you sure can't plan for it") in passing as he searches for potential reliever bargains for 2009.

    * * *

    The Dodgers' schedule for their Spring Training debut in Arizona is official, the team announced today. They open at Mesa against the Cubs on February 25, and their home opener is March 1 against their bunkmates, the White Sox.

    The ballpark, which has a capacity of 13,000, features ticket prices beginning as low as $8, with 88 percent of the ticket prices at $30 or less and 44 percent of all tickets available for $20 or less. There are a limited number of Home Plate Club season seats still on sale. Fans interested in purchasing season tickets should visit or call (323) 224-1471. ...

    Nine of the Dodgers' 17 contests at Camelback Ranch fall on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. ... The schedule also features a March 12 home exhibition game against an Asian Qualifier for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

    * * *

    Update: Tony Jackson of the Daily News has quotes from Joe Torre regarding Joe Beimel and Brad Penny:

    On Beimel: "You make a decision as to what you want to do. We just felt Joe was inconsistent. He took the ball, whether good or bad, and went out there on a regular basis. I love Joe, but he wasn't as good against left-handed hitters as he had been in the past."

    On Penny: "I thought it was best that he go out there on his own. He was uncomfortable, and I know he had some physical issues. We tried to use him out of the bullpen, but I think he was a little hesitant about doing that. Maybe the fact he was becoming a free agent had something to do with that."

    Lefties had a .641 OPS against Beimel in 2008, compared to .490 in 2007 and .621 in 2006. More evidence of reliever volatility. Beimel didn't have a bad year, but he's probably not worth the dollars he thinks he deserves.

    * * *

    Update 2: Farewell, Robert Prosky: The Judge and Sgt. Jablonski. Prosky passed away almost exactly 25 years after his Hill Street Blues predecessor, Michael Conrad.

  • Comments (254)
    Show/Hide Comments 1-50
    2008-12-09 14:38:46
    1.   The Trolley Dodger
    I want to feel like the team I'm cheering for, both players and management, care as much as I do.
    2008-12-09 14:39:39
    2.   Chris H
    I think, excepting for extreme circumstances, "thugs or bad guys" are a problem for sports writers and team staff. For the most part, I think fans are very willing to overlook the personal short comings of players who perform.
    2008-12-09 14:42:10
    3.   Disabled List
    1) I want a safe, pleasant experience when I go to the ballpark.

    2) I want a productive player development system and sound free-agent signings.

    3) I want ownership and management to stop embarrassing the team and its fans.

    As a Dodger fan, I have recieved only 2.5 of these things since Frank McCourt bought the team (our player development system seems to be pretty good).

    2008-12-09 14:42:24
    4.   trainwreck
    Just win, baby!
    2008-12-09 14:43:05
    5.   cargill06
    Livan Hernandez is not a Red. I repeat Livan Hernandez IS NOT a Red.
    2008-12-09 14:43:19
    6.   Marty
    I want the Hanson Brothers
    2008-12-09 14:44:16
    7.   Marty
    5 He is from Cuba.
    2008-12-09 14:44:49
    8.   KG16
    2 - thugs and bad guys are a problem on the field and off. it all comes down to messaging, as far as i'm concerned. by paying big money and playing a thug, you tell the fans that it's ok to be a thug, which then creates the problem of drunken fools threatening a girl in the cheap seats because she's wearing the visiting team's colors.
    2008-12-09 14:45:18
    9.   KG16
    7 - but he left, which should indicate that he is not Red.
    2008-12-09 14:45:43
    10.   Eric Stephen
    Aside from more Journey, the only thing I would add to Alexander's suggestions is the owner's ability to recognize talent (players or personnel). This probably qualifies under "competing for a championship," but I would even be OK with a few down years once in a while if they came with a clear plan in place.

    As a fan, I want confidence in my owner that they want to win; I don't want them to just be in it for the tax write-off ("You don't even know what that means, do you?").

    I do like what the McCourts have done to improve the stadium thus far. Also, even though the parking is $15, it seems the congestion has been lessened and there is a better flow in and out of the stadium now (in my experiences; I will defer to season ticket holders or regulars on this one).

    2008-12-09 14:46:04
    11.   Marty
    I've always had my suspicions he was a spy.
    2008-12-09 14:46:28
    12.   underdog
    5 - Yep, seems the gun was jumped on that one. However, Ramon Hernandez does appear to be a Red, in a trade with the Orioles. (Assuming that one is accurate.)

    Oh and I agree with DL above.
    I'm more concerned with Thugs in the stands than Thugs on the field, the latter of which in general doesn't seem to be a problem for the Dodgers these days while the former is.

    2008-12-09 14:46:45
    13.   Tripon
    K-Rod is a met.

    $37 million for 3 years.

    2008-12-09 14:48:23
    14.   Chris H
    8 I don't think that you're wrong, but I do think you're in the minority.
    2008-12-09 14:49:26
    15.   Tripon
    Ramon Hernandez is traded to the Reds for Ryan Freel and two prospects. Brandon Waring, and Justin Turner. The O's will also send a million dollars to the Reds to help offset Hernadez's contract.

    2008-12-09 14:51:00
    16.   Jon Weisman
    10 - I agree with your first paragraph except for the opening four words.

    I think the flow inside the stadium is better, but the congestion outside the stadium is worse.

    2008-12-09 14:51:19
    17.   trainwreck
    That deserves a Germans bomb Pearl Harbor post.
    2008-12-09 14:51:40
    18.   Jon Weisman
    8 - There were no thugs on the 2008 Dodgers, so what accounts for the bad behavior in the stands this year?
    2008-12-09 14:51:41
    19.   dzzrtRatt
    All of the above, plus:

    I want an ownership willing to go rogue from MLB when it comes to signing bonuses for draft choices, because the fans are more important than Bud Selig's arbitrary and unenforced rules.

    I want a team whose manager is specifically instructed never to consider salaries when allocating playing time.

    I want a team whose GM will recognize when a prime prospect is ready for major-league ball, and who will only block his progress if he manages to land a big star in his prime, not merely a veteran who's "been there." This applies to the entire team, including the bench.

    I want food service employees who act as if they recognize that the customer wants to get back to the game she/he paid for as soon as possible, and not like they took this job because working at the post office was too intense.

    2008-12-09 14:53:32
    20.   Xeifrank
    I would only have two bullet items.
    1) A winning team
    2) All home/away games televised.

    I rarely go to games and with all the drunkeness, cussing and rowdy behaviour, I would never take my family to a game at Dodger stadium. Never! I just watch at home and hope they win. Parking is free in my driveway and the fridge is fully stocked.
    vr, Xei

    2008-12-09 14:55:24
    21.   CajunDodger
    What I want:

    Everything mentioned in the column plus:

    Stop raising ticket/parking/concession prices; I don't want to pay more for your "enhanced fan experiences".

    2008-12-09 14:55:36
    22.   trainwreck
    So you don't want the Dodgers? ; )
    2008-12-09 14:59:37
    23.   scareduck
    1) A good, preferably great team on the field.

    2) A pleasant experience at the park. This means, to quote Andy Partridge, "no thugs in our house", among other things. Dodger security seems to take the ironic view implicit in that lyric quite literally:

    3) Reasonably priced refreshments. Yes, we get it, we don't have any options, but the annual price hikes on EVERYTHING are getting really tiresome.

    4) Parking. Whether it's getting in and out of the park or the annual increases, it's just irritating. Stop pretending that because you've gotten Dodger fans to the gates that people stop their internal clocks as to the ease of getting to or from a game.

    5) Stop the lying. Dodger ownership has been remarkably mendacious since the McCourts have taken over. Whether it's the latest fiasco over the disingenuous "kids-or-Manny" flap (one which Jamie McCourt elliptically claimed to have been misquoted without proof), refusal to respond to reports about handicapped patrons being forcibly escorted away from actual handicapped stalls, or the PR-driven firing of subordinates, the McCourts don't elicit a lot of trust. That started even before they "bought" the club (requiring a loan from the seller, News Corp., was a big red flag), but there have been a lot of subsequent events to steadily leach trust out of their relationship with their fans. The second-half refusal to take on even a smidgen of payroll, and absurdly high prices at their new spring training facility (which they had to share with another team!), both make one suspicious that the Dodgers are in serious financial trouble.

    2008-12-09 15:07:50
    24.   Xeifrank
    OT, looks like we are going to get pelted with a pretty decent winter storm Sun-Tue, with decent rain and low snow levels. Perhaps the McCourts should put that ski jump back into the RF stands.
    vr, Xei
    2008-12-09 15:08:25
    25.   KG16
    18 - residue? lax enforcement of decorum rules.
    2008-12-09 15:09:01
    26.   Humma Kavula
    A few months back, someone here posted the fact that when you call the "issue in the stands" hotline, you get a recording.

    That person posited that this little nugget reveals all you need to know about the team under the current era: that is, the team is interested in the SHOW of good business and PR without actually backing it up.

    "Respect for the fan on every level" has it exactly right.

    2008-12-09 15:09:48
    27.   CajunDodger
    Add that last one to mine in 21 . The food service is slow, uninterested, and generally bad/cranky. Despite offseason "improvements" I waited in line twice this year longer than two innings for garlic fries with fewer than 10 people in front of me.
    2008-12-09 15:10:16
    28.   ucladodger
    That ESPN Hot Stove Report thing on the dodgers was pretty hilarious. Right after discussing the Casey Blake deal they put up our projected lineup without Manny or Furcal. We had a dude named Adam Ethier playing right and Dewitt was still at third, which they apparently were too lazy to catch or even mention. The Kruk went on about how we need to resign everybody with total disregard for our lack of finances. Funny stuff.

    One really sobering thought was when Kirkjian or Gammons (not sure) said guys like Adam Dunn, Bradley, Burrell will be offered contracts of around $8-10 mil a year. To think we will be paying Juan Pierre the same amount as those guys is sickening.

    2008-12-09 15:11:57
    29.   MC Safety
    -I want Frank McCourt to authorize Ned Coletti to go after CC.

    -I want Frank McCourt to lock up The Bison to a fifteen year deal.

    -I want our owner to ban acquisitions involving washed up ex Giants.

    2008-12-09 15:14:27
    30.   trainwreck
    A lot of players are going to regret not taking arbitration. With a down market, seems like they would have gotten a lot more money through that process.
    2008-12-09 15:19:39
    31.   scareduck
    And also let me add to the calls to fix the service in the food service. It's just unbelievably bad.
    2008-12-09 15:20:56
    32.   silverwidow
    I'm hearing Prince Fielder for JJ Putz rumors.
    2008-12-09 15:23:17
    33.   mwhite06
    10 "But they do Eric, and they're the ones writing it off."
    2008-12-09 15:23:56
    34.   trainwreck
    Wow, if the Brewers are that desperate we should start talking to them.
    2008-12-09 15:26:33
    35.   silverwidow
    34 Broxton for Hardy?
    2008-12-09 15:28:33
    36.   bferb
    I would like an owner who is rich enough to care more about winning than the yearly NOI of the team
    2008-12-09 15:28:39
    37.   cargill06
    Heyman says the Yankees are negotiating with Boras about a four-year deal for more than $65_MM_.

    What does the MM stand for?

    2008-12-09 15:29:41
    38.   trainwreck
    That is what I was thinking and it is definitely something I would take a long look at.
    2008-12-09 15:31:17
    39.   Tripon
    34 I get the feeling that if we do a Loney for Fielder swap, that Loney would go nuts with the Brewers, and Fielder will suddenly go into a prolonged slump.

    Its a bad feeling, and I rather not do the swap.

    2008-12-09 15:31:38
    40.   cargill06
    35 Broxton for Hardy? I'd think about that for about 30 seconds. I would have to believe Hardy is way more valuable than Broxton.
    2008-12-09 15:31:53
    41.   SG6
    37 - Million. Each M represents a thousand or three zeros.
    2008-12-09 15:32:01
    42.   Eric Stephen
    Negotiating with Boras about whom? Manny? Lowe? Burnett?
    2008-12-09 15:32:52
    43.   cargill06
    42 Oh sorry, that was about Lowe. I just wanted the MM question answered.
    2008-12-09 15:33:29
    44.   underdog
    39 Forget Fielder, we want Hardy. Keep Loney. Give them a reliever, since they're obviously desperate on that front. Or what the others just said.
    2008-12-09 15:34:24
    45.   Eric Stephen
    If the choice if Loney or Fielder, I give Weird Game James a hearty handshake, tell him thanks for the grand slam, then I end with Jack Woltz's closing remarks to Mr. Tom Hagen.
    2008-12-09 15:35:10
    46.   Branch Rickey
    Maybe this is a good time to bring up a question I've been meaning to ask here...
    What, specifically, is the problem that so many have with Frank McCourt as the owner of the Dodgers? It seems he has spent money on the team, improved the ballpark, kept his comments mostly out of the papers (his wife admittedly has failed there), let his GM handle things (like the GM or not, I believe an owner should let his GM work), made the correct things priorities and done his best to achieve them. What's more, all the talk of him being broke seems to be total heresay that is totally unsupported by all evidence. My only issue is $15 parking which seems to me to be a mistake of both PR and economics. But what (and again- specifically) do you have against him? DzzrtRat, I've always respected your comments and I know you are particularly unhappy with McCourt... thoughts?
    2008-12-09 15:35:22
    47.   Ian Capilouto
    1. Lower beer prices. Angel Stadium gives you two 12 ounce beers for 8 bucks. That blows away Dodger Stadium. Keep the Dodger dogs hot for the whole game. Don't sell me a cold rubbery hot dog. Make sure the condiments are always full and work well. Don't insult me with sub par service and astronomical prices. I love the Dodgers but I am not a fool.

    2. Field a good team but without thugs if possible. I would rather watch JP or Blake's mediocre play than a guy who insults my intelligence. Humility is a nice thing sometimes. I cannot root for people who I don't believe are decent human beings. It's an ethical thing that stats won't sway ever. Bring in a guy like Bradley again, I won't come to the ball park.

    3. Try and put together a more offensive ball club. I went to 8 games last year where the Dodgers went 1-7 and scored about 10 runs in that span. I am tired of my uncle and I schlepping out to the ball park to watch the Dodgers lose 3-1 or 4-2. This last request is a tough one to fulfill but so is life. Get on it McCourts.

    Thanks for letting me air this because I have been genuinely bothered by the way my favorite team is being run service wise. If the McCourts see any of this, that I will feel satisfied.

    2008-12-09 15:37:27
    48.   arborial
    37 it stands for MaMillion, it is amount of money slightly less than a BaJillion.
    2008-12-09 15:42:29
    49.   Big Game
    I only have one wish:

    1) A commitment to field a championship caliber team each season.

    The Dodgers are near 4 million in attendance each year. The fans keep coming and keep spending in the face of yearly price increases. As a return on the fan's investment I expect that the Dodgers spare no expense or effort in putting forth the best team in baseball.

    2008-12-09 15:42:45
    50.   Jon Weisman
    46 - I think those are good points. I do find his handling of personnel in the initial years to have been reprehensible and hypocritical, particularly in how he abdicated responsibility for so much that went wrong. I do think that there are other cost issues besides the parking. In general, I've disagreed with some of his priorities. But he has better than I expected.
    Show/Hide Comments 51-100
    2008-12-09 15:43:32
    51.   silverwidow
    Broxton for Hardy def favors us.

    How about Broxton AND Kuo?

    2008-12-09 15:43:51
    52.   Jon Weisman
    Farewell, Robert Prosky
    2008-12-09 15:44:17
    53.   LAT
    Lure Shawn Green out of retirement.
    2008-12-09 15:44:37
    54.   trainwreck
    Well, looks like someone needs to get Doug Melvin on the phone. We got everything worked out for him. : )
    2008-12-09 15:44:47
    55.   Tripon
    The Grizzlies are reportedly close to trading third-string point guard Javaris Crittenton to the Wizards in exchange for a first-round pick.

    Are former Lakers old friends?

    2008-12-09 15:44:54
    56.   underdog
    46 I sometimes wonder that, too. I'll admit to feeling disgruntled by some of their PR-ness overshadowing substance on some matters, but all I have to do is think back to the Fox Years and cut him some slack. I really do think he wants to field the best team and make the stadium better; I have sometimes disagreed with him on how to best go about that. But in general I haven't had that many beefs with him. Not that you were asking me. :-)
    2008-12-09 15:44:54
    57.   bluegold
    I want my 15-year-old son to witness the Dodgers winning a world series before he goes to his grave. I figure it is too late for me.
    2008-12-09 15:44:57
    58.   scareduck
    37 , 41 - "M" in that context is an anachronism. The Brits have long since converted to American usage (M=1,000,000) rather than Roman (M=1,000).

    I find it interesting that M works for dollars, but there appears to be a dispute about what to use for billions. The SI prefix for billions is G (= giga), but the financial press inevitably uses B (= billion). Fortunately, everyone agrees again at trillions (tera, trillion, both use capital T).

    2008-12-09 15:46:12
    59.   Eric Stephen
    That's a shame. He's a classic "that guy" who has been in just about everything.
    2008-12-09 15:47:49
    60.   Branch Rickey
    50 Yes, I agree that his front office personnel decisions were indeed reprehensible. They fired EVERYBODY. But most fans don't know or care about that. To the question of your post, I think that he has worked towards all of the things I care about as a fan: 1) the team on the field 2) the fan experience at the game and on TV.
    In the wake of the Fox ownership, he is like a good president coming after a bad one (hypothetically speaking).
    2008-12-09 15:47:58
    61.   scareduck
    46 - see 23 . Firing Paul DePodesta went a long way toward proving the McCourts were PR first and results second. The shabby way that Dan Evans was shown the door was also a big tipoff that they lacked class or dignity.
    2008-12-09 15:49:11
    62.   Branch Rickey
    56 I'm asking anybody/everybody as I really am curious! =)
    2008-12-09 15:50:28
    63.   trainwreck
    So Loney, Broxton, and Hu or DeJesus for Prince and Hardy. : )
    2008-12-09 15:51:37
    64.   Harold M Johnson
    I think McCourt is learning on the job. What we don't know yet is if he's learning the right lessons. The main problem seems to be the initial problem with his ownership candidacy-- lack of liquid capital, which may or may not turn into a largerr issue.
    2008-12-09 15:52:09
    65.   Jon Weisman
    Updates to this post up top.
    2008-12-09 15:53:09
    66.   Tripon
    56 46 I'd argue that the McCourts aren't trying to compare themselves with FOX's ownership of the team. They're comparing themselves to the O'Malley era. And in that sense, they're coming up short.
    2008-12-09 15:54:37
    67.   oshea2002
    63 - apparently Morrell Presley remains committed to USC, but is "interested in UCLA." We'll see.
    2008-12-09 15:55:04
    68.   Kevin Lewis

    I haven't really had problems with McCourt. I have responded to the increase in parking and food by parking outside and bringing in my own food.

    I would like better security, but as far as the player assessment, I look to Ned.

    2008-12-09 15:56:22
    69.   Branch Rickey
    66 A) Isn't that a bit like comparing some new broadcaster to Vin Scully? B) Specifically, how so? Remember, O'Malley was an owner during very different times in baseball and in fact, that's exactly why he left. He could no longer be the type of owner he wanted to be in the present day climate that included free agency and corporate ownership.
    2008-12-09 15:56:59
    70.   trainwreck
    There were rumors he committed to UCLA on his trip. Let us just have this one, you already got Ayles.
    2008-12-09 15:58:16
    71.   Bulldog1988
    I love my boys in blue. Here are my ideas.

    1. Better prices on concession food, for the $40 I spend there I could have had a steak dinner with my husband rather than some hot dogs and soda.

    2. Lower the cost of parking. We started taking the shuttle to Dodgers stadium because that worked out to be better than paying for the parking. Of course now that we take the shuttle we also need to give ourselves two to three hours of time just to get to the stadium.

    3. Fan safety is a big one. I understand that we have rivals, but everyone should feel safe at the stadium to support whichever team they want. It can get brutal listening to people scream at someone wearing another teams colors. I remember learning sportsmanship in school and that meant respect for everyone on every team even if they weren't your team. Not to mention the shooting in the parking lot after a Giants/Dodgers game, that was just bad.

    4. I would like to see some better ticket prices. I used to love sitting on the field level and now I'm lucky if I can afford seats in the top deck or in the pavillions.

    That's all I can come up with. I like what the future looks like for the park, a place to come early and spend some time before the game. It should be family friendly and affordable for that same family to attend.

    2008-12-09 15:58:47
    72.   oshea2002
    70 - I bet he makes the switch, he'll never play over Ayles and has to know that.
    2008-12-09 16:01:03
    73.   bferb
    64 This is a major problem and everything real estate related that he owns (including Chavez Ravine) just took a massive 35% or more devaluation, there could be further blood in the McCourts water. The fact that the land around Chavez Ravine was the bulk of the collateral used to secure his refinancing of the debt to purchase the team, could pose major issues for him down the road.

    I for one, just dont get the sense that McCourt cares about winning first, and that is what I would wish for. If he did, I wouldnt think he would care so much about not paying relatively small shares of players' contracts (i.e. casey blake) and trading more prospects instead.

    2008-12-09 16:01:54
    74.   Ian Capilouto
    One more thing. Bring back Ross Porter in some capacity. That was reprehensible how they treated him.
    2008-12-09 16:03:18
    75.   trainwreck
    Do you think you guys will pull Teo away from BYU?
    2008-12-09 16:04:59
    76.   Indiana Jon
    71 Am I the only one here who would rather have hot dogs, peanuts, etc. at the ballpark instead of a steak dinner?
    2008-12-09 16:09:25
    77.   mwhite06
    73 I heard it mentioned here once that McCourt in a few years will be able to recover on the broadcasting revenues which Fox currently enjoys. If this is the case, realistically all McCourt has to do is limp along for a few years, and wait for the windfall cash to come in. Moreover, the fact that the property around Chavez Ravine was used as collateral, and that property has decreased, would not hurt McCourt or the Dodgers unless McCourt needed to re-finance the debt during the period of the real estate slump. A 35% loss in real estate is non-cash until the property is liquidated, and shouldn't (in and of itself) affect the operating cash for the Dodgers--- unless the broader economy affects ticket prices, merchandise,etc. Even in that case, it would not be limited to just the Dodgers.
    2008-12-09 16:09:44
    78.   ToyCannon
    If the Dodgers turned into the Angels I'd probably be a happy camper. Great owner, great team, good young players, kids zone, better looking woman, tolerant fans, cool manager, volcano/fireworks, own the Yankees, and of course a screaming monkey. Throw in a kick butt World Championship against Bonds and they are just about the perfect team.
    2008-12-09 16:09:50
    79.   fanerman
    76 If I were going to a game, I'd prefer eating hot dogs and peanuts while watching the game than having a steak dinner before or after it. It's part of going to the game, for me.

    But I think Bulldog1988 is just saying that the price of hot dogs and peanuts is that high.

    2008-12-09 16:10:27
    80.   scareduck
    66 - thank you for mentioning that. If "The McCourts: better than Fox!" is your rallying cry, you've just set an AWFULLY low bar for success.
    2008-12-09 16:10:45
    81.   Branch Rickey
    64/73. I realize that he bought the Dodgers based on a loan that was collateralized with Boston property. But didn't that property already get sold? And one way or another, doesn't he have to show SOME sign of being hard up for money before we assume it to be so? Hasn't the payroll been consistently in the top 10? Hasn't he spent more on capital improvements in his time as owner than any other owner including O'Malley? Other than Simers calling him "the parking lot attendant" what makes anybody believe he's anything close to broke? If it his new Malibu beach houses?
    2008-12-09 16:11:32
    82.   ToyCannon
    He's been paying for those huge capitol improvements every year with something and I'm sure it wasn't his cash.
    2008-12-09 16:13:33
    83.   oshea2002
    75 - as of today? No. 60/40 BYU right now from what I've heard. We are gonna be thin at LB if we miss on him and Jarvis Jones.
    2008-12-09 16:13:57
    84.   Harold M Johnson
    81 It's not that he's "broke", it's that his assets are losing value at historically fast rates, he's not flush with cash, and he's leveraged to the hilt. He'll be fine as long as the revenue keeps flowing in... but if the cash spigot sputters, he'll struggle to pay the interest on his massive loans.
    2008-12-09 16:14:48
    85.   Jon Weisman
    McCourt bought the Dodgers in January 2004. Keep in mind that whatever decline the value of his acquisition took in the past 12-24 months or whatever, it soared in value beforehand. Factor in the uniqueness of the property, and I personally wouldn't be at all worried about the value of his real estate holdings.
    2008-12-09 16:15:30
    86.   bferb
    77 The 35%+ was more in regards to the rest of McCourt's portfolio which is probably killing his liquidity right now as 64 had mentioned. I felt that last year his lack of liquidity could already be felt by us fans and the organization with the way he proceeded with personnel from mid-season on.

    You are right about the land around the ballpark not mattering unless it needs to be refinanced, but without knowing the terms of the loan I figured it could pose major problems for him down the road.

    2008-12-09 16:16:33
    87.   scareduck
    81 , 84 - doesn't he have to show SOME sign of being hard up for money before we assume it to be so?

    Refusing to take on any contracts involving adding payroll past the break this year was a strong sign. So was the deceitful "baseball-fields-or-Manny" nonsense that Jamie McCourt blurted out.

    2008-12-09 16:16:45
    88.   Tripon
    6:05pm: Danny Knobler says the Halos remain a serious player for Sabathia and could trade a pitcher like Jered Weaver for a bat if they sign him.

    Isn't Weaver a 4/5th starter at this point of his career?

    2008-12-09 16:16:47
    89.   CajunDodger
    Out of curiosity, how do you know that?
    2008-12-09 16:17:59
    90.   bferb
    85 Institutional real estate holdings are worth less now than they were in 2004, for the most part.
    2008-12-09 16:18:14
    91.   ToyCannon
    I think anyone who bought a house in 2004 has seen that house fall back to the same level they paid for it. If they borrowed against the highs in 2006 they are what we call screwed.
    2008-12-09 16:18:53
    92.   Harold M Johnson
    85 Right, but that's part of the problem because unlike a large corporation or someone like Eli Broad, McCourt's wealth is, for all intents and purposes, the land on which his only significant cash-producing asset operates. So if he was forced into desperate times, he'd need to sell the land out from under the Dodgers and (probably) move the team. This is why many people had doubts about his legitimacy as an owner when his candidacy was announced.
    2008-12-09 16:19:35
    93.   Branch Rickey
    84. How do you know this?
    He did sell the boston property to Fox to pay off that loan
    I would agree that is biggest asset is now the Dodgers themselves but we have no idea what else he owns and he's done nothing but spend (both personally and professionally) like a guy who is just fine. Maybe he is close to tapped out but what evidence (even anecdotally) does anybody have that it might be so?
    2008-12-09 16:20:46
    94.   LogikReader

    First of all, Mark Cuban can swoop in and own the Dodgers any time!

    Secondly, the Angels are running the team much better than us, but I don't know if they're are the "ideal franchise." Unless people really enjoy watching the "Anaheim Juan Pierres", I think the offense could be much improved at the Big A.

    And who would want to listen to Phys and Hud for 3 hours every day? I can also do without a goofy monkey every 7th inning or so.

    And thundersticks.

    2008-12-09 16:20:54
    95.   mwhite06
    84 What evidence do you have that he's leveraged to the hilt? --I'm honestly not being sarcastic just curious-- Leverage is usually measured as a ratio of EBITDA to funded debt (generally speaking.) Even if we know what his debt is, we would have to know the other side of the ratio to make that assertion that he is levered to an unsustainable level. Also, being high in leverage and being flush with cash are not mutually exclusive. I've seen companies with leverage ratios in excess of 10:1, but sitting on piles of cash (since the ratio measures the P&L not the balance sheet.)
    2008-12-09 16:23:25
    96.   Branch Rickey
    I can't understand the comment that he "refused to take on payroll". So we should have paid Manny and Blake? What move did he not make due to financial reasons alone?
    2008-12-09 16:24:34
    97.   MC Safety
    46 McCourt interfered with the Kemp for Sabathia deal (and thank goodness he did). And didn't he also insist Santana be dealt to the Indians because we couldn't cover the rest of Blake's contract?

    The comment stating that McCourt has let Coletti operate freely doesn't seem to be true.

    2008-12-09 16:25:07
    98.   trainwreck
    We gave the Padres a good prospect so that they would pay Maddux's salary. Same thing with Indians.
    2008-12-09 16:25:11
    99.   Zak
    94 I'm sorry, but how many championships has Mark Cuban led the Mavs to? How is he a better owner than McCourt?
    2008-12-09 16:26:33
    100.   scareduck
    84 - his assets depreciating at a substantial clip has little or no bearing on his ability to support debt in the here-and-now, especially since we're really talking about two things: real estate loans, and the operating revenue for the Dodgers. It would be a real problem for anyone who had borrowed to support a margin account, say, and was long in some stock or commodities.
    Show/Hide Comments 101-150
    2008-12-09 16:27:02
    101.   Zak
    97 There is no evidence he insisted on Santana being traded. I'm more sure that Ng and White signed off on trading Santana than McCourt insisted that they trade Santana.
    2008-12-09 16:27:04
    102.   Jon Weisman
    91 - I think that's location dependent.

    87 - How is getting rid of Carlos Santana instead of shelling out an extra $5 million (which is a very small percent of his overall empire), or Jamie McCourt's quote, any kind of significant evidence that the McCourts are broke? It could just as easily indicate they're misers.

    The definition of being rich isn't how much you spend, it's how much you retain. I'm not saying the Santana move wasn't shortsighted, but it doesn't come close to being a smoking gun. For all we know, they anticipated the market meltdown and felt they needed to conserve cash for the long haul, and would rather $10 million in 2010 for a catcher than $5 million now to retain him.

    In 2008, they had what I believe to have been the highest payroll in Dodger history They decided not to go over it. How does that prove they're broke?

    2008-12-09 16:27:22
    103.   Eric Enders
    96 It's been documented that the Dodgers could have gotten Blake without trading away the #1 prospect in the system, Carlos Santana. McCourt (or Colletti) had a choice between (a) trading Santana and getting $$ from Cleveland for Blake, or (b) keeping Santana and paying Blake's salary themselves. Essentially, McCourt sold off the team's #1 prospect for cash. If that's not indicative of someone who's hard up for money, I don't know what is.
    2008-12-09 16:27:58
    104.   scareduck
    96 - ask yourself why Carlos Santana is now an Indian. That should suffice.
    2008-12-09 16:29:55
    105.   Zak
    People were wrong about how much money McCourt would spend on the Dodgers 3-4 years ago and so now, they still assume they know how much McCourt will spend on the Dodgers this year?

    Where does the 35% loss of assets number come from? Is that made up? I would bet that if sold the Dodgers and Chavez Ravine would fetch at least as much as what McCourt paid for it.

    2008-12-09 16:29:58
    106.   bferb
    93 95 Lets forget about pondering the McCourt's leverage for a second. His primary asset IS the Dodgers. Would anyone here really want a team owner whose primary asset is the team?! That in essence, means, that if you want to live a lavish lifestyle full of Malibu houses that you have to make a lot of $$$ off the team.

    I would rather have an owner who is rich from other businesses or assets, and can afford to own the team without relying heavily on the teams operating income for their personal yearly wealth.

    2008-12-09 16:30:30
    107.   GoBears
    My #1 priority would definitely be to enhance security inside the ballpark, and get a handle on the disgusting behavior by (often drunk, but that's no excuse) fans. I would prefer to watch a Pirates-quality team or even the Orioles (i.e., big payroll always wasted) in a pleasant atmosphere than a championship team in the current environment. I no longer enjoy Dodger Stadium (most of the time), and that's a shame. As bad as the drive to Anaheim is, and although I like the Dodgers much more than the Angels, I'd rather go to an Angels game than a Dodgers game under most circumstances.

    As for the question of why McCourt is vilified by some, I agree that he's better than I expected, but for me, the DePodesta firing, coupled with the tendency to treat the fans as if we were idiots created a lot of ill will that will take a long time to overcome.

    2008-12-09 16:31:38
    108.   Branch Rickey
    97 I honestly don't know what the story is there nor do I believe do any of us. Perhaps it was just a fair assessment that that prospect was not worth $2-3M in cash. That's a business decision. I personally can not believe that he's so cash strapped that he couldn't pay $2-3M if that was the better move. That doesn't pay for the pool at his new beach house or the visiting clubhouse at Camelback Ranch.
    2008-12-09 16:32:07
    109.   Harold M Johnson
    100 It only comes into play when and if the Dodgers revenues decline enough to make it an issue. That's the point of my post, it's not that McCourt isn't generating gobs of cash, it's that if that cash declines, he's in a lot more trouble then Fox, or Broad, or any other owner with other cash producing assets or deep reserves.

    We knew at the time of his ownership candidacy that McCourt's biggest flaw was his lack of another cash producing asset he wouldn't need to sell in order to buy the team. This is why some people supported other possible owners. Fox of course liked the fact that they could keep the TV money for awhile.

    2008-12-09 16:32:08
    110.   ToyCannon
    I'm guessing because the capitol improvements were for many millions of dollars, much more then the Dodgers could provide the McCourts in cash. If I remember my BP economics on team ownership it is the depreciation of the assets which makes owning a team such a good deal.

    You guys actually think McCourt paid for the capitol improvement to Dodger stadium with cash and not with borrowing against his assets. Who would do that?

    2008-12-09 16:32:13
    111.   Eric Stephen
    In the 20 full seasons before Cuban took over in 2000, the Mavs had a winning record 6 times, and achieved 50 wins only twice. They made the playoffs 6 times, and won only 4 series.

    In the 8 full seasons under Cuban, the lowest win total for the Mavs was the 51 from last year's squad. They have made the playoffs every year, and have won a total of 8 playoff series.

    2008-12-09 16:32:36
    112.   scareduck
    102 - you're missing the forest for the trees here, Jon. It's not any one thing that makes it look like there are problems; it's the collective weight of all of them. It's the players not given arbitration who might have gotten raises that way, no matter how slight, or who might have resulted in high 2009 draft picks that would have needed large signing bonuses. It's Carlos Santana. It's the failure to spend in Latin America. It's having to share a spring training facility with another team, something usually done by second-rate teams in large markets or small-market teams, and the ridiculous prices being charged fans for ST tickets. It's the endless price increases.
    2008-12-09 16:33:16
    113.   Jon Weisman
    106 - It worked for the O'Malleys.
    2008-12-09 16:33:21
    114.   underdog
    Chavez Ravine, future home of the Springfield Excitement.
    2008-12-09 16:34:37
    115.   Eric Enders
    102 So perhaps the McCourts are misers instead of broke. How does that change the team's situation any. (Note: I don't really buy the notion that they're misers, given the stunning amounts of money given to Pierre and other bad players. If in fact they are misers, they only became such very recently -- which gives even more fuel to the "they're broke" theory.)

    Also, in terms of actual dollars the 2008 Dodgers may have had the highest payroll in team history, but in terms of payroll rank among MLB teams, I believe it was actually one of the lowest Dodger payrolls in recent memory. (They ranked eighth out of 30.) The cost of keeping up with the Joneses has increased, but the Dodgers have not increased their payroll accordingly. They have one of the game's premier franchises in the second-largest market, and they still can't keep up financially with teams like Detroit and the White Sox. The Dodgers had the same payroll as Seattle.

    2008-12-09 16:35:19
    116.   Zak
    108 I agree that it is far more likely that the Doodgers undervalued Santana or know something about him that nobody else does than they needed to save the $3 million or so. Like stocks, prospects should be sometimes sold when they are considered to be at a high. Now those decisions are not always correct and Santana may come back to bite him in the butt, but that is not an indication that McCourt is broke.
    2008-12-09 16:37:24
    117.   underdog
    115 - Alternate theory. They became misers recently regarding the Dodgers because/after Colletti spent too much money on players that gave little in return. Maybe they put him on a short leash with spending? Not saying I agree with that fully, and I mourn the loss of Santana, but it's possible they're less broke than they are FBC.+

    +Frugal Because of Colletti

    2008-12-09 16:37:42
    118.   Branch Rickey
    The cost of keeping up with the Joneses has increased, but the Dodgers have not increased their payroll accordingly
    Oh the irony!
    2008-12-09 16:38:43
    119.   Indiana Jon
    115 They have a lot more cheap young players that produce than the Tigers, White Sox or Mariners too. That lowers their payroll some.
    2008-12-09 16:38:51
    120.   trainwreck
    Why would you keep employing someone you have so little confidence in?
    2008-12-09 16:39:03
    121.   Jon Weisman
    112 - I'm not missing any forest. I see all the points being made. They might be significant. But there's also another explanation that's just as simple, and it's that they're using the Dodgers to build their family fortune. What's weird is that I don't know why you, of all people, assume that the No. 1 priority of the McCourts would be putting the best players into the organization.

    And enough about the Spring Training prices. It's been noted over and over again that the $90 tickets are just a tiny fraction of the available seats at the ballpark. See above in this post, for example.

    I find the McCourts' disengenuousness to be their least attractive quality, but it doesn't mean they're broke. Do you see them reducing their spending anywhere that doesn't involve the Dodgers themselves? Do you see them reducing their personal spending anywhere?

    2008-12-09 16:39:26
    122.   Jon Weisman
    115 - "So perhaps the McCourts are misers instead of broke. How does that change the team's situation any."

    I never said that it did.

    2008-12-09 16:39:46
    123.   bferb
    113 It worked in a different time in baseball as we all know, before the rise of free agency, when most of our players came from the farm. Most (not all) teams across all sports that rely heavily on operating in the black are not good teams, let alone championship caliber. The Clippers are a perfect example (and I like the Clipps). Every year that they have been horrible over the last decade, has also been a year when they were one of the most profitable franchises in basketball.
    2008-12-09 16:39:56
    124.   Zak
    111 In the 16 seasons before McCourt took over, the Dodgers made the playoffs ____ times, and won ____ playoff games and ____ playoff series.

    Since McCourt took over, the Dodgers have made the playoffs ____ times and won ____ games and ___ playoff series.

    There are some reasons to argue that McCourt is a bad owner. The Dodgers success under him relative to the last two decades is not the way to go, IMO.

    2008-12-09 16:41:10
    125.   Eric Enders
    119 Very true, and that's why the Dodgers succeeded in 2008 despite being cheap. But what happens in two years when all those young players are making seven or eight figures, and the payroll remains the same?
    2008-12-09 16:41:35
    126.   regfairfield
    124 Just as easy: n the 16 seasons before McCourt took over, the Dodgers won more than 84 games ____ times

    Since McCourt took over, the Dodgers have won more than 84 games ____ times

    2008-12-09 16:42:13
    127.   Branch Rickey
    It's the players not given arbitration who might have gotten raises that way, no matter how slight
    You mean like Manny who could have received a raise of $30M (from the Dodgers perspective)?
    It's having to share a spring training facility with another team
    You mean the nicest and most expensive one in all of baseball?
    and the ridiculous prices being charged fans for ST tickets.
    So your broke because you charged more?
    I'm sorry, none of that adds up to anything from my perspective
    2008-12-09 16:42:34
    128.   Eric Stephen
    The Dodgers weren't historically bad for those 20 years, like the Mavs were for the most part for their first 20 years of existence.
    2008-12-09 16:42:39
    129.   trainwreck
    I will be very happy if all our young guys are worth 8 figures in two years.
    2008-12-09 16:43:14
    130.   ToyCannon
    Hits most of the points I've been making for several months but I'll just add how they handled the postseason ticket sales, and next years re-up of season tickets holders. They choose cash in hand right now over the alternative of higher cash flow at a later time. That was of course before any of their investments fell 20-50% depending on where they had it.

    Time will quickly tell. If all they do this winter is sign the Loretta's and Blake's of the world while ignoring the impact players we might have more of an answer come Feb.

    2008-12-09 16:43:30
    131.   Jon Weisman
    Joe Torre on Sabathia:

    "CC is pretty special. And I wouldn't mind giving him the bat. He hit the longest home run in Dodger Stadium this year until [Matt] Stairs' [in the playoffs]."

    2008-12-09 16:44:18
    132.   Harold M Johnson
    121 The McCourts are not "broke". They're just on risky ground depending on how bad the recession gets. Baseball teams can lose tons of money when things don't go well, and the McCourts do not have the fallbacks you need to withstand, say, 3 years of losing money which is I think what Fox endured if not more. That puts them in a risky position.

    It may be that they are sensational businesspeople who can do what FOX and Disney failed to do, which is to expand the team's revenue base significantly while managing a growing organization with efficiency.

    2008-12-09 16:44:27
    133.   ToyCannon
    The Dodgers didn't pay a penny for the facility did they?
    2008-12-09 16:45:20
    134.   underdog
    120 Good question. Not sure. Either they're overly patient, nutty themselves, or giving him this one last year to make or break his future with the team.
    2008-12-09 16:45:28
    135.   Eric Enders
    127 Bit of an overstatement there, isn't it? When was the last time an arbitrator awarded someone $30 million per year?
    2008-12-09 16:45:34
    136.   silverwidow
    This guy basically says our core young guys can't win games without veterans:

    2008-12-09 16:45:55
    137.   ToyCannon
    Right, I've never said they are broke. I've said I think they have cash flow problems and as such I expect the budget to be less then it has been in the past.
    2008-12-09 16:45:57
    138.   bferb
    It seems we all want a championship caliber team and with ticket prices, and our attendance record, I feel that we deserve a championship caliber team. Not an 84 win team.

    To me whether or not the McCourt's are broke isn't important. I just want them to field a championship caliber team, whether or not it is favorable to their personal wealth.

    2008-12-09 16:46:12
    139.   Eric Stephen
    The Dodgers didn't pay a penny for the facility did they?

    Does that mean McCourt is broke, or a shrewd businessman?

    2008-12-09 16:46:24
    140.   scareduck
    121 - What's weird is that I don't know why you, of all people, assume that the No. 1 priority of the McCourts would be putting the best players into the organization.

    Do you mean "would NOT be putting..."?

    I frankly believe that Jamie McCourt's Manny-or-kids nonsense was a sudden burst of lucidity (or what passes for it from her, anyway) in that the team is hip deep in debt, is likely going to have trouble (if only perhaps short-term) servicing it, and needs to offer the public a faintly plausible explanation. That she had to back away from it subsequently doesn't change what she initially said.

    117 - I have operated under this assumption for most of this year. I'm no longer sure it's warranted, i.e. the situation now may be far worse.

    2008-12-09 16:46:54
    141.   trainwreck
    I am going with B and C.

    Even though McCourt told the DT gathering that hiring Ned was the best decision he ever made.

    2008-12-09 16:48:00
    142.   Eric Stephen
    From the article:

    "How about a rotation of Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Hiroki Kuroda, James McDonald and Eric Stultz?"

    Poor Eric Stults. The spelling of his name confounds many!

    2008-12-09 16:48:01
    143.   trainwreck
    Clearly he is not aware of the mega-deal we got worked out with the Brewers.
    2008-12-09 16:48:32
    144.   scareduck
    127 - you do know the teams have to kick in money of their own for spring training facilities, right?
    2008-12-09 16:49:06
    145.   Eric Enders
    142 So that's why Torre stopped writing his name on the lineup card!
    2008-12-09 16:49:52
    146.   underdog
    Sorry if this was posted earlier but:
    Sabean denies that he and Sabathia are meeting this weekend

    (No word yet on whether he's invited to hang out in Fairfield with CC next week, however.)

    2008-12-09 16:50:41
    147.   Jon Weisman
    140 - "I frankly believe that Jamie McCourt's Manny-or-kids nonsense was a sudden burst of lucidity (or what passes for it from her, anyway) in that the team is hip deep in debt, is likely going to have trouble (if only perhaps short-term) servicing it, and needs to offer the public a faintly plausible explanation."

    I don't question your belief in this, but it's just a belief.

    130 - "They choose cash in hand right now over the alternative of higher cash flow at a later time."

    And given how cash-poor the whole world is right now, one (not me, but it's not my money) could argue they did the right thing.

    2008-12-09 16:51:06
    148.   Branch Rickey
    135. ESPN said he could get $30M so it it's an exaggeration, it's not mine.
    2008-12-09 16:51:12
    149.   Eric Stephen
    Not that I want CC to sign with the Giants, but I would like to see a contract finalized while both sides finish off a Double Double.

    Who will be this year's Torri Hunter?

    2008-12-09 16:52:43
    150.   trainwreck
    Quite the step up from Del Taco.
    Show/Hide Comments 151-200
    2008-12-09 16:53:09
    151.   Zak
    128 I agree. My only point is that since McCourt has been in LA, so far, there is nothing to suggest that he is a bad owner. He has spent, he has clearly tried to win, he has improved the stadium. These are things that Cuban has done. He has raised prices and he has made goofy decisions and PR blunders. These are things that Cuban has done. They just made an offer to Manny that would have been 2nd best in baseball and maybe close to the best that Manny will receive. They may still be in on the CC talks. My only point is McCourt is getting a lot of flak for assumptions people are willing to make based on data that would never reasonably qualify as evidence (Santana, spring training tickets, sharing spring training site, etc.) And no, Cuban is a good owner, I just don't see why McCourt is worse.
    2008-12-09 16:53:14
    152.   ToyCannon
    Neither but Branch was using the facility as a point about McCourt having money but since he didn't put any money into the facility he can't really use it to make his point. It is great when cities build you things for free and the cost is now up to the fine citizens to pay for.
    2008-12-09 16:53:49
    153.   dkminnick
    46 et al - I'm not a McCourt basher. As much as I loved the O'Malley era, Peter O famously said that it was impossible for baseball teams to be family-owned in the modern world. God bless Peter, but McCourt is proving him wrong. O'Malley was unable to envision the changes and new revenue streams (and yes, price hikes) that McCourt has instituted. Now I'm no fan of the higher prices on everything, but it obviously hasn't hurt attendance, so what I think doesn't mean much.

    I was always very proud, though, of the stability and tradition in the Dodger organization, and I certainly did notice when McCourt started firing everyone left and right and bringing in non-Dodger people. It bothered me then, and it bothers me now. By the same token, McCourt has done a great job of bringing ex-Dodgers back into the fold (especially troubled ex-Dodgers, charitably) and has done much to pay tribute to Dodger heritage. So that's good.

    And I gotta say, I remain impressed that he came and sat with us DT'ers last year for 45 minutes. Some may call it a PR stunt, but I still thought it was a great thing to do.
    I've got my beefs with them, but nobody's perfect. All in all I'm okay with the new ownership.

    2008-12-09 16:54:28
    154.   underdog
    142 How about that LHP Sparky, aka Charles Schults, er, Shultz, er, Shulz?
    2008-12-09 16:55:27
    155.   MC Safety
    108 What are we supposed to believe though? I mean all we have at our disposal are multiple articles stating McCourt would rather flip one of our best prospects instead of paying Blake's salary. That leads one to believe he's broke. Why would you deal a top prospect that is under team control for years to come for two months of Casey Blake? Especially with teams valuing their young talent more than ever. It makes no sense. Is there some top secret Dodger newsletter I'm not privy to that tells us what's really going on?
    2008-12-09 16:55:58
    156.   trainwreck
    If I was Torii Hunter, I would have at least held out for Jack In the Box.
    2008-12-09 16:56:01
    157.   Branch Rickey
    144. I'm sorry but if that's meant to refute my point instead of support it, I don't understand. Am I missing something?
    2008-12-09 16:58:49
    158.   Branch Rickey
    Neither but Branch was using the facility as a point about McCourt having money
    No, I was actually refuting the point that their having to share a facility meant he was broke. Whoever pays for it, sharing ST facilities is not a sign of financial hardship.
    2008-12-09 17:00:05
    159.   Jon Weisman
    155 - "all we have at our disposal are multiple articles stating McCourt would rather flip one of our best prospects instead of paying Blake's salary. That leads one to believe he's broke."

    No, it leads one to believe that he values the money over Santana. And you don't need to be broke to value money.

    2008-12-09 17:00:14
    160.   trainwreck
    Teams really suck in the NFL this year.

    Raiders only have 3 wins, yet they would have the 6th pick in the draft.

    2008-12-09 17:01:51
    161.   dkminnick
    158 Yes. It makes perfect sense to share the ST facility. Games every day instead of half the time. I'm sure that's why they are able to put together what looks like a pretty nice place out there.
    2008-12-09 17:02:45
    162.   Zak
    160 Is it time for the "Raiders as an organization are so bad, that even when they lose 10 of 13 games, they can't get a high draft pick" jokes?
    2008-12-09 17:03:26
    163.   underdog
    160 And the Lions should get two picks per first few rounds, just to help them dig out of the abyss they're in. They can take those picks from the Patriots if needed.
    2008-12-09 17:03:59
    164.   trainwreck
    We suck so bad at drafting that I can't even joke about it anymore.
    2008-12-09 17:04:11
    165.   Jon Weisman
    Blake's deal is official, per ITD

    2008-12-09 17:04:28
    166.   Eric Enders
    Is it plausible that the Dodgers could have gotten a really nice Arizona facility all to themselves if they'd agreed to pay for part of it instead of getting a fully free ride?

    I think it is. The fact that they chose not to do this is another instance of trying to save money whenever possible. (Though that's not always a bad thing and, of course, does not in and of itself indicate that they're broke.)

    2008-12-09 17:06:30
    167.   ToyCannon
    True, in Arizona all the new facilities are shared, it just makes economic sense.

    Compared to the richest baseball owner in America Frank McCourt has been great. Saying I think he might be having some budget problems does not mean I think he's a terrible owner. The two are mutually exclusive. On the other hand if he is having budget problems you can lay that on the feet of Ned who he hired and who has done a good job of signing non-producing free agents at substantial cost.

    2008-12-09 17:06:34
    168.   Zak
    164 Maybe not having a really high draft pick will be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes a team that has so many holes needs solid picks instead of the high risk/high reward type of picks.
    2008-12-09 17:07:40
    169.   trainwreck
    We need someone other than Al making the picks. That is the problem.
    2008-12-09 17:11:45
    170.   underdog
    Given that Al can barely pick his own nose at this point, I'd agree with you. He should be nowhere near a draft board, but is too stubborn to ever admit to that. Which is why the poisoned candy gift plan is one you should consider -- when's his birthday?
    2008-12-09 17:13:12
    171.   Zak
    169 Maybe Mark Cuban should own the Raiders.
    2008-12-09 17:13:24
    172.   trainwreck
    I think it is June 66th.
    2008-12-09 17:17:00
    173.   Marty
    Anyone going outside to see the Space station go across the sky?
    2008-12-09 17:20:54
    174.   underdog
    172 ...1892.

    173 Is that just in SoCal where you can see that? I was gonna look now on my way home but then remembered they said mostly LA and LB can see it.

    2008-12-09 17:22:17
    175.   Bluebleeder87

    Do you know what time Marty?

    2008-12-09 17:24:52
    176.   Bob Timmermann
    2008-12-09 17:25:02
    177.   D4P
    Blake's deal includes a a $1.25 million buyout of a $6 million option in 2012.
    2008-12-09 17:26:01
    178.   silverwidow
    Blake's deal has a 4th year OPTION worth $6M. Buyout is $1.25M. Per TJax.
    2008-12-09 17:28:36
    179.   Andrew Shimmin
    I only want two things from the McCourts (past tossing the jerks out of stadium--that really ought be a higher priority, and it would cost them nothing since they don't refund the ticket price after ejecting you):

    1. Stay out of the booth while the game is going. Vin works solo. Period.

    2. Sign Barry Bonds.

    2008-12-09 17:28:48
    180.   underdog
    Blake's deal includes a...


    2008-12-09 17:29:01
    181.   Tripon
    That buyout is a bonus.
    2008-12-09 17:29:22
    182.   Marty
    I saw it. It was moving pretty fast.
    2008-12-09 17:32:23
    183.   Zak
    178 That's even better than 3 years for 17.1 million as reported yesterday.
    2008-12-09 17:36:22
    184.   Bob Timmermann
    If I were a betting man, I would bet that Blake won't wear #30 next year.
    2008-12-09 17:36:45
    185.   Jacob Burch
    So basically a 18.3ish/3 year deal of guaranteed money, with a 4.75 year 4 if he's worth it. Not that bad--I was expecting a Blake deal to be 3/19-21, so this is nice news. Not too different from 3/17, but c'est la vie
    2008-12-09 17:36:49
    186.   Megaballs
    Re McCourt

    He was drunk with spending the last two years...Pierre and Schmidt then Andruw J and Nomar last year...then the other extreme this summer...he may have collateral calls due to diminished equity in property or tied in with that, may have credit lines that were available being pulled this summer and fall..hence greater need for cash on hand.

    He may have forseen a down draft and wanted to lock in 2008 ticket prices because he thought they were high and had downside risk?

    If he sold real estate for Dodger ownership, he may be looking great, especially if he's profitable and has positive cash flow. The value of the Dodgers is definitely higher than 2004.

    Or he may have a balloon payment of some sort due in a year or something that he took for granted could be rolled over . It's happening to corporate America left and right. even General Electric's dependence on commercial paper almost bankrupted the AAA company at the end of September.

    There's so much we don't know, but they do desperve the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise regarding payroll. Give 'em til the end of January to evaluate.

    2008-12-09 17:37:20
    187.   Jacob Burch
    184 Is there a reason for this I'm totally wiffing on?
    2008-12-09 17:37:31
    188.   trainwreck
    San Francisco was deemed tsunami ready.

    I am going to go ahead and say that is not very accurate.

    2008-12-09 17:38:08
    189.   Harold M Johnson
    187 He thinks Manny's going to be in LF
    2008-12-09 17:40:24
    190.   Zak
    185 The 1.25M buyout is included in the 17.5M. That's what makes it even better.

    2009 - 5M
    2010 - 6M
    2011 - 5.25M
    2012 - 1.25M or 6M

    2008-12-09 17:40:25
    191.   Bob Timmermann
    No, I think Blake will just want a single digit number. He probably didn't take one last season because he was a short-timer.

    I only like to predict unimportant stuff.

    2008-12-09 17:42:20
    192.   Jacob Burch
    191 This is why I was doubting the Manny idea. It is not Timmermannesque to make random bold predictions like that unless it has to do with something fairly funny and trivial.

    That's more of a Zimmermannesque quality.

    2008-12-09 17:43:31
    193.   Tripon
    If a new stadium for an NFL team is going to be built in the Los Angeles area, it's not going to happen until at least 2012.

    The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that the proposed NFL stadium in the City of Industry has been pushed back at least a year.

    2008-12-09 17:44:53
    194.   Tripon
    190 That's a good contract, Casey Blake isn't really being overpaid there. Maybe Ned's learning how to negotiate better with players now.
    2008-12-09 17:45:19
    195.   trainwreck
    Jacksonville gets to keep their team one more year.
    2008-12-09 17:46:20
    196.   Jon Weisman
    194 - Ned just pointed out that Blake's batting average is lower than Pierre's.

    Tripon, can you point me to that link from a couple weeks ago that you posted about the 20 percent paycut rule?

    2008-12-09 17:48:29
    197.   Zak
    196 I'm surprised he didn't mention that Blake is slower than Pierre.
    2008-12-09 17:50:39
    198.   D4P
    Ned just pointed out that Blake's batting average is lower than Pierre's

    Did he say that Casey gets on base an awful lot?

    2008-12-09 17:53:16
    199.   Louis in SF
    Brian Saban is being interviewed on the Giants station and is putting lots of cold water on the Giants going after CC, and he says there is no meeting set up this weekend....the interview is classic with Saban sounding very dour. He also says there is consensus that very little will get done at these meetings.
    2008-12-09 17:57:30
    200.   Tripon
    196 Not the one I linked to earlier, but here's another site that has it.

    (3) The club's salary offer to a player under its control may not be less than 80% of the player's total compensation from the prior year, and may not be less than 70% of his compensation from 2 years earlier. These rules, however, do not apply to free agents who are offered arbitration.

    But I don't have the actual manual/wording, I think Eric Stephan does, and he posted it in a previous post.

    Show/Hide Comments 201-250
    2008-12-09 17:58:04
    201.   Bluebleeder87
    Casey Blake's defense is worthwhile so I'm cool with the move. I'm still hoping we sign CC though, a friend of mind was asking about why not signing Sheets but the dude is just to injure prone i told him.
    2008-12-09 18:04:25
    202.   Jimmyv11
    glad Blake is on, solid play thats what we can expect, he replaces that old vetern Jeff Kent blue collar type player for us. I hope Raffy is next to tell you the truth. I really hope CC would be willing to take a major home income break to sign with us but at the same time, I really feel CC will be worth the money in more ways than Manny.
    2008-12-09 18:07:46
    203.   Bluebleeder87
    Ben Sheets injury issues include:

    ear infection's
    shoulder tendinitis
    & from what I remember back problems

    he's a good one when healthy though (from Wikipedia) ->During 2004, his fastball was being clocked regularly at 96 to 98 miles per hour, primarily a result of improved health. In 2003, Sheets had been troubled by bulging discs in his lower back, but these problems subsided in 2004. That season he also struck out 18 batters in a May 16, 2004 game against the Atlanta Braves. On June 13, 2004, Sheets struck out three batters on nine pitches in the third inning of a 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros. Sheets became the 26th National League pitcher and the 35th pitcher in Major League history to accomplish the nine-strike/three-strikeout half-inning.

    2008-12-09 18:11:22
    204.   Tripon
    Keith Law says that if the Mets sign Derek Lowe, the Dodgers will only get their 2nd round pick due to K-Rod grading higher over Lowe.

    2008-12-09 18:11:37
    205.   Andrew Shimmin
    Assuming Blake's defense is average, and his bat is above average, I have no problem with the deal.
    2008-12-09 18:15:45
    206.   Ken Noe
    191 He wore #1 with the Indians. I don't think he's getting that with the Dodgers.
    2008-12-09 18:16:31
    207.   regfairfield
    205 I have some sad news for you...
    2008-12-09 18:18:13
    208.   trainwreck
    Come on Red Sox!
    2008-12-09 18:19:17
    209.   Andrew Shimmin
    207- I'm trying to do some image rehab; I dropped a Barry Bonds bomb and nobody even reacted.
    2008-12-09 18:20:35
    210.   Tripon
    208 Pray for the Mets to sign Ibanez. That should eat up enough money that they can't sign Lowe.
    2008-12-09 18:21:55
    211.   Eric Stephen
    196 ,200
    Tripon, can you point me to that link from a couple weeks ago that you posted about the 20 percent paycut rule?

    It's in the MLB collective bargaining agreement, which every fan should have. :)

    The CBA is available for download here:

    The key section is on page 25 of the PDF [Article VI(D)], which is essentially what Tripon posted above:

    A Club may not tender, sign or renew a Player under reserve to the Club pursuant to Article XX(A) of this Agreement and paragraph 10(a) of the Uniform Player's Contract to a Uniform Player's Contract that provides a salary for Major League service that constitutes a reduction in excess of 20% of his previous year's salary or in excess of 30% of his salary two years previous.

    Players "under reserve" are the pre-FA guys. Skip forward to page 84 of the PDF [Article XX(B)(3)] for the clause about the salary reduction not being applicable for free agent arbitration types (Darren Oliver this year, for instance):

    If the Player accepts the offer to arbitrate, he shall be a signed player for the next season and the parties will conduct a salary arbitration proceeding under Article VI; provided, however, that the rules concerning maximum salary reduction set forth in Article VI shall be inapplicable and the parties shall be required to exchange figures on the last day established for the exchange of salary arbitration figures under Article VI

    2008-12-09 18:23:38
    212.   Bluebleeder87
    i'm pretty excited about the WBC. Eric Stephen & BH let me know if you guys are going, maybe we can by some kind of pack...
    2008-12-09 18:29:24
    213.   Tripon

    Manny still wants his six year deal, Dodgers are still kinda sorta offering two years.(They didn't exchange numbers in this meeting.)

    2008-12-09 18:29:25
    214.   Bluebleeder87
    Robots Took My Medicine isn't to happy with the Blake deal, here is the scoop -> [ ]
    2008-12-09 18:38:20
    215.   Who Is Karim Garcia
    I probably missed a whole conversation around this, but how in the HECK is the cheapest World Baseball Classic $120!!!!


    2008-12-09 18:38:30
    216.   Andrew Shimmin
    What's the biggest pay cut a FA eligible player ever took in arbitration?
    2008-12-09 18:38:43
    217.   ToyCannon
    What am I chicken liver? Did you forget the Coliseum so soon?
    2008-12-09 18:39:50
    218.   ToyCannon
    Isn't that for a group of games?
    2008-12-09 18:41:30
    219.   Andrew Shimmin
    215- The cheapest tickets are only $33.17 for the games in Mexico City.
    2008-12-09 18:42:32
    220.   Who Is Karim Garcia
    Ah, you are right... are they only going to be sold in groups like this?

    Man, it's like they are just catering to the scalpers and resellers.

    2008-12-09 18:44:16
    221.   LAT
    The McCourts have been making money hand over fist since they bought the team. They have dramatically raised ticket and concession prices. To their credit, they have spent much of that money on improvements to the stadium and player salaries. At the same time I'm sure they have pocketed tens of millions as they should. However, the problem they don't seem to be able to get their arms around is that notwithstanding these improvements, the Dodger Stadium experience is deteriorating at an increasing rate. The expense of tickets and food, the egress in and out of the stadium, the restricted areas, the drunken fans and the lack of security, etc have all made the Stadium experience marginal, where it was once one of the best in baseball. Even if you are willing to pay a lot for your tickets, getting whacked for parking, beer and food, stressing about getting into the stadium, being told where you can't go once in the stadium and sitting in traffic for an hour to get out of the stadium doesn't make you feel good about your decision to shell out a hundred bucks (or more) for a game. Actually, when you think of it, getting food at Dodger Stadium is just a microcosm of the bigger problem: you wait in a long line to pay for something that is over-priced, of marginal quality and served by someone who doesn't seem to care as much as you do.

    I know this is heresy, but the solution to these problems is a new smaller stadium by Staples which has access to public transportation. The experience at Phone Co. Park or Wrigley or Fenway is so superior to DS and I think its because of the size. A smaller stadium justifies the higher price tickets and is easier to manage. Public transportation alleviates much of the parking problems and would further contribute to revitalization of Downtown. I'm not suggesting a stadium the size of Staples but think about how you look back on your evening after leaving a Laker or even a Clipper game compared to the stress of an evening at DS. Just my opinion and why I am inching closer to becoming a former season ticket holder.

    BTW, the McCourts are not broke, they are just cheap. They don't want to part with their money and they resist paying retail if they don't have to, although they will when its something they need or want. I know this because I am cheap.

    2008-12-09 18:45:50
    222.   Bob Timmermann
    Eventually they will sell single-game tickets for the WBC once the demand drops off.

    I went to the Korea-Japan game in Anaheim in 2006 and it wasn't sold out. Of course, it was also a game without either of the two "home" teams in that group: the USA and Mexico.

    It was the coldest weather I had ever been in for a baseball game in Southern California.

    2008-12-09 18:48:03
    223.   DBrim
    222 - Southern California is very spoiled in that regard. They don't have to deal with snow baseball. :)

    I went to a game at Fenway in the middle of April last year. The wind chill was below 30.

    2008-12-09 18:48:39
    224.   LAT
    217. What am I chopped liver?

    You obviously haven't been exposed to enough Jewish guilt.

    2008-12-09 18:50:50
    225.   Who Is Karim Garcia
    For as much as many complain that the McCourts are making money and being cheap, I've yet to see any proof. Any.

    They have renovated the stadium, kept payroll in the upper tier, and in my opinion have bettered the "Dodger Experience."

    It's hardly their fault that public transportation in LA is a joke.

    However, I must admit that as a former season ticket holder, then partial season ticket holder I have been priced out of attending more than just a few games per season. I had to sell a kidney to get playoff tickets.

    2008-12-09 18:53:38
    226.   underdog
    Hah hah. Is Manny really asking for six years? I'm assuming he's not expecting it, otherwise he'll be disappointed. My hunch is that wherever he ends up, whether in LA or elsewhere, it won't be with more than 4 year contract, period.

    Maybe the Dodgers should just put him on the backburner now and go all in on CC. Depending on how that works out, then if Manny's still seeking later, then turn back to him.

    2008-12-09 18:54:44
    227.   trainwreck
    I never expect food service people to be all happy and excited. That can't be a fun job to have. As long as they give me my food and don't spit in it, I don't care.
    2008-12-09 18:56:50
    228.   Who Is Karim Garcia
    Hey guys.... any chance we get a hot stove BBQ? We could have a free agent pick'em game.

    ... and of course, renew out whiffle ball rivalry.

    Anyone get pictures from the last meet up? I missed them.

    2008-12-09 18:57:34
    229.   Xeifrank
    I added Blake and Loretta in to my Dodger Team WAR spreadsheet. The total is up to 78.75 wins right now. Adding Furcal will get us a little over 81 and adding Sabathia and a 5th starter better than Stults/McDonald will get us to around 87.
    vr, Xei
    2008-12-09 19:00:14
    230.   Ken Noe
    I get to other ballparks much more than DS, notably Atlanta. Other than having to sit and sit on Elysian Park Road waiting for them to open the parking lots, I didn't find prices outrageous, thuggery rampant, or egress and service bad at all when compared to the Ted.
    2008-12-09 19:03:49
    231.   MC Safety
    225 kept payroll in the upper tier

    While true, we reached that upper tier by signing mediocre, over the hill veterans to short deals. They haven't made any real commitment to signing quality players up to this point. Johan Santana was available last year, and you didn't hear one thing about the Dodgers going after him.

    2008-12-09 19:10:05
    232.   Indiana Jon
    229 Instead of Sabathia and a 5th starter, what would adding Dunn and Sheets do?
    2008-12-09 19:11:08
    233.   MC Safety
    227 Yeah, while I'd love DS to have the service of an In N Out or a Chick Fil A, it's just not going to happen.
    2008-12-09 19:11:24
    234.   Ian Capilouto
    I don't understand why fan security and drunken people at the game is such a big issue? I go to a lot of games each year, and I have never encountered anything too bad. Sometimes there is some heckling going on, but I take that for being part of the game and experience. Sometimes it is pretty funny. Sitting in lower reserve, I have never encountered what i would consider too much over someone wearing a different jersey. To a certain extent, you should expect some banter if you wear a Mets jersey into Dodger Stadium. And if gets threatening, ignore it or find security. Security has always responded very quickly in my opinion and experience.

    The games where there are fights are with the big rivals like the Giants and Padres, but I don't think any baseball stadium in MLB can completely stop that when those type of games are being played.

    2008-12-09 19:28:04
    235.   Megaballs
    long story short, they have raised prices across the board because the demand has been inelastic, ie ticket sales haven't declined, etc. There are a host of other factors but McCourts aren't cheap. They took over a brand that was arguably unprofitable or underachieving, invested in it and pushed the limits on pricing. And they've increased attendance at the same time! Good business really.

    Can't say their cheap.

    2008-12-09 19:32:47
    236.   underdog
    In the Meh Trade of the Day Category:

    Willy Taveras for Tim Redding.
    (Not quite official yet but close.)


    Or not.

    2008-12-09 19:34:10
    237.   trainwreck
    The balance of power shifts in the NL West.
    2008-12-09 19:34:19
    238.   Sam DC
    Was just coming to share that.

    I don't think Dave Sheinin is too moved:

    "Taveras, who turns 27 on Christmas Day, is a speedster who stole 68 bases this season, but his OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .604 was the second-worst of any player in baseball who had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title."

    2008-12-09 19:42:46
    239.   Jon Weisman

    2008-12-09 19:50:59
    240.   Eric Stephen
    I guess Ethier can now be called "The Peacock."
    2008-12-09 19:52:04
    241.   Bob Timmermann
    If any game Ethier plays in gets to 10 pm, he will be replaced by an older and less talented outfielder.
    2008-12-09 19:56:59
    242.   scareduck
    234 - you haven't been wearing away colors. My wife has, and we've just about stopped going to games as a result. I went to the NLDS with my dad, and it was frankly pretty brutal out there.
    2008-12-09 19:57:35
    243.   scareduck
    231 - ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winnah!
    2008-12-09 19:58:40
    244.   Xeifrank
    234. Last and only game I went to last year, a group of four people showed up in about the 4th inning with seats next to me. Three of the four people were drunk and cussing up a storm. Every single cuss word imagineable was yelled. While I didn't fell threatened, I was offended by the language and if I had my family with me, I would've had to move seats a long ways a way to a section with probably another group of drunk and cussing people.
    vr, Xei
    2008-12-09 20:03:42
    245.   scareduck
    213 - (They didn't exchange numbers in this meeting.)

    Well, if you're gonna date a girl, you have to get her number first.

    2008-12-09 20:06:25
    246.   Xeifrank
    232. 84+ wins. Plus a possibly injured Sheets.
    vr, Xei
    2008-12-09 20:09:13
    247.   scareduck
    246 - possibly? You could set your watch to it!
    2008-12-09 20:09:51
    248.   scareduck
    246 - more blankly, why would you sign Sheets if you already had an option on Penny?
    2008-12-09 20:10:06
    249.   Andrew Shimmin
    I have no kids, and I'm not offended by profanity, but I am offended by watching other human beings get abused for no reason. It's not fun for me. Maybe if I were a bigger Dodger fan, watching a Brewers fan or a Marlins fan (this isn't just the Giants, it's everybody now) get the business would give me more joy.
    2008-12-09 20:14:12
    250.   Xeifrank
    249. What you are describing is assault. It should be the same as if you were walking the aisles of a grocery store. You shouldn't get beat up for wearing a Brewers or Marlins jersey.
    vr, Xei
    Show/Hide Comments 251-300
    2008-12-09 20:20:22
    251.   Andrew Shimmin
    250- Ironically, I'm a big fan of assaulting people at the supermarket. It's just at the stadium where I prefer to take it easy on the random acts of cruelty.
    2008-12-09 20:21:21
    252.   Andrew Shimmin
    Good news up top.
    2008-12-09 20:22:15
    253.   Jon Weisman
    2008-12-09 22:12:24
    254.   RMAPasad
    I will post the numbers on Casey Blake and DeWitt for the final time to show the utter futility of the Blake signing. Let's just use James' projections for 2009. Blake is projected at 768 OPS or -3 runs above avg. offensively.. UZR showed his defense to be 5 runs below avg. PMR had it worse -13 runs v avg.. So net, net Blake is projected at 8 to 16 runs below avg..
    DeWitt projects to 727 OPS, -12 runs v avg w/ 550 PA's. But his 3b defense was + 10 UZR and +14 PMR for 150 games. Meaning he is projected net, net to be -2 runs to +2 runs at 3b. However, the kicker is that his 2b defense last yr. was terrible.. UZR had him -19 runs if he had played 150 games there. Granted, his 2b sample was too small to extrapolate into a full season, but it does raise the question of whether the Dodgers will be incurring some fairly serious defensive hits at both 3b and 2b for signing Blake and getting the alleged comfort of his blue collar "veteraness" at 3b. All for the "mere" cost of $ 17 million. Very bad deal for the Dodgers..

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