December 20, 2014

Frank McCourt’s Last Straw

We’ve held off on commenting on the events of the last 24 hours here at given the complete media blitz on the topic (other than a few tweets). The action by Bud Selig and Major League Baseball signals that there are serious issues afoot in the McCourt camp and the $30 million loan needed by McCourt to make Dodger payroll (as reported by the Los Angeles Times)was as red a flag as I’ve seen in my 30 years of watching baseball. The consensus is clear – McCourt’s alleged financial difficulties make it next to impossible to for him to manage the team and MLB is no longer willing to be an idle party in what could otherwise be the destruction of a proud franchise.

Jon Wiseman of ESPN Los Angeles had, what I consider, one of the most thoughtful views on what has transpired over the past several weeks in this article posted yesterday evening. I’d encourage you to stop reading my post and click through to his assessment and then come back.

Wiseman makes the observation that this is more than the alleged mismanagement of the team’s finances – at the core is the horrific Bryan Stow beating and the shock of the initial reaction of McCourt who felt nothing could have been done to prevent that ruthless attack. Many fans simply decided making a trip to Dodger Stadium wasn’t worth it – whether it was for safety reasons, performance reasons (the team’s record), or financial reasons.

Wiseman also points out that, while this wasn’t an organized protest, it’s clear that many fans have simply thrown up their hands and turned their back on the organization:

The thing is, it hasn’t been an organized boycott, not on any widespread level. It’s been people on their own coming to the conclusion that life was too short to waste on a franchise in this condition.

This includes people like my father, who chose during the offseason not to renew my family’s season tickets for a 30th season. It also includes the people who typically would improvise their ticket purchases after the season was underway.

That’s not to say Dodger Stadium was or would be empty. Some still show up because they love the team through thick and decidedly thin. The game’s pull remains strong. I myself have been trying to figure out when to get my kids to their first game of 2011.

But things haven’t been this low at Dodger Stadium before, have they? I think back to 1992, the worst team in Los Angeles Dodger history playing against the backdrop of a city torn by riots, and there was not such bitterness over the state of ownership.

Dodgers fans have been wandering through a desert of uncertainty and dismay for well more than a year since the McCourts’ marital strife put control of the team in limbo. What the Bryan Stow incident did, besides put the life of a man in jeopardy, was amplify the fear that with McCourt in charge, there might be no bottom.

Selig’s actions yesterday have certainly limited how much further the team could tumble down the rabbit hole, but what now? Can McCourt really make a comeback from this? Does he have any supporters left? I can’t think of a way out of this other than a forced sale at this point, but perhaps I’m wrong on this one. I do hope, however, that Jon Wiseman and I are right – because that hope is what many of the remaining Dodger fans are clinging to at this point.

Jerry Sands Gets Called up by Dodgers

Well, it’s official – Jerry Sands has been called up and will play his first game for the Dodgers tonight (April 18th). Sands will initially start in left field but has said he is comfortable at first base also and saw a fair amount of time at that position during spring Training.

Sands is batting .400 (10-for-40) with five home runs and 17 RBIs with an OPS of 1.297 in his 10 games thus far in Albuquerque. While many expected Sands to hone his play in the minors until later in the season, the Dodgers clearly saw a need to try and spark the offense beyond Matt Kemp’s strong performance this season.


Dodgers management wanted Sands to remain in the Minor Leagues at least until midseason, but his hot bat, coupled with the Major League club’s inconsistent offense, forced the move.

Sands will be sporting number 47 and is slated to bat 7th tonight against Atlanta.

Live Chat With Daniel of C70 Tonight

Alex will be joining Daniel Shoptaw of C70 @ The Bat tonight at 7:45 p.m. to discuss the upcoming Dodgers – Cardinals series. You can catch the show and even call-in questions by clicking here.

Dodgers to Honor Duke Snider With Patch and Event

The Dodgers just announced that the team will be wearing an memorial patch featuring Duke Snider’s number throughout the 2011 season and will host a celebration of his life on Aug. 9 at Dodger Stadium.

Snider passed away on Feb. 27 at the age of 84.

The event on August 9th will include Snider’s family as part of a pre-game celebration of life and the first 50,000 fans will get a Duke Snider bobblehead.

The Dodgers official press release:

Team to wear a memorial patch in 2011 and host a celebration on Aug. 9,
which will include a bobblehead of the late Dodger outfielder

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that the team will wear a patch in memory of Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider throughout the 2011 season and will host a celebration of his life on Aug. 9 at Dodger Stadium.

The memorial patch (photo attached), will feature Snider’s uniform No. 4 and will be worn on the Dodgers’ home, road and alternate Brooklyn uniforms at every 2011 game beginning tomorrow night when the team opens the season against the San Francisco Giants. Snider’s uniform number was retired on July 6, 1980 and is one of just 10 retired numbers in franchise history.

The club also announced it would celebrate the life of the legendary Dodger outfielder at the Aug. 9 game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The first 50,000 fans in attendance will receive a bobblehead featuring the likeness of Snider, whose family will participate in a special pregame ceremony honoring the franchise’s all-time leading home run hitter. The sixth bobblehead of the season is presented by Kaiser Permanente.

Snider passed away on Feb. 27 at the age of 84. He was born Edwin Donald Snider in Los Angeles, CA on Sept. 19, 1926 and became one of the game’s most feared hitters during his 16 seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1947-1962), playing on a pair of World Championship teams (1955 and 1959) and in six World Series overall.

The eight-time All-Star center fielder ranks as the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs (389) and runs batted in (1,271) and during the 1950s, he topped all Major Leaguers with 326 homers and 1,031 RBI. He slugged four home runs in both the 1952 and 1955 World Series.

The last time the Dodgers wore a memorial patch on the team’s uniforms was in 2000 in memory of Snider’s teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese. Other memorial patches worn by the Dodgers were done so in tribute to Jim Gilliam (1978), coach Don McMahon (1987), Tim Crews (1993) and a combination patch for Hall of Famers Don Drysdale and Roy Campanella, who passed away within a week of one another in 1993.

Snider is survived by his wife, Bev, children Kevin, Kurt, Pam and Dawna and 10 grandchildren.

Talking Dodgers with C70 At The Bat

Chris and I recently sat down (virtually) with Daniel from C70 At The Bat to discuss The Los Angeles Dodgers upcoming season. Daniel began reaching out to blogs across MLB a few years ago, and his efforts eventually spawned the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, an organization designed to improve the communication and collaboration of bloggers across baseball.

There are several good interviews for many of the teams he’s done thus far, so be sure to take a look