December 18, 2014

Notes from the couch…

A theater crowd?
On my way to one of my coaching engagements, I was listening to Tuesday’s game against the Mets…it was classic how Rick Monday and Charley Steiner were describing the crowd…particularly when it was dead silent in the stadium…one of them said it was more like a “theater crowd rather than a baseball crowd”…classic!

Perhaps the pricing at Citi Field is to blame…for the game versus the Dodgers (considered a “Gold” game), the cheapest ticket was $23…at Dodger Stadium, the cheapest seats are $9…the equivalent Loge level seats at Dodger Stadium ($60) go for over twice that at Citi Field ($138)…I guess the Mets have priced themselves out of bringing in the true fans…now, they are tailoring their home crowds to the likes of the theater district…the Dodgers have done a great job of keeping prices low for the fans!

Home Field Advantage…on the road!
From watching parts of the recent series at San Diego on TV, it was great to see the Dodger fans out in force…very similar to what I experienced at the Dodgers/Angels game in Anaheim when the Weaver brothers pitched against each other…our Boys in Blue must feel like they are playing in front of the home crowd when chants of “Let’s go Dodgers!” ring throughout the stadium…

Manny makes fantasy owners happy…
As a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball manager who happens to have Manny Ramirez on his roster, I am pleased that he’s back in my lineup…I was beginning to get sick of my replacement outfielder, JD Drew, sitting every other game and not getting stats for me…in the 4 games since Manny returned, the Dodgers are 3-1 as a team and Manny’s given me 3 hits, a homer, 4 RBI’s and a run scored…I’ll take it!

Hoping for a speedy return!
When news hit that Ronald Belisario returned to Los Angeles after complaining of a stiff elbow, my first reaction was, “Uh oh!”…I saw Saturday’s game at San Diego and how he struggled to throw strikes…chalked it up to simply having a bad day, but hearing the news of his elbow has me concerned…he pitched in 43 of the Dodgers’ first 82 games…add to that the number of times he’s had to get up and warmup in the bullpen and you can see that it’s a lot of pitches thrown for a guy who had Tommy John surgery and sat out the 2005 and 2006 seasons…I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will pass and he’ll be back in the lineup soon…after all, it’s hard to lose a guy with a 2.42 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a blazing fastball…

I’ve done my part!
Matt Kemp is still in contention for the last roster spot for next week’s All Star Game in St. Louis…I find it amazing that the Dodgers, with the best record in Major League Baseball, have fewer All Stars (3 – Billingsley, Broxton, Hudson) than the New York Mets (4 – Wright, Beltran, Rodriguez, Santana)…didn’t the Dodgers just beat the Mets, 8-0 on Tuesday???…how did the Dodgers build their 53-30 record with just 3 All Stars and the Mets build their not-so-impressive 39-43 record with 4 All Stars?…oh well, I’ve done my part by voting for Matt Kemp over-n-over via…have you?

Dodgers-Angels Pre-Game Photos

View from the Press Box
View from the Press Box
Joe Torre Addresses the Media

Joe Torre Addresses the Media

Joe Torre and Mike Scioscia

Joe Torre and Mike Scioscia

Dodgers Batting Practice

Dodgers Batting Practice

Live From The Dodger Stadium Pressbox Tonight-!

UPDATE:  Yup, we’re live from the Dodgers press box tonight, so feel free to share any questions, or just read along as we bring you the news straight from Chavez Ravine.  Soon to come: pre-game comments on the Angels and X. Paul, as well as pictures from batting practice.

Chris asked me to let you all know that he will be credentialed for tonight’s game and blogging LIVE from the pressbox. More to come on this unprecedented move by the Dodgers organization in a separate post.

In the meantime, feel free to post questions, comments, and other thoughts!

Economic Recession May Claim Dodger Trolley

Santa Monica City Bus

Ahh 2008…I remember it well. Unemployment was under 5%, gas was climbing ever closer to $4 a gallon, and the Dodger faithful were getting sick and tired of sitting in the parking lot known as the 110 freeway waiting to pay over $10 to park at Dodger Stadium. The public cried out for a more sensible solution, and the City of Los Angeles (along with the Dodgers organization) responded with a bus service to help out the fans.

What a difference 6 months makes. Gas is back around $2 a gallon, unemployment is pushing 7%, and state and local governments are looking for a federal bailout. Costs must be cut – the people be damned!

One of those cuts looks to be the Dodger Trolley. Short of a major sponsorship deal to cover the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for the service, we’re likely to head back to the 110 fwy as we await our privilege to pay closer to $20 to park in Chavez Ravine.

Dodgers, City Team up to Offer Bus Service to Dodger Games

Santa Monica City Bus
Bill Shaikin wrote an interesting article in the Times on a recent result of the energy crisis – the L.A. City Council and the Dodgers have teamed up to offer bus service from Union Station to Dodger Stadium on game days.

Under the proposed plan, which would go into effect after the all-star game in July, the city would spend roughly $70,000 to support the service through surplus funds (I didn’t realize any California municipality had any of those) with the Dodgers responsible for marketing the service to its patrons. My guess is the city and Dodgers both figure that the people riding the shuttle would likely not attend games otherwise due to gas and parking charges, which significantly raise the price of an evening at the ballpark. If so, it’s a smart PR move that keeps a certain segment of fans coming to the ballpark while (hopefully) generating income for the Dodgers and the city through ticket and food sales.

Official documents shot that shuttles would run from Union Station, with two stops along Sunset Boulevard, enabling riders to connect from Amtrak, Metrolink, the downtown DASH shuttle and several city bus lines. The estimated ride time from Union Station would be 16 to 19 minutes and seems very well thought out – the bulk of riders could actually ride the shuttle without having to actually drive to Union Station!

No fee has yet been set for the shuttle, but talk is that there would be a nominal charge to ride the shuttle. If shuttles had some kind of “express” entrance and exit from Chavez Ravine, bypassing the usual lines at the parking gates, that could be a further incentive to those looking to skip the endless idling that often accompanies a trip to the stadium. No details on the setup at Dodger Stadium so far, however.

Shaikin cited some interesting facts in his article, including:
– There was a city bus line that ran directly to Dodger Stadium from 1962 to 1994, but the route was eventually cut amid budget constraints and declining ridership.
– The Dodgers tried supporting a shuttle after the demise of the bus line in 1994 for Friday night games (ironically using the same route that has now been proposed) but discontinued the route after it garnered only 400 or so riders per game.

So, can $4.50 gas and pricey parking at Dodger Stadium revive the bus to Dodger Games?