December 17, 2014

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.

World Baseball Classic Single Game Tickets Now On Sale

So single game tickets to the semi-finals and finals of the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium are now on sale (no need to buy strips of tickets to multiple games).  The Dodgerfan guys just picked up two tickets to the finals on Monday, March 23.  We didn’t go last time, but heard that the entire experience was really amazing and are looking forward to some good baseball (Japan beat Cuba 10-6 in 2006 with Dice-K being named MVP) 

Provisional team rosters are set to be announced today at 3:00 p.m. PT. 

U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

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?

Dodgers Hall of Fame Needed

After reading about how the Dodgers will be bringing many of the great physical landmarks from Dodgertown back to Glendale, AZ as well as to Dodger Stadium, it got me thinking about how this memorabilia should be displayed.  Coincidentally, the same topic was being discussed on the Loose Cannons radio program on KLAC-AM this afternoon.

Personally, I’m a fan of constructing a Dodgers Hall of Fame of some sort on the grounds of Dodger Stadium.  It would be a tremendous way to showcase the great history and spirit of the franchise, while also celebrating the team of today.  With Dodgertown most likely shutting its doors for the last time, this makes even more sense then it did a few years ago, as it gives fans a chance to experience this monumental place – a place that many have not had a chance to see in person.

What I would love to see is the Dodgers establish a small park back behind the left and right field pavillions where the spirit of Dodgertown could be brought to life.  Imagine the old lamp posts and street signs of former Dodgers greeting people as they make their way from the parking lots to the stadium.  If done properly, it could be a place for families to picnic before the game.  I commend the Dodgers for bringing their history with them.  Now let’s see how they bring it to life for the fans.

Dodger Stadium Photography

So I’ve been fortunate enough to have made it to about 16 MLB stadiums over the years, and there’s really nothing like the peaceful tranquility that comes from spending a lazy afternoon or evening at Dodger Stadium. Over the course of the coming year I will share some of my takes of my favorite stadium but, in the meantime, be sure and check out some of the photography of the guy who shot the photo at the top of my blog…not bad work for a Padres fan!