It appears the Dodgers are going to have some issues with their fans this year. The reason? An increase in the general admission parking price, from $10 to $15. More important than that, though, is what they will be doing (or, more accurately, not doing) with the parking situation this year at the stadium. Instead of allowing customers to drive in a gate and park where they choose (as long as it's in a general admission lot), the stadium will now spend 15% of the extra $100,000 in parking revenue per game to hire attendants to direct cars to specific areas. They will not, however, be paying anyone to direct traffic once the game is over, thus leading to all cars attempting to exit through the same gate, which should be awesome.
There is a story on the LA Times website about this hassle, so I guess I'm not the only one expressing outrage about the increase. But the LA Times article deals with more than just the extra money. Basically, it talks about a man who, thanks to the changes in parking, won't be able to park in the handicapped area, where he has parked for the last two years because of his wife's confinement to a wheelchair. Instead, this 34 year veteran of Dodger fanhood will be forced to push his handicapped wife up a hill to get to the stadium. That is, unless he can find some stadium employees he knows to "vouch" for him and allow him to park in a more convenient area. Another woman told the LA Times that the Dodgers told her she would now have to pay $20 just to park in a handicapped space. Which seems totally fair, right?
A few years ago, when the Dodgers added box seats all along the infield, they gave the shaft to season ticket holders who previously held the front row position. Now these season ticket holders were stuck behind seven or eight rows of people. Their seats were technically in the same place, but they no longer possessed an unobstructed view. One elderly gentleman, who had owned his season tickets literally since the Dodgers first came to Los Angeles, was basically told "too bad" when he complained about this turn of events.
Now, these are only two stories out of many that I'm sure are positive with regard to the Los Angeles Dodgers. But, to me, these stories are enough to present some sort of problem. Seriously, what is baseball supposed to be about if not tradition and loyalty? A man has been coming for 34 years, and now that he is aged, he has to suffer on the way to the stadium?
The Dodgers admit that only 15% of the extra $100,000 is going to paying the new parking attendants. So, in reality, this parking increase is more about making an extra $85,000 per game, or an extra $6,885,000 per season. Throw in the $10 that we already paid to park and see a game, and you're looking at more than $23,000,000 just in parking revenue. If this were really only about paying the extra help, the stadium could charge each car an extra dollar, thus creating $20,000 more in revenue, which by their own admission is $5000 more than they need to pay the attendants.
Because of Dodger Stadium's location, the only place to park is the parking lot provided. We have no choice but to pay the extra $5. But I for one have never had any real problem parking at Dodger Stadium, to get either in or out. I park fairly far from the stadium so that I can get out quickly after the game. But it still takes time to get out, and there is some bottle-necking. With 20,000 cars, I expect that. And if the parking attendants don't stick around to help at the end of the game, what's the point? No one has ever had a problem getting into a parking space at the stadium. I am not looking forward to getting in my car at the end of my first Dodger game this season. I guess I should be prepared to sit there a while.
By doing it this way, you really make all the fans feel like you're striving to make an obscenely large amount of money at our expense, with zero benefit to us at all. MLB is a business, and of course I know that. The Dodger organization is absolutely entitled to make money. But I'm already paying $10 for parking, which I imagine is pretty close to pure profit for you. And you're pretending that this increase has something to do with efficiency, when we all know it does not. We'll continue to pay $5 for frozen yogurt and $10 for a beer. Can't you cut us a break elsewhere?
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