Saturday, March 31, 2007

Inconvenience = $$$

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?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Fire!


As I write this, the Hollywood Hills are on fire. Any time there are fires in Southern California (and there are many), they always show places I've never seen before. But this one is different. I know the Oakwood Apartments, where the fire apparently started. I know Forest Lawn and Barham Boulevards, and I've driven them many times. So it's actually somewhat exciting to see something familiar on the television screen.

Christine was the first to call me and tell me about this, since I was working in the office and not looking at the television. But I immediately turned on KABC (because they broadcast in HD, and I worship my new HD signal). Christine then suggested that I look outside to see if I could see the smoke. I started to say, "Oh, I doubt I'll be able to see it." As I was finishing that sentence, I approached our kitchen window and almost dropped the phone. The smoke plume is HUGE. And it's blowing slowly southward, so it almost looks like it's right over us.

There are two things in potential danger with this fire-- the Hollywood sign, and the Forest Lawn Cemetery. Strangely, or perhaps not so, the focus on the news appears to be on the sign. I mean, I guess there's an argument to be made that the people in the cemetery are dead already, so a fire won't hurt them. But, still. There's some sort of desecration involved there, and I'd hate to see the cemetery on fire. The pictures coming from KABC at the cemetery are remarkable. It's a beautiful sunny day in Los Angeles (of course), but you wouldn't know it if you were standing in front of the cemetery.

I don't have any really important things to say about this, but I just thought it was an interesting thing to happen on a Friday. Just before rush hour. Sorry if you're trying to leave or go to the valley tonight. You're going to have some problems.

Read my sports blog! It would make me happy. www.thedodgerblues.com

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Predictions: American League

Okay, on to more horrifically bad predictions, this time for the American League. We'll start with the west this time.


AL WEST

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

2. Oakland Athletics

3. Texas Rangers

4. Seattle Mariners

The Angels will win the division, again. The Athletics will seem like they'll be a playoff team, and then falter, and miss October altogether, thus ensuring that this year they will not lose another first round playoff series. The Rangers and Mariners will continue to make this division really only about the two teams at the top.



AL CENTRAL

1. Minnesota Twins

2. Cleveland Indians (wild card)

3. Detroit Tigers

4. Chicago White Sox

5. Kansas City Royals

I don't like the White Sox to do anything at all this year, and I'll be glad to see Guillen go away. I think the Twins will do well with Morneau and Mauer, despite the fact that I don't know who pitches for them other than Santana and Nathan.

The Indians are young and fun, and I think this is finally the year they squeak into the Wild Card slot. I like the Tiger pitching staff, but I don't think they're heading back to the World Series this year.



AL EAST

1. Boston Red Sox

2. New York Yankees

3. Toronto Blue Jays

4. Tampa Bay Devil Rays

5. Baltimore Orioles

Of course I'm going out on a limb here by picking the Yankees to miss the playoffs entirely. But, whatever. Mussina's getting old, Wang's starting on the DL, and Pavano is their best hope. Even with call-ups during the season, I just don't see Jeter being able to put the team on his back yet again. Rodriguez will cry his way through the season, wondering why Jeter doesn't want to have slumber parties anymore, and this time next year A-Rod will be an Angel.

I have faith in the Red Sox pitching staff, even though Wakefield has always and will always make me nervous. Schilling may be old, but he knows his stuff well enough to know what he can and cannot do. Matsuzaka is looking strong in spring training, so I'm hoping for that to continue. And Beckett should be slightly better than he was last season, assuming he can stay healthy. Tavarez had me cursing his name when he pitched in relief for the first two-thirds of last season, but he was a decent starting pitcher. So, we'll see.

Playoffs: Red Sox beat Indians; Angels over the Twins. Close series in the ALCS, but the Red Sox pull it off and my dream of a Dodgers/Red Sox World Series comes true.

Yes, it's wishful thinking. But it will be fun to see if it can happen.


Predictions: National League

I'm never really very good at this prediction thing, but if I want any chance of having bragging rights come October, I guess I better get on board. While the Dodgers are my team in the National League, I have to confess that I follow the teams in the NL much less closely than the teams in the AL, with the exception of the NL West. So, we'll see how this goes.



NL EAST

1. New York Mets

2. Philadelphia Phillies

3. Florida Marlins

4. Atlanta Braves

5. Washington Nationals

I guess I just don't see any reason why the Mets can't win it again this year. The Phillies could make a strong case, but in the end, I think the Mets pull away. The Braves will continue to be working on a new streak of years in a row NOT winning the division title. I think Florida might be in contention up until the All-Star break, but then they fizzle out. And hey, now that Soriano is gone from the Nats, who even still plays for that team?



NL CENTRAL

1. Chicago Cubs

2. St. Louis Cardinals

3. Houston Astros

4. Milwaukee Brewers

5. Cincinatti Reds

6. Pittsburgh Pirates

I think I might be picking the Cubs here out of my hopes more than anything else. I always think it would be nice to see the Cubs do something one year, especially given their collapse in 2003. Maybe Soriano is enough to push them over the edge, maybe not. The Cardinals played well in the playoffs last year, but only won 83 games the whole season. I think the Cubs can beat that. The Cards and Astros could be tied by the end of the season for all I know. And the rest of the teams? Come on.



NL WEST

1. Dodgers

2. Padres (wild card)

3. D-Backs

4. Giants

5. Rockies

Sorry to say it, but I like the Dodgers this year. I think Derek Lowe will have an impressive year, and the rest of the team will follow suit. The Padres will be close, but David Wells will lose a few he should win, possibly because he's super fat, or maybe because he was recently diagnosed with diabetes. Either way, they'll squeak in with the wild card, though I think the Diamondbacks have a shot of pulling the upset there.

Barry Bonds will suffer from some unexplained anger and throw something at Barry Zito, breaking his pitching hand, thus ruining the chances of the Giants having anyone on their staff who will win more than eight games.

Playoffs: Padres over Mets; Dodgers beat the Cubs. Dodgers win NLCS (call me a homer if you want; maybe I'm trying for a self-fulfilling prophecy).

There. Now sit back and watch how wrong I am.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Updates

Okay, so it's been two weeks. Sorry. I've been doing a lot of transcribing lately, including several overnight shifts that made me feel really old. I remember when I used to be able to stay up all night without any real adverse effects. Now, I'm pushing 27 and acting like I'm 40. Christ.

Since the last blog I wrote was about getting back into running, I feel obligated to tell you that I only ran once. But it's okay, because Christine and I have started a new walking program. I'm very crazy, so I had to make a spreadsheet and plan out the whole thing over a six week period, much to Christine's chagrin. So, we're ten days into it and things are going well. I like walking more than running, mostly because it's easier, but also because I get to walk with my girl and my dog, and sometimes have a conversation. It's nice to have the company.

There is a man in my bathroom right now, fixing the caulk in the tub. We've had a leak going down into Peggy's apartment for about three months now, and thanks to our inept landlord, things are only just now showing the promise of being fixed. Meanwhile, Peggy has a five foot square hole in her ceiling that looks straight up at the bottom of our bathtub. It's quite interesting. Perhaps after today, though, the leak will stop and Peggy will be able to sleep in her bedroom again. Keep your fingers crossed.

The other thing occupying my time right now is my other blog. One day, I might actually be paid a little bit of money to write this blog. It's about sports, and I know that unfortunately means that the majority of my readers have already fallen asleep just thinking about it. But, if you're interested, visit www.depressedfan.com and click on "The Dodger Blues" at the right. Or, to get there directly, go to www.thedodgerblues.com (I would send you to the first link only so you can see that I'm part of an actual network of bloggers). It might be Greek to most of you, but I don't care. It's fun to write.

Baseball season starts on Sunday, and the Red Sox and Dodgers have their first games on Monday. I don't think I need to tell you how excited I am (especially now that we have HD), but I'll tell you anyway-- I'm very excited.

That's all for now. Check out the other blog if you want.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Anticipation

So, obviously, I don't want to talk about the NCAA tournament. Let's talk baseball instead.

I am a lifelong Red Sox fan. I can hear you asking, "Why, then, are you writing a Dodgers blog?" Well, I'll tell you. I live in Los Angeles, which is a long way from Boston. And since I love baseball, I decided that if I wanted to see some games that I have an interest in, I would have to be a fan of someone a little closer to home. I hate the Angels, and they're an American League team anyway (I can't have two of those), so it's the Dodgers.

It's good to have a team close to home. And it doesn't hurt that prominent players on the current Dodgers' roster are former beloved members of the Boston Red Sox. The manager is another story because, yes, I am like any other Red Sox fan who still finds myself waking up at night with one question haunting me-- "Why did Grady Little leave Pedro in?"

So, barring any meeting in the World Series (which would be awesome), I can easily be both a Dodgers and a Red Sox fan. And so I now follow each team with equal passion (though in a fight, I would be forced to admit that I bleed Red Sox red).

It's nice to take a 30 minute drive to Dodger Stadium to watch a game. And this year, there is a lot of hype about this team actually going beyond the first round of the playoffs. I'll be at as many games as I can this year, listening to "I Love L.A." when the Dodgers win, and "Tomorrow" when they lose. The atmosphere there is amazing, and since I have been to a few new-ish ballparks in my lifetime (Angel Stadium; whatever the "BOB" is now called) I can say that there is definitely something to be said for an older ballpark. It's like they painted the nostalgia right into it. It feels good.

Baseball season is less than a week away. I'll probably watch Mets/Cardinals on ESPN on Sunday night, just because I recently got HD, and I feel like I've been waiting forever for the season to begin. Seriously, is it just me, or has this been the longest off-season ever? Both the Red Sox and the Dodgers begin play on the road. I'm still working on getting Opening Day tickets to the Dodgers, so we'll see how that goes. But, either way, I'll be parked on my couch come Monday morning, because, like every baseball fan knows, this could be the year.




Saturday, March 24, 2007

One More Update

I have to get this in before the Memphis/Ohio State game on Saturday, because I am afraid everything will come crashing down around me at the end of that game.


Thanks to North Carolina's tale of two halves, I was 4/4 again tonight. That has moved me up to 37th place (sorry Mike. I think that makes it harder for your big comeback to happen). Holy cow.


Hey guess what? I'll be writing about the Dodgers soon. No, really.



Friday, March 23, 2007

Top 100

So, thanks to a sweep of last night's games, I am now in 98th place in ESPN's Tournament Challenge (40 points behind the leader). Tonight, I'm rooting for Florida, Oregon, North Carolina, and Georgetown.

I'm always a fan of the underdog, which makes this bracket thing a little difficult. I would be cheering for Butler and Vanderbilt under ordinary circumstances. But the potential for $10,000 is a powerful motivator to change my tendencies.

Keep your fingers crossed.



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Mike
DATE: 03/24/2007 01:02:56 AM

Nice going Erin, but beware. I'm creeping up on you with my rank of 1824886.
-----

AUTHOR: stopmikelupica
DATE: 03/24/2007 03:34:38 AM

Holy cow. Way to go. Your an inspiration to us all. I will now burn my brackets as a sacrifice to you, the goddess of March Madness.
-----

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Devils

Dear Angels,


Hi. When I was a kid, you guys always had cool commercials, advertising the "California Angels" on KTLA. You changed that song "What I Like About You" by The Romantics into an anthem about Angels baseball. That was fine. You played in Anaheim, but KTLA and other L.A. stations broadcast down there, so whatever.

You soon became the "Anaheim Angels," which made more sense, since that is in fact where the stadium is. You had a good following. You even won a World Series in 2002. But I guess that wasn't enough for you.

Because now you are the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." And it doesn't seem to matter how many millions of people think this is the most ridiculous idea ever. It also doesn't matter whether you get sued, because you can find a way to win that lawsuit and keep your absurd, unbelievably insane name.

Now, when ESPN puts a score up on the bottom of the screen, they are forced to refer to you as "LAA." Broadcasters have to refer to you by the new name, even though they generally laugh through it every time (a clue about the whole situation that you might want to take to heart). But here's the worst part-- this year, you've decided to go all out in your ad campaign in Los Angeles. Everywhere I've driven for the last few weeks, all I've seen is billboards with a red background and an "A" with a halo over it. We're talking four or five within a half-mile range. I couldn't begin to count how many there are, but on my trip from my house in West Hollywood to the grocery store at Melrose and Vine, I would be willing to bet there are at least ten of these egregious, insulting billboards.

Hey Angels? You don't play in Los Angeles, except in interleague play. And in fact, when you did play three games in Los Angeles last year, the Dodgers swept you right out of town. With minor traffic (which is the best you can expect in this town), it takes 45 minutes to get from Los Angeles to your stadium. Yahoo Maps says it's 26 miles, which doesn't seem like a lot, but it really is. You're in another county. The Dodgers play in the city of Los Angeles, in the county of Los Angeles. You play in the city of Anaheim, in the county of Orange.

Think of it this way-- do you think folks would let the Athletics pull the same stunt? What if tomorrow they decided they liked San Francisco better, so the team changed its name to the "San Francisco Athletics of Oakland"? It would actually make more sense than your move. Oakland is only twelve miles from San Francisco.

Take down the billboards, Angels. Have some self-respect. And show some respect to your fans, who probably don't think it's such a bad thing to live and work in Orange County. I bet they don't want to think of themselves as from Los Angeles, and all you're doing is telling them how very wrong they are, and how awful it is to live just 26 miles from the Garden of Eden.

Plenty of teams play in smaller markets than Los Angeles. Quit horning in on the territory. Oh, and you had a billboard up directly outside of Dodger Stadium, which, besides being stupid, was also just plain tacky. Someone took it down. I hope that wasn't legal, and that they just tore it down out of anger. And if it goes up again, I'll be in line to help it go away again.

See you in June!


Sincerely,


A LOS ANGELES Dodgers' Fan




COMMENTS:


AUTHOR: Mike
DATE: 03/21/2007 10:19:19 PM

I think there is only one solution -- the Angels should henceforth be known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Orange County California of the United States of America.

It just rolls of the tongue doesn't it?
-----

AUTHOR: stopmikelupica
DATE: 03/22/2007 12:24:10 AM

A LOS ANGELES Dodgers' Fan


Something wrong there... here let me fix it:

A Los Angeles Stolen From Brooklyn Dodgers' Fan.

There, that's better.
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 03/22/2007 12:33:57 AM

What's your point about Brooklyn, exactly? The Dodgers have been in L.A. since 1958. They were known as the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1932-1957, which is 25 years. So, by my math, they've been the Los Angeles Dodgers almost twice as long.

Should Minnesota still be complaining about losing the Lakers? What about New Orleans and the Jazz? Or any other of the myriad teams who have moved location?

Regardless, this has nothing to do with my post. The Angels didn't move to Los Angeles. They just like to pretend they did. And that is my problem.
-----

AUTHOR: Smeghead 52
DATE: 04/20/2007 08:54:05 PM

Hello,
I read your comments in Alyssa Milano's blog.
Thought they were interesting. Didn't Gene Autry--the long time owner of the Angels--call his Pacific Coast League affiliate the Los Angeles Angels long before the Trolley Dodgers left Brooklyn?

I like Anaheim Angels better myself though.
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 04/20/2007 08:59:03 PM

I thought you were right about the Pacific Coast League team, so I looked it up, and it turns out that the Los Angeles Angels played at Gilmore Field, where the L.A. Farmer's Market and The Grove now stand. And that happens to be right around the corner from my house. So, at least they had it right back then.

Anaheim Angels makes more sense, and I don't think anyone will ever convince me that "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" is in any way correct or accurate.
-----

AUTHOR: Smeghead52
DATE: 04/22/2007 12:32:55 AM

Anaheim Angels makes more sense than the California Angels. I don't think anyone in Yreka and Truckee were racing down to buy their angels gear.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

March Blandness?

So, we're down to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, and it started off as a rather lackluster affair. Most of the top seeds advanced in the first round, and nothing of much note happened.
But then came the weekend. And some games actually got close and somewhat exciting.

Xavier gave Ohio State a run for its money. UNLV "upset" Wisconsin (hard to believe that UNLV was a 7 seed, given the way they've played all season, and especially on Sunday). USC destroyed Texas, which wasn't a close game, but was at least somewhat surprising.
Those last two were pretty bad for my bracket, since I bad picked both Wisconsin and Texas. But, I had neither of them advancing any further, so I'm still holding out hope for my Final Four.

I have five brackets currently in competition in ESPN's Tournament Challenge. One of those brackets is in 431st place through the first two rounds. To give you an idea, one of the other brackets is in 1,125,598th place. So 431 feels pretty good (and before Texas lost, I was up to 208th place). That success could fall apart in the Sweet Sixteen and beyond, however.

I have some rather unconventional picks in that 431st place bracket. I picked Memphis to beat Ohio State in the Elite Eight. That one could prove to be my downfall. And if not that, then perhaps Georgetown beating North Carolina. Rounding out my Final Four are Florida and Kansas. I picked these things so randomly because I never expected to be in anything but 1,125,598th place. It was just for fun. So now that I'm doing much better, I'm regretting my choices. But, who knows? Maybe Memphis will beat Kansas in the championship, and I'll get the last laugh.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Back On Track?


So, it's been a while, huh?

March 1 was my five-year anniversary of moving to Los Angeles. I don't know what I think about that, really. There are positives and there are negatives about it, as there are in every situation. Obviously, I have Christine and Jack. And if I hadn't moved to L.A., I wouldn't have them. But I guess I just thought I'd be further along by now.

I'll be 27 in three months. In a little more than a year, I'll have my ten-year high school reunion. And I'd like to have something more to say than, "Oh, I spend most of my time doing transcripts for Stargate episodes." This time two years ago, I thought I was on the way to having something big to say at the reunion. You know, something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'm a producer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show." But that's not going to happen, and while it means I don't get to show off at the reunion, it also means that I still have my soul, which the good folks at The Ellen DeGeneres Show were desperately trying to steal. So, silver lining, I guess.

I suppose a lot of the problem is that I can't figure out what I want to do. I could go spend 600 days being a PA so that I could become an assistant director. But (and no offense to those of you reading who hold this job) ADs tend to be giant assholes. And I can't spend 600 days working for them, slowly turning into one. Talk about losing my soul.

I could write, but I just don't know where to start with that. This blog was sort of helping me with my need to write, but even this has become difficult. There is no assignment, no one telling me what to do everyday. It's all up to me, and somewhere between graduating high school and starting college, I lost all my motivation. Sometimes I see glimmers of it, but they fade away. And it's obviously my fault for not holding on to them when I can. But I'm lazy.

So, in an effort to curb the laziness, I'm getting back on a running program. Today. I was doing well for a few months, and then life got in the way back in December. But yesterday it was hot outside and so I decided to put on some shorts. These shorts looked pretty awesome on me last summer, but yesterday I couldn't get them to button. That's bad news, so I'm going to do something about it. Since the weight gain could easily account for some of my lack of motivation, I think starting an exercise program again can only help.

I still don't know what to do with my life. But today, I'm going running.

Wish me luck.