Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Root of All Evil

All right, here we go.

The response from Josh Rawitch, PR guy for the Dodgers, regarding my post about the holiday party essentially said that the McCourts had nothing to do with the plan to sell the giveaways for under three bucks. It was just an idea the staff came up with in a meeting, to both give the fans something they would want, and generate a little revenue for the team.

Here's my deal. Yes, I am going to harp on the McCourts pretty frequently because, yes, I think they're greedy. Do I think they're any more greedy than any other rich people and/or baseball team owners in this nation/world? Probably not. So a lot of my rancor over this particular issue stems entirely from my opinions on money. People like the McCourts have plenty of it, but only want to continue to make more. That is the goal of business, but I tend to think there's something wrong when people have much more than they will ever be able to spend.

Incidentally, and slightly off-topic, this goes hand in hand with my opinion on athletes who claim to love the team they're with, then hit free agency and leave that team for, say, fifteen million dollars more over four years (that's something like the number for Johnny Damon, if I'm not mistaken, whom I didn't like even when he was in Boston, but he's a good example). I've obviously never been in a position where someone has offered me millions and millions of dollars. But, I don't think I'm being disingenuous when I say that if I had the chance to stay with my team and in a town that loved me, as opposed to going to another town and team for a few million more, then I'd start to wonder what the difference is between $90 and $100 million. Rafael Furcal made me a little happy this week by deciding to take the Dodgers' offer, even though Oakland had offered him four guaranteed years, and a little more money. Tim Duncan has taken less money in an effort to keep Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili around with the San Antonio Spurs. But these stories are few and far between, and it probably won't be long until, like my father, I decide to give up on professional athletes entirely.

But I digress. I understand that a baseball team is a business, and that businesses have to make money. The McCourts just seem to be atop a pile of greedy business owners, and they also happen to be the ones most prominent in my community, at least when it comes to sports. I could get on the owners of my other team, the Red Sox, but I also know that the Red Sox are one of very few teams to not raise ticket prices for 2009. The Dodgers definitely can't say that. And considering parking prices have gone up nearly 100% since Frank McCourt took over the team (it was $8 before he came in, I believe), it's hard to see Mr. McCourt as anything other than a guy whose sole goal is to squeeze every possibly penny out of the fans, no matter what. If that's the deal, fine. But be honest about it.

The thing is, McCourt wants to turn Dodger Stadium into a sort of wonderland, so he has to get the money from somewhere. I am a little wary of "Dodgertown," since it seems like we'll be turning a baseball stadium into a mall. I'm not a complete baseball purist, but I do believe that the reason most folks go to the stadium is to actually see the game. I'm not sure that's the opinion of the McCourts and those around them, but I guess that's a story for another day. The point is, McCourt has to pay for all these changes somehow, so why not get the fans to do a little extra to help? That extra parking money has to go somewhere, right? McCourt can do the modifications without having to dig too much into his pocket, and then rake in the profits.

That said, I believe the staff that works under McCourt is full of genuine, honest people who really believe in the Dodgers' organization, and who really want to make the fans happy. And I just have to say that McCourt should thank his lucky stars every day that he has these people working for him, or he might end up looking a lot worse.

I do think it was nice for the Dodgers to sell the giveaways to the fans for a relatively low price. That particular gesture was not really the cause of my ire; it was merely a microcosm of what I see as the bigger problem.

As for what I said about Vin Scully giving us the hard sell in his speech, Rawitch wanted to assure me that Scully was simply told that this was a celebration for the season ticket holders. So, Scully went out and said what he felt. I can believe that easily, and I'm pretty sure I even mentioned that Scully probably meant every word he said. So if anyone walked away from that post thinking I was disparaging Scully, please believe me that I would never, ever do that.

So, that's it. Hopefully I was clear, and if not, feel free to ask questions.

In the next post, I'll answer Cobra's question about whether or not I'll be attending any WBC games at Dodger Stadium. Also, I have a few things to say about the issue public transportation to and from Dodger Stadium (or lack thereof).


berkowit28 said...

I wonder if you've read this:

Cobra said...

My opinion is that MLB teams see what the Yankees did with having their own TV network, this new stadium/museum/mall opening this season, and the market share that they have and they try to emulate their actions. On one hand you need revenue in order to make these things happen so you raise prices, raise parking prices, sell stadium space for ads, etc. so that you can do that still have to put a team on the field and one that is going to be competitive and you have to pay for that as well. So, I don't think McCourt has a bad philosophy. He's just working from a different perspective than you and I. The Dodgers have put a lot of money into their team since McCourt took over so it's not like the guy is pocketing the money and running for the hills like it seems some owners do. Then again, you follow this team closer than I do so maybe I'm wrong.

I'm also a baseball purist and I now know that if I want to actually watch a game....I either need to do it on TV or at a minor league stadium because others are at MLB games for the experience.

If I'm a single guy looking for a new contract I'm taking the most money, the best climate and the most competitive team each time (in that order). If I'm married with kids my priorities change. I can't fault guys for moving all over the place for more money.

I really hope you are going to attend some WBC games because I've always wanted to go and I know you'll bring much better coverage than ESPN.