When I was a kid, my dad used to get Dodgers tickets through his work and we spent many summer evenings at the ballpark….
And as a couple of Dodger-haters, nothing made us happier than driving home and discussing them losing….
But despite our disdain for the team, one thing was undeniable: The setting was beautiful, the ballpark was immaculately clean and the atmosphere was safe and fan friendly….
Which makes what’s going on this season surreal….
I’ve been to two games this year and been astonished at how this franchise has fallen off the earth….
A few months ago I took a friend and her young son to their first baseball game, expecting to see a large, Saturday night crowd. Instead, the place was empty and there weren’t 10,000 fans in attendance….
My friends live in Australia and asked why the Dodgers had such a big stadium when nobody goes to the games….
“We get more than this for a friendly cricket match,” said the mom….
A week or so ago, I went to another game and when the crowd was announced at 30,000, I broke out laughing….
Once again, there weren’t 10,000 people there….
The excuse people are making is the McCourts personal troubles and the team’s poor performance, but that is politically correct rubbish. The attendance was fine during the McCourt years, so that explanation is bulls***….
The reason for the drop in attendance is a result of Raider Nation’s savage beating of Giants’ fan Bryan Stow; the aftermath of which resulted in a huge police presence at the ballpark….
Over the past 10-15 years, the Radier Nation thugs have taken over Dodger Stadium, resulting in long-term fans refusing to attend games….
But this didn’t hurt attendance, because the ex-cons and gang bangers replaced the civilized former fans….
Of course the Dodgers and Major League Baseball should have cracked down and instituted a zero-tolerance policy on these sub-humans, but ticket sales and, more importantly, beer sales dictated the organization turn a blind eye….
The result was a nightly display of cursing, deplorable treatment of women, beatings, threats and obsenity-laced taunts from these drunken hoodlums….
The stadium was hijacked by Raider Nation, with nary a protest from Dodger management….
So, 15 years too late, management was pressured into finally doing something about the violence after the Stow incident. The McCourts and the organization would have preferred to sweep the thing under the rug and conduct business as usual; evidenced by McCourts silence on the matter as the Giants did the right thing and paid the medical bills of Stow….
Finally, after enormous criticism, the Dodgers announced a fund for Stow and an increased police presence at the ballpark….
And, with the increased use of L.A.P.D, the Raider Nation neanderthals stayed away in droves; fearing getting busted on a parole violation for consorting with known felons….
Yes, this is going to be a horrible season for the Dodgers; because the attendance is embarrassing, the team is awful and the McCourts have to scramble to make payroll….
But in the long run, if the organization sticks to their guns and makes the zero-tolerance policy permanent, this season will all be worth it….
The Dodgers will be sold, the team will improve and the long-term, law abiding fans will return if they’re convinced Raider Nation has been exterminated….
But if the team caves in to political pressure and charges of profiling, the gang bangers will slowly return as the police presence declines….
And the beatings, violence and abhorrent behavior will be back….