I was a Dodgers fan for nearly half a century. One of my earliest memories is lying on the floor in the living room of the family home in Long Beach and listening to Vin Scully call a game, through those enormous speakers my father rigged up. I was, maybe, 7.
I have been a Dodgers guy ever since. Before all others: Rams, Lakers, Bruins, Trojans.
But it’s over. I am done … as long as anyone named McCourt retains ownership of the team.
I cannot pull for the Dodgers to win, to succeed, to draw fans, when such vile people own the organization. People whose greed, selfishness and ego apparently are boundless.
And we should buy tickets to see their team play?
Well, I’m not. And not only because I’m half a world a way. If I were half a block away, I wouldn’t pay to see this team play.
Let’s review some of the appalling facts around this team.
–According to statistics obtained by USA Today … today … the Dodgers’ payroll is down for the second year running, to $95 million. Down from $100 million last year. Which was down from $118 million the year before. The Dodgers now have the 11th-highest payroll — despite playing in the nation’s No. 2 market. The Giants, Tigers, Twins and White Sox are paying their players more than the Dodgers. Oh, and the Angels, too.
–The payroll is skewed toward a known cheat, Manny Ramirez. Who is getting $18.7 million this year. So, one sleazy guy, who can’t be troubled to play hard, gets 20 percent of the payroll. Grand. Another reason to love the team.
–The payroll cuts are part of the Dodgers’ grand scheme to jack up prices and keep expenses low through 2018, information that was made public in the McCourt divorce case. Their plan is to soak fans while not paying players. With ticket prices nearly doubling by 2018 while payroll inches up. They have planned this; thought it through. It is club policy. The owners think they aren’t charging you enough money. They are confident they can charge more, and they plan to, until one of the last affordable entertainment options shuts out any fan who doesn’t make $50,000 a year.
–The owner (Frank McCourt) or owners (Frank and Jamie McCourt) are detestable. Which we get to see every time their divorce case moves ahead. In the latest … Jamie McCourt told the court she needs — needs, deserves — $988,845 per month in temporary spousal support. To pay for what? Her extravagant lifestyle. Her over-the-top lifestyle. And Frank is no better. He’s blowing through money, too. Money both of them got from you. The fans. The least they could do is let you hang out at any one of their Malibu homes a few days per summer. Wait by the mailbox for your invitation.
–And these are people whose delusions of grandeur — fueled by, yes, the money fans hand over — are almost off the charts. Frank thinks he will run a global sports empire, with soccer teams in China and England. But he is thinking small compared to Jamie, who (according to Frank) aspires to be … wait for it … president of the United States.
According to documents filed by Frank McCourt, a Dodgers executive named Charles Steinberg in 2008 gave Jamie McCourt a seven-page report entitled “Project Jamie” that included the statement: “Goal: Be Elected President of the United States.”
Yes. From a clever woman who would be just another one of tens of millions of clever women in the United States if she hadn’t turned her connection with the Dodgers, and the money and status that brings (thanks to, yes, you, again), into a level of notoriety. She may or may not have wanted to be mayor of Los Angeles and governor of California, first.
So, while these weasels fight over money they squeezed from their ridiculously loyal fans … they are scrimping on the current team, which ought to have a chance to contend but entered the season with Vicente Padilla as its opening day pitcher and a retread named Charles Haeger as the fifth starter.
A team with no plans to spend on free agents in the future, with a core that is no longer young, with a minor-league system that appears to have dried up … that is going to keep raising ticket prices.
I am done with this team. D-o-n-e. It took 50 years and some really persistent work by current ownership, but the McCourts have done it. Alienated me, an instinctive Dodgers fan.
The Dodgers lost to the Pirates 11-5 today. I don’t care. They can lose another 100 games, and I … don’t … care. Actually, I would prefer it, because then the McCourts could spend the money given them by only, say, 3.3 million fans instead of 3.8 million.
Yes. I know. Sports owners everywhere are in it to make money. They are not our friends. The O’Malleys weren’t running a philanthropic organization.
But here is where the O’Malleys and, say, Arte Moreno, the Angels’ owner, are different than these two cretins who are destroying the Dodgers: They had the wit to keep their obscene consumption and bloated egos out of the public sphere. (And, actually, I really don’t believe Peter O’Malley or Arte Moreno consume obscenely. O’Malley is a shy, near-recluse; Arte is a regular guy who just happens to be rich.)
When the McCourts are gone, check back with me. I may return. I may not. I certainly won’t be back while either of them control the team. I would recommend other Dodgers fans do the same. But you can figure it out for yourself.