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Done Bleeding Dodger Blue

April 5th, 2010 · 23 Comments · Abu Dhabi, Angels, Baseball, Dodgers

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.

I’m done.

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.

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23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chuck Hickey // Apr 6, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Come join the A team. Great owner, class organization. Kind of like the Dodgers used to be.

  • 2 Ben Bolch // Apr 6, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Great post. Would love to read this in a newspaper somewhere.

  • 3 Fernando // Apr 6, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Wow–greedy owners, I would be more suprised if you found a pair of owners who are not greedy. No one likes been gouged but instead of catching 10 games a year I catch 5. You root for the team not the owners buddy!

  • 4 shelley // Apr 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    yeah…what Ben said!!!…

  • 5 John // Apr 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Awesome post. Hope Dodger fans wise up. We need a REAL owner, not perpetual liars who bought the team on a credit card and then jacked up prices to have loyal fans pay for it. Nice column!

  • 6 Vinny Fazio // Apr 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Great post!! This sums up my feelings exactly. My problem with the Dodgers is that I’ve grown attached to the players through the last few years. I can’t root against Eithier, Kemp, Loney, and Kershaw.

    All that said, I can’t with good conscience root for the McCourts to be rewarded for their bad behavior. Not sure how to approach this…

  • 7 JohnBoy // Apr 6, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Arte Moreno is not a regular guy. He is a class act who greeted me in the stands and asked my opinion. Me… a fan… He - the owner. He IS a guy who does not forget his roots. Moreno and McCourt couldn’t be more different.

  • 8 John S. // Apr 6, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I’ve read your columns in the past, have always enjoyed your writing. As a lifelong Dodger fan, I admire that you stand up for your conviction in a way that I am not yet ready to.

    But I am beyond peeved that a Real Estate hotshot from Boston keeps touting his respect for Dodger Tradition while ignoring pitching (which is the only request Torre has made of him since joining the team) and fallowing the farm. He spouts the “tradition” BS to fans while eyeing that 300 acres of L.A. Real Estate like I’m sure suitors gave Jon Voight the “I respect your daughter” speech while eyeing a young Angelina Jolie like a prime rib.

    Hopefully your self-imposed exile will be short lived, and Bud Selig has the good sense not to hand the keys to someone leveraged up to their eyeballs next time Dodgers ownership changes hands.

  • 9 Z-Man // Apr 7, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Paul–You’re still just as strongly opinionated as when I was your sports editor at the Daily Forty-Niner 35 years ago. You are absolutely right that the owners of the Dodgers have been owned by the wrong people. I hope that their divorce leads to the end of their ownership time. Let Jamie spend her time plotting out her campaign for the White House… yah, right!

  • 10 Harold Uhlman // Apr 7, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Either one is a Dodger fan or is not. You stuck it out through almost 20 years and almost a billion dollars spent uselessly on free agents after the 1988 WS. Now that we have some youth of our own and a possible future, you plan to bail.

    I have been a Dodger fan since 1952, all of them from the east coast of Canada. It broke my heart when they moved to LA and out of range but my loyalty never wavered, as it doesn’t now.

    For me the important thing is the team on the field, not the owner. Is there a direct correlation? Yes there is, but I watch the players not the owner. It is not for us, me at least, to judge whether someone else is “vile or selfish”

    Do I wish things were different? Yes, but they aren’t. ,Baseball is still baseball and the Dodgers are still Dodgers, my team, then and now.

    GO ODGERS!!

  • 11 Walkshaunt // Apr 7, 2010 at 9:57 am

    You forgot to mention that, through the court documents, the McCourts paid no income taxes in past years.

  • 12 William // Apr 7, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Did someone mention Bud and good sense in the same sentence there? Wow, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that before.

    As a long-time and now former Orioles fan, watching your team run into the ground is never easy, and you’ll most likely not return as a fan. I left my Orioles after years of Peter Angelos running a storied franchise into the ground and never looked back.

    I’m guessing most owners have plans similar to this, luckily for Dodger fans, they saw these and can make a more informed decision about their loyalty.

  • 13 Wes // Apr 7, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Dodgers fans don’t need blowhards like you anyway Paul. You’re ranked just below Plashke on my list of “journalists” I don’t like or respect. I’m glad you won’t be rooting for the Dodgers, the team needs fans who are loyal to the club. Good riddance to you sir.

  • 14 chukpark // Apr 7, 2010 at 11:51 am

    C’mon. Don’t leave. You’ve been a Dodger fan too long. Sure the McCourt’s are evil. But they don’t play the game. And we do STILL have a good, YOUNG core. This team is exciting. Expect a trade for a big pitcher this season. Maybe Cliff Lee. Won’t you feel bad if the Dodgers add the final piece to a first-place team in July? Also, watch out for Lindblom in the second half. I think we’re only looking at half a season of Padilla, and maybe not even that much from Haeger. Then it’ll be Kershaw, Billingsley, Lee, Kuroda, Lindblom, and we will roar into the postseason firing on all cylinders.

    Honestly (and I mean you have to be honest, too): The McCourts are only the second-most evil owners the Dodgers have ever had. And it’s not even close. It doesn’t matter that FOX spent more on the Dodgers. Those teams were hopeless, and the farm system was really bare. Now our team is a contender for what looks to be a good run. And our farm is a lot more stocked than you think. Watch how we’re ranked next offseason as our pitchers move up this year.

    Man, the Dodgers need you. The other fans need you. You already said you can’t attend games because of where you live, but watch and listen to the games, please. Root for the Dodgers. This whole McCourt mess will be over soon enough. Even one of them retains control of the team, look for the purse strings to open when the TV contract reverts back to team control in 2013.

    Most importantly, don’t let yourself miss out on what could be Vin Scully’s last season, or is at least one of the last cherished few.

    Come back.

  • 15 Lou // Apr 7, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Sounds like ya just need a new team. A team that, if it’s going to charge a ton to go to a game, at least they win often enough and compete all the time.

    You need the Yankees!!!!

    Welcome aboard!

  • 16 Morph // Apr 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Time to become a Twins Fan!! Pohlads son’s are not like the father… they’re spending some money… great time to jump ship.
    Dodgers were always my favorite NL team… gotta go Atlanta now!

  • 17 John S. // Apr 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Yeah, I must’ve been on something when I mentioned “Selig” and “Good Sense” in the same sentence. He knew what he was doing when allowing them to purchase the club: taking a large-market team out of the equation, to keep player salaries down. Owners have been in hog heaven the last 20 years with one of their own in charge for once.

    We have an AWESOME core on the Dodgers, a core that is poised to make a run for a long time to come. Unfortunately, we also have an owner who was even afraid to commit to offering Wolf and O-Dog arbitration, for fear that he would have to pay the 4 draft picks they would get.

    Can you imagine when Kemp, Ethier, Billingsley and the rest of the core come into their free agency eligibility? Looking at the McCourts salute the fans on their sinking ship like the the British officer at Treasure Island in Vegas, they might be best served elsewhere, unless they don’t mind McCourt deferring their salaries until they’re eligible for Social Security.

    They will always be my Dodgers, but I can’t wait ’til this knucklehead is forced to sell the team.

  • 18 Richard // Apr 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Great post……Now that I have read all what you have had to say..I can actually sleep better…

    I did not renew my season tickets this year….fior all o fthe same reasons that you mentioned here….

    It is destiny,,,and at the end of this divorce….the team will be sold and hopefully it will be an O’Malley team again…

  • 19 Rex Kim // Apr 7, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    It’s sad what the McCourts are doing to the rich Dodger tradition.

  • 20 SFMark // Apr 8, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Now you’ve seen the light, leave the dark side and embrace the light in the form of the SF Giants! ::ducks::

    I do feel your pain though. I hope the Dodgers get good ownership again soon. That way they’ll be no excuses…

    :)

  • 21 Samurai // Apr 8, 2010 at 8:19 am

    A real fan would not leave the team, it’s in your blood and who you are. Yeah hate the state of the current situation (there is LOADS to hate and just not with LAD) but baseball is forever. Make a stand and support the players that WANT to be there and make the effort. Don’t toss it all out. When the Dodgers return to greatness, your not welcome back. Fair weather fans are the worst.

  • 22 Pogue Mahone // Apr 8, 2010 at 11:13 am

    You have my support.

  • 23 kcirtap // Apr 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    great post. that greedy attitude seems to trickle down to the players. they are gutless and stat happy. eithier, furcal, and manny are the only gamers on the team. Either is the only one ive seen throw a helmet in the dugout because he didnt move a runner. the rest are all smiles because they are hitting .300. If they weren’t all numbers they wouldnt be getting ruffed up by teams with half the talent. I’m not saying I’m through with the dodgers. I’m just gonna care as much as they do from now on.

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