January 2007

Dodger Fan Rewards Program

First off, I want to thank you all for your patience as we’ve sorted through the issues revolving the fan rewards program. We know that a lot of you have had questions and you should all be receiving an email that is specific to your point total, but in short, we’ve worked really hard to make sure that you’ll be getting a package that will have a higher value than what you woud have received if you had redeemed all your points. In short, here’s the deal:

For anyone who was a member of the program, you will all be receiving Gameday Audio free for the 2007 regular season.

You’ll also all be receiving a voucher for four tickets, the level of which will depend on how many points you had accrued. Obviously the more points you had, the better seats you’ll get.

All of you will get access to a special pre-onsale event for 2007 tickets (excluding Opening Day). Information on how to access this will be sent to you via email in late February.

Again, please know that we’re just as disappointed as all of you are that Sports Loyalty Systems, Inc. discontinued the program, as we know how much many of you utilized it. For those of you who had kids enrolled, one option that you might want to consider is the Blue Crew Fan Club.

And for the fan who asked when individual tickets go on sale, the answer is Saturday, March 3. The ticket vouchers that you’ll receive from being a member of the Fan Rewards Program will be mailed out next week so that you’ll have them in time to use on this date.

Thanks again for your support.

Art Fowler passes away

For those of you who were around in 1959 when the Dodgers won their first championship in Los Angeles, you’ll probably remember Art Fowler, who passed away yesterday. He was also a Major League pitching coach for 14 years and the Dodger organization would like to offer our condolences to his entire family and those who knew him.

Feels like midseason

We’re in the office over the weekend, so it feels like July…except for the rain outside.

If you didn’t see the comments section of the last post, be sure to check out the description of the Select-A-Seat event we had at the stadium today, where apparently fans were having quite an enjoyable time. We had tons of front office employees helping out, but that’s actually not the reason I’m here today.

From 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. today, we had a breakfast and a lunch event with our Dodger affiliate radio stations from around the country. While the majority of these people come from around California (Palm Springs, Bakersfield, etc.), we’ve also got some from out of state and even the U.S. Virgin Islands. These stations broadcast Dodger games to fans that can’t get KFWB, so once a year they come in for an update on the upcoming season. Frank and Jamie McCourt both spoke to the group, as did Jaime Jarrin, Charley Steiner and several others.

Tonight, we’re heading to the Golden Mike Awards, where Vin Scully is going to be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Radio Television News Association. And tomorrow, I’m going to be at the bone marrow drive at St. John Bosco High School in support of Nomar and Mia’s new foundation.

But, while these things are all indications that the season is about to start, there’s an even bigger one that all of you will enjoy. DodgerTalk is set to begin again, as the first one will air on KFWB 980 immediately following the Superbowl on Feb. 4. They will then air every Sunday at 8 p.m. throughout Spring Training, so be sure to tune in and get the latest news and information about the team.

Nomar, Mia and Stan

As some of you guys have probably read, Nomar and Mia are holding a private soccer clinic at his old high school, St. John Bosco, this weekend to announce the launch of their new foundation, 9 to 5. While this is not a Dodger event, we’re obviously very supportive of the two of them and their efforts to benefit Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where we also have a very strong relationship.

At Sunday’s event, there’s a recruitment drive for bone marrow donors so if you are free and able to come help save someone’s life, we’ll hopefully see you down there.

Also, I mentioned last week that one of our trainers, Stan Johnston, got the chance to address many of our troops on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan before they headed off to the Middle East. Stan was blown away by the experience and shared a few photos with me, so I wanted to post one just so you can get an idea of what he was doing. The pictures obviously don’t really do this justice, but we thought you might enjoy. Stan_ship With all the debate in the country these days about the right strategy in Iraq, there seems to be no debate whatsoever that as long as our troops are abroad, we all must support their efforts and this was one small way that Stan was able to do that.

I know there are still questions about the rewards club and while I don’t have any answers yet, I promise you that as soon as it’s resolved, you’ll be getting information both here and directly to you via email. Thank you for your patience.

And finally, I know that one of you wanted to know how I got started at the Dodgers and while I won’t bore you with all the details, I can tell you that I began as an intern in the Advertising and Special Events Department in 1995 and slowly have worked my way up, just like any other industry. As you can imagine, it’s a very tough business to crack into from the outside because there are so many people who have dedicated years of time and energy at the lower levels of the field. But I can also say that the best thing to do is regularly check the Dodger job board on the website for openings with our team and others.

Non-roster invitees

As some of you have probably read in the papers the last couple days, we have signed Rudy Seanez to a minor league contract with an invite to Major League camp. Also today, we signed third baseman Fernando Tatis to a similar contract and you’ll get to watch both guys during Spring Training.

Many of you remember Rudy Seanez from his days with the Dodgers when he was a hard-throwing young reliever. He still throws pretty hard and could be a nice addition if he’s healthy and still effective.

If any of you don’t remember Fernando Tatis, you will remember him this way – he’s the guy that hit two grand slams off Chan Ho Park in the same inning. I vividly remember that day, actually, because I was still working in the marketing department here. Most of the time, I’d be in the offices during the games but on this particular night, I had to meet a client who was at the game on the Loge Level behind home plate. I didn’t want to interrupt the crowd during the inning, so I just took an open seat a few rows behind him and waited for three quick outs. Two grand slams later, I had witnessed history from some amazing seats. Do any of you guys remember this game or did you attend it, by any chance?

And to answer the question about the cost of these non-roster spots, it really depends on the caliber of the player. They’ll all have split contracts where they get a certain salary if they make the big league club and a much lower one if they don’t. In relative terms, it doesn’t cost much to invite them to camp. Plus, almost every year it seems that one of these "longshots" makes it on the big league club, if not more. Among the NRIs last year were Joe Beimel, Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, Ramon Martinez, Takashi Saito, Aaron Sele and Eric Stults. Others in the past have included Jose Lima, Kelly Wunsch and Scott Erickson, among others.

I can’t imagine there are a ton more that you’ll be hearing about, but usually a good group of 15 or so gives you a chance to see what some veterans still have left or how some prospects fare against big leaguers.

A Three-Dog Day

Yesterday, former Dodger Willie Davis was honored at Santa Anita, where he loves to play the horses. Willie reunited with the team a couple years ago after many years away from the game and has done a great job of representing the team at events across Los Angeles.

Though I never saw him play, I’ve always heard amazing things about how good Willie was in his hey day and it’s great to see him getting some love these days.

And, if you aren’t excited yet for Spring Training, check out this article on ESPN.com by Josh Pahigian, particularly No. 9. For those inclined, tickets go on sale tomorrow morning for games at Holman.

Josh_bell And speaking of Joshs, a Dodger prospect that you don’t hear much about got some love on SI.com today. See more on Josh Bell (at right).

And finally, a couple of offseason report cards to look at on CBS Sportsline from Scott Miller and SI’s Jon Heyman.

Not much to report…

Thank you all for your comments regarding ticket pricing and the all-you-can eat section. Believe me, we know that when we raise ticket prices it’s not going to make our fans very pleased, but as some of you mentioned in the comments, it’s a necessary evil sometimes when the cost of doing business goes up the way it has in the game of baseball. We obviously do our best to make sure that there are still affordable seats for every price range, including seats as little as $8 (and even less on a season ticket basis). There’s not much more I can really add on this topic, but I certainly didn’t want to ignore your comments.

As for combining an all-you-can-eat section with regular seats, that’s pretty tough to do logistically. Our goal is obviously to try and decrease the time people wait in line at Dodger Stadium and trying to make sure that people are in the right lines or issue wristbands would probably create a hassle. For now, we’re going to try it in the RFP and then we’ll obviously see how it turns out.

For those who did not see one of the last comments on the previous post, it is true that we are close to a deal with Chin-Hui Tsao, the Rockies former closer. There is still a physical left to be done and other details to work out, but he could be quite an interesting additon, provided he’s healthy.

A couple things to be on the lookout for. This Sunday night at 8 p.m. on FSN Prime Ticket is the award ceremony hosting by the Los Angeles Sports Council. Many of us from the Dodgers will be on hand, including Marlon Anderson, who we are flying in from Texas to accept any awards the Dodgers’ might win (specifically those pertaining to the four-homer night in which he hit the fourth in a row).

We’re also finalizing travel plans for about 10 current Dodgers for the upcoming caravan on Feb. 6-7, so be on the lookout for information later this week on dodgers.com. Randy Wolf is one of the guys who will take part and if you missed his interview on Roggin/Simers Squared on Monday, it should be on KLAC’s site.

For anyone looking to make a trip out to Vero Beach, individual game tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m. ET and you can get them at dodgers.com, too.

And finally, I talked with one of our trainers, Stan Johnston, who told me that tomorrow he’s going to be going down to San Diego as a guest of the commander of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan which is getting ready to head to Iraq. He’s going to give them a "pep talk" of sorts and thank them for doing what they do so that he (and we) can do what we do for a living. I thought that was something pretty cool to pass along, as I’ve received several emails of late from servicemen and women overseas. It would actually be pretty cool if any of them were reading this blog from the Middle East, though I’d imagine they have better things to do with their time.

I think that’s just about everything for now. Funny, I titled this post "Not much to report," but I guess I was wrong.

Long weekend

I hope everyone’s enjoying the long weekend. We certainly appreciate everyone’s opinions on the all-you-can-eat right field pavilion and for those who aren’t big on the concept, all I can do is ask you to be patient and see how it turns out. I can assure all of you, though, that this is definitely not a gimmick to try and depress the number of seats available "like the tarp in Oakland." If we didn’t think this would be successful, we wouldn’t be doing it just for kicks and to move people from one pavilion to the other.

A couple things to keep in mind. First, there are a huge number of nights when the right field pavilion is not normally opened, so on all those nights the people who prefer the RFP to the LFP still move to the LFP. But most importantly, I really think people should know that this is not the team’s attempt to see who can eat the most food or get their money’s worth out there. While this has garnered insane amounts of media coverage (not by design, actually), from the Today Show to CNN to local sports talk radio and the whole blogosphere, this truly isn’t an eating contest. The truth is, the majority of seats that are purchased in the RFP during the season go to large groups like Little Leagues, AYSO soccer, company outings, etc. For any group over 30, the cost of the AYCE seats are only $20 and I think we can all pretty much agree that at that price, the fan is getting a great deal that can’t be found almost anywhere else in the entertainment world (i.e. the movies, a hockey game, etc.)

Anyway, enough about the pavilions. I hope everyone has a great day off on Monday and spends a little time thinking about the significance of the holiday. As many of you know, we’ll be celebrating the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut all season long at Dodger Stadium, with the big celebration on April 15 at Dodger Stadium.

Whenever I think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all that he did for our country, I think about something Don Newcombe told me last year. He said that he had dinner with the Kings at their house just a couple weeks before Dr. King was assasinated and at that time, he was told something by Dr. King that stood out in his mind. He said, "You know, Don, you, Jackie and Roy will never know just how much easier you made this for people like me by the things you did on the baseball diamond."

That’s pretty incredible, if you think about it. Baseball does mirror society and sometimes, we’re even ahead of our time.

Enjoy the day and keep checking back for updates on all your questions and any other interesting things going on before we head for Vero.

All You Can Eat

Thanks for your patience as we get back into the swing of things. To answer your questions about the pavilions, the reason they look different right now is because they’re completing some work with the concrete underneath the benches. There won’t be any noticeable differences in the pavilions when you show up on Opening Day, as the benches will be put back in before then. There will be one difference, though, in the right field pavilion, which some of you might have read about this morning in the L.A. Times. The pavilion will be an all-you-can-eat ticket for $35 (or $40 if you buy it on the day of the game). This was something we tried last year and fans really seemed to like it, so we’re going with it for ’06.

I noticed the one comment on the blog that was not a proponent of this change but I ask you all to give it a shot. There are obviously people who really enjoyed this opportunity last year and for those that don’t, they can simply choose to sit elsewhere in the park and it should have no affect on them whatsoever.

On a side note, while the L.A. Times article is correct in stating that the least expensive day-of-game ticket will be $10, it failed to point out that we still will have $8 tickets, provided you get them in advance. I think it’s important that fans realize that we’re still trying to provide affordable entertainment for everyone.

In regards to the Dodger Fan Rewards program, we are still waiting on some detailed information from Sports Loyalty Systems, the third-party company that operated the program. We hope to have the information shortly, so thanks for your patience.

In case you missed it…

This morning on AM 570, Jaime Jarrin shared his thoughts about Hall of Fame Day with Fred Roggin, T.J. Simers and Traci Simers. The interview can be heard here and it should remind us all how lucky we are to not only have Vin around, but Jaime, too. Since my job makes sure I’m around him every day, I feel like get to witness what an incredible person he is, but it’s easier for those who don’t get to hear his broadcasts or see him daily to forget how special it is to have two Hall of Famers doing the same game broadcast every night.

Tomorrow morning (Wednesday), Tommy Lasorda will be on with Roggin and Simers Squared.