As I do regularly, I read DodgerThoughts today and Jon Weisman’s latest post certainly was of interest to me. I guess more than anything, I want everyone that reads this blog and any of the others that are out there to know that we truly empathize with everyone who has experienced growing pains with the new parking system and I don’t know how to make it sound sincere over the Internet, but we are absolutely listening to your comments and in cases where it’s possible, implementing them.
More importantly, I know that Jon made it a point to bold the fact that if this system works, that we will have the last laugh and I want to assure you that no one here is looking for a last laugh. This is not a Dodgers vs. the Fans issue and there will not be anyone here saying "I told you so," if and when this system proves to work out to everyone’s liking. We all come to work each day looking to improve the fan experience and that is really what matters (in addition to winning). Without the fan support, this organization is nothing and I sincerely mean that.
I know that expressing empathy (or sympathy or whatever you want to call it) when it’s asked for by Dodger Thoughts is a little like bringing flowers home to your wife after she’s told you that you never bring her flowers, but I cannot express more strongly that we do listen to your comments and we do try to implement them whenever possible. For example, on Tuesday night, when one of the gates was backed up after the game and another had emptied quickly, we re-routed fans to the open one to help get them exit more easily. And the suggestions for a shuttle from Union Station that were made on this blog continue to be discussed, though I can tell you that the last time we tried to do that, we discontinued the service because so few people used it. These are only two of the many ideas being considered to improve the parking situation.
We have numerous people who are reading message boards and blogs several times a day and they are talking to fans in the stands every night. We also have several parking experts (who understand this far better than you or I) here until 2 a.m. after night games, meeting with our own staff members and trying to assess every single thing that took place in the parking lots that night.
To Jon’s point, I don’t believe there is anyone here who thinks the "customers are spoiled." That said, we obviously know that when things change, it makes it the most difficult for the people who are the most used to the "old way," which in this case are our long-time fans and season-ticket holders. This is not us blaming them for resisting change. It is the reality of making a change and again, their opinions matter more than anyone realizes.
The entire reason we started Inside the Dodgers was to be able to interact daily with our fans rather than to communicate with you all through the media. There are only three teams in baseball with a forum like this and rest assured, everything you are posting is being read and seriously considered.
In regards to the handicapped parking, I can assure you all that anyone with an actual handicapped placard is accomodating in a lot closest to the stadium, which is the reason why the premium parking lots overflowed on Opening Day.
And finally, more than anything, I agree with Jon on this point: That Sunday night, a large crowd coming is coming to honor the legacy of Jackie Robinson and I hope that he is the focal point of the evening and that eventually, we are all able to move on from parking and that the results will be exactly what the fans and the Dodgers were seeking.
Thanks again for your patience and as soon as I know more on Furcal, I’ll post again (though it probably won’t be until later in the day when he gets to the ballpark).