November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

First off, thank you all for your well wishes for Chad and your feedback regarding the news of the last couple days. I will make sure that the get-wells make it to Chad and that your comments are passed along to everyone at the Dodgers involved in the offseason decision-making processes.

In the meantime, I wish you and all your families a great holiday on behalf of everyone at the Dodger organization.

Chad Billingsley

Wanted to let everyone know that we’ve received word that Chad Billingsley, who makes his offseason home in Reading, PA, slipped and fell on ice down stairs outside his house and fractured the fibula in his left leg (lower part of the leg). He had surgery today to put a plate into the leg and will be in a cast for two weeks before beginning rehab. The good news, however, is that by all indications and without any setbacks, he should be ready to be throwing bullpens by the start of Spring Training, which is obviously when all the other pitchers are doing the same.

I’ll keep you guys posted as I hear more news, but I guess if you’re going to break your leg and you’re a baseball player, November is the right time to do it.

We certainly hope he has a speedy recovery and feel free to leave any “get-well” messages here that I can pass along the next time I see him.

Camelback Ranch

We just put a news release that announced the name of our Spring Training complex and it’s Camelback Ranch. You can read the whole thing here and check out a recent aerial photo here:
Camelback Ranch aerial.pdf.

And, I’m actually very glad that a few of you asked about ticket pricing at Camelback Ranch, as I think that it has been portrayed extremely inaccurately by the media that has written about it so far. Yes, there are seats there that cost $90 and they are the equivalent of the Dugout Club at Dodger Stadium – all inclusive with your parking, food, a promotional item, etc. But the key thing to remember is – much like the Dugout Club, there are only about 600 of them in the stadium. That’s just over four percent of the ballpark.

The dropoff then goes to $30 per ticket – which means that more than 95 percent of the seats in the park are at that number or less (with some as low as $8). In fact, our head of ticketing told me yesterday that there are seats that are literally in the front row, where you can put your drink on top of the dugout, and they cost just $30. To me, that’s nothing to be ashamed of – I actually think that’s extremely reasonable.

It is very important to us that all fans are able to come to Camelback Ranch and that’s why there are so many options available. For those who want the all-inclusive treatment, there are a limited number of those seats. But for just about everyone else, the cost is very competitive with everything else in the Cactus League and only slightly more expensive than our seats were in Vero Beach – at a complex that is expected to be one of, if not the finest in all of baseball.

 

Andre is back…

Andre Ethier has a new post at his blog

Spring Training is just '88 days away…

MLB.com has launched Spring Training pages now for all teams and ours is live, with lots of useful information. Keep in mind, the schedule is extremely tentative and we haven’t even formally announced it, as changes always come this time of year based on a number of factors.

But, hopefully you’re starting to feel the desert air and planning your trips out to the complex. From what I’ve heard, it’s an absolutely amazing complex that is going to blow us all away. I was just in Arizona yesterday for some MLB meetings but didn’t get to Glendale. I’m hoping to head back in a week or so and get my first tour of the place…

Here’s hoping the Manny-coaster isn’t keeping anyone too crazy. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks leading up to the Winter Meetings.

The offseason – Scott Akasaki

For those of us who travel with the team (coaches, medical, baseball operations front office, publicity, and broadcasters), a common question this time of year is, now that the season is over what do you do?  Do you even need to go in to the office?

For the traveling secretary (and virtually all of the other 180 or so fulltime employees here at the stadium), there is no “off” season.  In some way, shape, or form, we all are preparing for next year.  The sales force on the other side of the office seems to be in high gear.  Among other projects, the public relations department is working on the annual information guide.  Stadium Operations is gearing up for another phase of the ongoing stadium renovations.  Marketing and Consumer Development is working on how to improve the overall fan experience.  My two bosses, General Manager Ned Colletti and Assistant General Manager Kim Ng, are tireless workers trying to make our club better.  Underneath them, our baseball operations department is putting in extended hours to help improve our team as well.  We are all busy.

Amongst other responsibilities, my duties include hotel selection, charter airline negotiations, Spring Training logistics (with the World Baseball Classic mixed in), and winter meetings travel.  Like Ned and Kim, my job also includes improving the team travel and clubhouse aspects of our club.  Where can we improve?  What did not work this season?  How should we approach the upcoming year?  Once in a while, a baseball operations special project comes my way and those are always enjoyable.

The main difference between my in-season work week and my off-season work week is that I get weekends now.  I am probably not alone when I say that I am catching up on all medical (optometrist, dentist, etc.) appointments in addition to the random household job.  During the season, personal time is very limited and as such, a lot of time is spent with loved ones.

Joe Torre was in the office today and we talked briefly about Spring Training.  As we spoke about moving into Glendale, it hit me that Spring Training is only three months away. Hope to see many of you out there.  

New head of security

We just put out a news release announcing that we’ve hired a new head of security at Dodger Stadium. I know that there have been a number of comments recently about the atmosphere at games and as I’ve said in the past, there is no bigger priority to the Dodgers than making sure that fans feel safe and that there is a family-friendly environment here. Obviously this addition was made with that goal in mind and while I have not personally met Ray Maytorena, his resume in the field is quite impressive.

As always, we appreciate the feedback we get from our fans and encourage everyone to share their thoughts, both positive and negative, here on the blog and at fanfeedback@ladodgers.com

 

Back in town…

I wish I had a lot of new news to report to you all, but there really isn’t much right now. The Spring Training schedule should be coming out in a couple weeks, so stay tuned.

Also, I’ve been reading all the Manny coverage from a distance and I think it’s actually almost humorous that there’s a belief that this wasn’t a serious offer. We’re talking about the highest paid player in franchise history (per year) and it’s obviously the very first offer he’s received from anywhere. For all we know, this will be the best offer that he gets. Just because he’s asking for six years doesn’t mean he’ll get it (does anyone remember Andruw Jones’ initial requests from last offseason?)

There’s no doubt in my mind that we would love to have Manny back here, but I keep reading about Bonds and A-Rod and the precedent they set because they had large contracts that paid them through age 42. Does anyone remember that one of those years, Bonds played only 14 games due to injury? And just because A-Rod is getting paid through age 42 doesn’t mean he’ll be productive that long. I just find that argument hard to believe, but then again, it’s not up to me to have to buy into it.

The bottom line is, there’s no doubt he’s worth one of the top two or three contracts currently in baseball over the next couple or few years, but who knows how he will perform in 2012 or 2013 or 2014??

Anyway, I know that this is all posturing as part of a negotiation and it’s totally normal for any agent to ask for the world, knowing they’re not going to get it, but if anyone thinks that somewhere in the range of $25 million per year is not a real offer, I’d love to know what they think would be “real.”

That’s about all I’ve got for now. We’ve got a few of our former players heading to veteran’s hospitals today and tomorrow to spend time with people there and pay tribute on Veteran’s Day, so hopefully everyone can take a moment to give thanks to anyone you know who has served on behalf of our country.

A very historic day…

I hope that all of you have taken part in the election process today, as polls are starting to close in various parts of the country.  I’m actually in the Midwest, which explains some of the gaps in posting, which I expect will continue throughout the week. If there is any news coming out of the GM meetings, I’ll certainly try to weigh in and/or let you know first, but as many of you who have followed the game for a long time know, rarely does anything major happen during this first round of discussions.

So with that, enjoy the election returns, the hot stove rumors and the next couple days. 

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