It was relatively quiet around here today, which is a good thing. We’re actually having a departmental BBQ tonight, as Spring Training is a great time for bonding within the team’s front office.
As of right now, we’re still scheduled to go to arbitration with Andre tomorrow and I know that everyone here is hoping that we don’t have to go. I’ve learned quite a bit about the process in the last couple weeks in talking to both Andre and my colleagues in the front office and I know that none one really wants to have a hearing. That said, we’ll see if they can somehow come to a middle ground beforehand and if not, I’m sure both sides will handle it professionally. We’ve seen a few cases in the past go to a hearing and fortunately, while it’s never fun, I don’t believe it has affected the Dodger player’s performance on the field that season.
In any event, regarding the question about the LA Times article that ran last week, I’m happy to clarify it. There has never been any doubt, nor have we tried to deny the fact that financially, it will be better for the team in Glendale than in Vero Beach. I think it’s safe to say that that is the case with any new facility, even if we had built a new one in Vero Beach. What we’ve repeatedly said, however, is that this move was made because of the fans’ ability to be a part of it. One is a cause and the other is the effect. If we thought it was better for the majority of our fans in Los Angeles to trek across the country, we would have surely stayed in Vero but I think we’ve learned over time that our fans simply weren’t doing that. In fact, I grew up in LA and I didn’t know a single person who had ever gone to Spring Training at Dodgertown, which is a shame.
The story did talk about how ticket sales and sponsorships are not what we expected them to be and yes, our very experienced COO Dennis Mannion did state that the economy is a major reason for that. We all believe this and we’re seeing it in every walk of life, not just baseball. However, just because projections aren’t where we thought they’d be in year one doesn’t mean that it was a bad decision. Our hope is to be at Camelback Ranch for 60-plus years, just like Vero Beach, and I know that if you take the chance to bring your family out here, you’re going to love the experience. Right now, fans are getting the chance to interact with players up close and personal and that’s very rare in baseball or any sport, for that matter.
And finally, I truly do believe that the Dodgers have taken the economy into account. We had our best season on the field in 20 years and very easily could have utilized that success to raise ticket prices. But, we did not do so while several other teams did.
We still have tickets that are very, very reasonably priced all over the stadium, both in LA and here in Arizona. Eight bucks for a Spring Training game or $10 for a regular season game is pretty darn cheap in today’s world. So is twenty-something dollars for seats that are between the bases and practically in the front row at Camelback. And five dollars for parking is hard to argue with (the same as Vero Beach).
I really think you’d be surprised how often ownership and the front office team talk about the issues that fans face and how we can help make the experience better. We’re far from perfect, but I know that we all come to work every day and try to accomplish the three goals that have been set forth by the McCourts – competing for a championship year in and year out, an unparallelled fan experience and dedication in the community. This blog is a great way for you to share your input and know that it’s being read, considered, and often acted upon by those of us who work for the team and who love the organization as much as you do.