Dodger Stadium

The Dodgers haven’t had a full-time security chief for four months

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Reading Bill Shaikin’s report about the Dodgers undegoing a security overhaul in the aftermath of the Bryan Stow attack last week reveals that the Dodgers have been operating without a permanent head of security for four months:

The Dodgers last December dismissed Ray Maytorena, a former Secret Service agent who had overseen the club’s security operations. Maytorena was one of at least 22 front-office employees to leave the organization over the last two off-seasons. The Dodgers consolidated his responsibilities under Francine Hughes, vice president of stadium operations. According to the team’s media guide, Hughes “joined the Dodgers in September 2009 following nearly 15 years in commercial real estate.”

There is an interim person running security under Hughes: Shahram Ariane, who is a former head of Dodgers security and currently runs security for The Claremont Colleges, which is an association of several small suburban schools with a total enrollment just north of 5000.

In the wake of an incident like this, there are security realities and then there is the p.r. overlay, which may or may not contain realities itself.  We on the outside don’t know what the state of Dodger Stadium security was at the time of this incident. We also know that, even if a good, solid security program was actually in place at the time, a review of that program would be called for due to the severity of this incident. Put differently, neither the incident nor the review means that Dodger Stadium security was necessarily deficient.

But given the public mood since the time of the attack and the anecdotes coming to the fore about Dodger Stadium being a scary place to see a game in recent years, the fact that there has not been a permanent security person in place since December is troubling. And, even if it’s merely a matter of appearances and security was, in fact, reasonable, not having someone in that position is going to become fodder for lawsuits, investigations and other kinds of scrutiny of the Dodgers organization.

The White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle’s number this June

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle #56 of the Chicago White Sox waves to the crowd after being tasken out of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 27, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Mark Buehrle last pitched in 2015, for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was still pretty effective and toyed with the idea of pitching last season, but he never signed anywhere and is, for all intents and purposes, retired.

Now at least his number will be retired officially. It will be done by the club for which he had the most success and with which he is, obviously, most associated:

Buehrle pitched for the White Sox for 12 years. He was the model of consistency and durability in Chicago, logging over 200 innings a season in every single season but his rookie year, when he was primarily a reliever. He was a solid defender, a multi-time All-Star, tossed a perfect game in 2009 and helped the Chisox to their first World Series title in 88 years in 2005.

He was also one of baseball’s fastest workers, so I’m going to assume that, in his honor, the number retirement ceremony will last, like, a minute 20, after which everyone can get on with their dang day.

Terry Francona isn’t sure how long his health will allow him to manage

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19:  Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during batting practice before a game with the Boston Red Sox on August 19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.

He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:

“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.

“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”

Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.

With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.