This is not a news flash or anything, but getting into Dodger Stadium is a gigantic pain in the butt. While gorgeous, the Chavez Ravine location makes it not too easily accessible, and when you combine that with L.A. traffic and the fact that 56,000 people can fit in the place and really only have one parking option — a giant lot — it’s a recipe for madness and gridlock.
Bill Plaschke describes the scene for last night’s sold out Giants-Dodgers game — just chaos — and suggests a possible solution:
The Dodgers need to shrink the stadium. Fewer fans, fewer cars. Shrink it by replacing a bunch of seats with patios and railings and the kinds of restaurants that are landmarks in other stadiums. Transform the mammoth into a more intimate creature that has been so popular in other cities. Shrink it to also increase comfort, ambience and buzz.
And it’s not just one columnist’s idea. Plaschke quotes team president Stan Kasten, who talks as if it’s something the Dodgers are seriously considering. So seriously that one gets the distinct impression that it’s a plan of which Plashcke was made privy at some point and was waiting for a sell-out in order to float the plan out there.
If done right — and the pleasing Dodgers Stadium aesthetics are maintained, which some other plans have decidedly not done — it could work. 56,000 fans is an awful lot for baseball these days. If you open up the place a bit, lose some seats and add some other revenue-generating amenities and concessions you could definitely have something nice on your hands.
I think it’ll still be a pain cramming, say, 45,000 fans into the Dodger Stadium parking lots, but then again, they’ve been doing that for 50 years.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.