Could Dodger Stadium be shrinking soon?

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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.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.