Yesterday we wrote about the proposal, today we report that it’s official: the Los Angeles City Council voted to rename Elysian Park Avenue from Sunset Blvd. to Stadium Way in front of Dodger Stadium “Vin Scully Avenue.” The vote was unanimous.
It will take 30 days for the street name to officially change as there is a period in which communications must be had with the community pursuant to city laws, but it’s happening.
All of which makes me want to get on Google Maps and catalog the streets near other ballparks named after famous figures in franchise history. If I had to guess, almost all of them have at least some nearby alley or street which honors a Hall of Famer, a beloved figure or, in the case of the Dodgers, a broadcaster.
In December, Major League Baseball announced recommendations — not rules, but mere recommendations — that clubs put protective netting in front of all seats between the near ends of both dugouts (i.e., the ends of the dugouts located closest to home plate). Most parks already had netting which extended to the near edge of the dugout, of course. That, combined with the emphasis on notice to and education of fans regarding their safety made some — including this author — think that baseball’s netting initiative was less about increasing protection for fans and more about increasing protection of itself from liability.
The Minnesota Twins, however, just announced that they are going to go beyond these recommendations:
The “DSP” is David St. Peter, the Twins president.
Based on the immediate responses to this news, as seen in one Twins reporter’s Twitter replies, this isn’t going to go over particularly well:
On some level I understand. Fans still like to sit down close. Many like to get foul balls and interact with players as much as they possibly can. As the league said back in December, they have an interest in balancing fan experience and safety. Someone is gonna get angry when nets go up. Maybe a lot of someones.
But those dugout seats in Minnesota are really close. And people can get seriously hurt. While most fans can and do sit down there without getting hurt, the Twins and their employees are there every day and likely see their fair share of injuries and near-misses too. If they’re nervous about it, it’s hard not to defer to them in this regard.
Pop quiz, hot shot! You’re a well thought-of prospect who, because of where you’re from and some general physical similarities, you’re compared to future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. You have some difficulty with your club and end up getting shipped to a division rival, which is something of a sign of disrespect in that your GM obviously thinks you won’t come back to haunt him.
You go to your new team and, frankly, don’t light up the world even though they’re giving you every chance to stick as an everyday player, including not going out onto a free agent market with a number of outfielders in it and, instead, saying you’re the man now, dog. Fans are somewhat uneasy about your place on the team and don’t know if they can count on you to be the player you were once projected to be.
What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?!
Why, you play the Best Shape of My Life card:
This support must have been a nice feeling for Garcia, who has a Twitter account and probably has come across fans’ desire to see Yoenis Cespedes or Justin Upton or Dexter Fowler in right field. If Garcia had read or felt the negative feedback, he certainly didn’t show it Thursday.
Garcia instead exhibited a quiet confidence, looking to be in excellent shape and somewhere around 20 pounds lighter than he was at the end of last season. He has a plan in place, formulated in part through individual hitting instruction with White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson this month in Miami.
That ought to hold ’em off until mid-April and the first 11-for-47 streak. At least if people don’t remember that Garcia was touted as being in the BSOHL last year too.