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.

Cards’ Pujols hits 700th career home run, 4th to reach mark

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run on Friday night, connecting for his second drive of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone in major league history.

The 42-year-old Pujols hit No. 699 in the third inning, then launched No. 700 in the fourth at Dodger Stadium.

With the drive in the final days of his last big league season, Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.

It’s been a remarkable run for Pujols. This was his 14th home run since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

Pujols’ historic homer was a three-run shot against Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford. The ball landed in the first few rows of the left-field pavilion, the same location his two-run shot touched down the previous inning off left-hander Andrew Heaney.

Pujols received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd – he finished out last season while playing for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call, raising his cap in acknowledgment.

The fans chanted “Pujols! Pujols!” They finally sat down after being on their feet in anticipation of seeing history.

Pujols snapped a tie with Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the list when he hit career homer No. 697 against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.

Reaching 700 homers seemed like a long shot for Pujols when he was batting .189 on July 4. But the three-time NL MVP started to find his stroke in August, swatting seven homers in one 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis pull away in the division race.

“I know that early in the year … I obviously wanted better results,” Pujols said after he homered in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 22. “But I felt like I was hitting the ball hard. Sometimes this game is going to take more away from you than the game (is) giving you back.

“So I think at the end of the day you have to be positive and just stay focused and trust your work. That’s something that I’ve done all the time.”

Pujols has enjoyed a resurgent season after returning to St. Louis in March for a $2.5 million, one-year contract. It’s his highest total since he hit 23 homers for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season ends.

Pujols also began his career in St. Louis. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 amateur draft and won the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year award.

The Dominican Republic native hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He set a career high with 49 homers in 2006 – one of seven seasons with at least 40 homers. He led the majors with 47 homers in 2009 and topped the NL with 42 in 2010.

Pujols left St. Louis in free agency in December 2011, signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, and then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.