Dodger Stadium was crawling with police last night, but how long will it last?

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Following the attack on Bryan Stow, it’s understandable that the Dodgers and the city of Los Angeles would want to take visible measures to ratchet up safety. Emphasis on the visible, with police officers “on the streets leading up to the stadium and still more at the entrances to the parking lot, the stadium gates and inside the ballpark itself.”

Indeed, they were everywhere, in uniform and plainclothes, in squad cars, on bicycles, motorcycles and even horses. Everyone from captains and lieutenants to patrol officers. And although they were polite and friendly, smiling and exchanging pleasantries with fans, at least one group didn’t hesitate to write citations for several young men they saw loitering by a car in the parking lot. Beck had promised there would be a zero-tolerance policy for tailgaiting.

Enhanced safety is a must, of course, but this is every bit as much an exercise in p.r. as it is a public safety measure.  L.A. police Chief Charlie Beck said as much at a press conference yesterday when he talked about the security issues at Dodger Stadium being a “crisis in confidence” and lamented that, since the attack, “a huge amount of attention was brought” to the issue of Dodger Stadium safety and that the “perception” had to change.

Not that perception isn’t important. Setting aside the civil liberty concerns of it all, how much were Rudy Giuliani’s efforts at cracking down on crime in New York City in the 1990s aided by the perception of what was going on in addition to the actual police work? Despite the cynical thoughts of cynics like me regarding almost comically-conspicuous police activity, it’s undeniable that there are people who are truly comforted by such displays, and that comfort can be translated into action, such as more visits to the stadium and thus a greater family-to-thug ratio in the ballpark.

But how long does Los Angeles and the Dodgers keep this up? It’s clearly not sustainable. After all, while the Stow attack “brought a huge amount of attention,” the area around Dodger Stadium does not have the highest crime rate in the city, and eventually resources will have to be more sensibly deployed.

In other words: how long until the heat blows over, the defacto police parades end and the real security enhancements to Dodger Stadium in the post-Stow era can be properly judged?

Brown hired as general manager of Houston Astros

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HOUSTON — In joining the World Series champion Houston Astros, new general manager Dana Brown’s goal is to keep the team at the top of the league.

“I’m coming to a winning team and a big part of what I want to do is sustain the winning long term,” he said. “We want to continue to build, continue to sign good players, continue to develop players and continue the winning success.”

Brown was hired by the Astros on Thursday, replacing James Click, who was not given a new contract and parted ways with the Astros just days after they won the World Series.

Brown spent the last four seasons as the vice president of scouting for the Atlanta Braves.

“He is very analytic savvy,” Astros’ owner Jim Crane said. “He’s a great talent evaluator based upon what we’ve seen at the Braves, seasoned at player acquisitions, seasoned at player development and retention. They were often able to extend some of their player contracts… he’s got great people skills, excellent communicator and, last but not least, he’s a baseball player and knows baseball in and out and we were very impressed with that.”

The 55-year-old Brown becomes the only Black general manager in the majors and joins manager Dusty Baker to form just the second pairing of a Black manager and general manager in MLB history. The first was general manager Ken Williams and manager Jerry Manuel with the White Sox.

Brown said he interviewed for GM jobs with the Mets and Mariners in the past and that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told him to stay positive and that his time to be a general manager would come.

“It’s pretty special,” he said. “We understand that there are a lot of qualified African Americans in the game that know baseball and that could be a big part of an organization and leading organization in baseball operations. So at the end of the day, I think it’s good for our sport to have diversity and I’m really excited for this opportunity.”

Crane was asked about having the league’s only Black general manager.

“Certainly, we are very focused on diversity with the Astros,” he said. “It’s a plus, but the guy’s extremely qualified and he’ll do a great job. It’s nice to see a man like Dana get the job and he earned the job. He’s got the qualifications. He’s ready to go.”

Brown doesn’t have a lot of connections to the Astros, but does have some ties. He played baseball at Seton Hall with Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, who spent his entire career with the Astros and serves as special assistant to the general manager. He played against fellow Hall of Famer and special assistant to the general manager Jeff Bagwell in the Cape Cod league during a short minor league career.

Brown said he spoke to both of them before taking the job and also chatted with Baker, whom he’s know for some time.

“Dusty is old school, he cuts it straight and I like it,” Brown said. “And so that means I can cut it straight with him.”

Brown worked for the Blue Jays from 2010-18 as a special assistant to the general manager. From 2001-09 he worked as director of scouting for the Nationals/Expos. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he spent eight years as their area scouting supervisor and East coast cross checker.

Click had served as Houston’s general manager since joining the team before the 2020 season from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brown, who has been part of drafting a number of big-name players like Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and last season’s National League rookie of the year Michael Harris, is ready to show Crane that bringing him to Houston was the right choice.

“Baseball is all I know, it’s my entire life,” he said. “So I want to empty myself into this city, the Astro fans and let Jim Crane know that he made a special pick.”