I’ve had my issues with T.J. Simers in the past, but sometimes his curmudgeon act — though it may not be an act — is pretty damn funny. Like today’s column in which he eschewed the press pass and bought tickets to go see the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game the other night. The point, I think, was to try to understand what it was all of the Dodgers fans who aren’t going to games this year are missing. Or, rather, what’s keeping them away.
I gotta say, he makes a pretty good case for the stay-aways. It’s pricey and the product the Dodgers are putting on the field isn’t exactly thrilling. But the real reason to read the story is that there are a couple of howlingly funny lines. Like this:
I know this, the guy who owns this team must be really doing well — raking in all this money. The Dodgers announce a crowd of 30,000-plus almost every night.
I just can’t get over it — $70 to watch a baseball game! Throw in concessions, parking and kids — and why would anyone ever have kids if they intend to keep going to baseball games?
Or is it just me that finds that funny?
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.