Wednesday’s column (linked here) may not have hit it out of the park on public ownership of the Dodgers, but it found a gap and drew a nice assortment of reader email, and we’re thankful for that.
Absurd as the premise may be to some, we also went the self-abusive route and sent the column to several Angelinos whose opinions we think matter. You might be surprised by their responses.
== Radio personality and wine taster Tom Leykis (linked here):
First of all, my roots with and love for the Dodgers run deep, starting with my late aunt, Bernadette O’Mara, who went to school in Brooklyn with Peter O’Malley.
Although I grew up in New York City, one of the reasons I knew I would end up here in Los Angeles was listening as a 9-year-old to Vin Scully doing play-by-play on NBC-TV of the 1965 World Series against the Twins. Vin had such a hold on me that, when I found out that he was a graduate of Fordham University in the Bronx, I did whatever I had to do to become accepted as a student of their communications program so I could try to learn to be great in the way I knew that Vin was great.
As a kid, all I heard was people telling me what carpetbaggers they thought the O’Malleys were for wanting to come to Los Angeles. And all I wanted to do was to follow them here. And I did. Meeting Vin for 5 minutes in the Dodgers’ press box at Dodger Stadium was one of the greatest, most important moments of my life. I love Dodger Stadium, ‘Dodgertalk’ on the radio, 300 pound cholos who wear blue T-shirts that say ‘Los Doyers,’ Dodger Dogs (grilled only, please), stories about the early days at the Coliseum, and I worship at the altar of Sandy Koufax, who is one of my personal heroes in so many ways I can’t count them all.
That is why what has been happening to the Dodgers the last few years is almost too much to take. Lip Gloss Night. Mannywood. Obnoxiously loud music. Fights, out-of-control drinking and inappropriate behavior in the stands. $15 parking and $4.50 Dodger Dogs. 60 different (and mostly mediocre) players on the roster every season. And the Dodgers are further away from the World Series than they were 10 years ago under Fox, and getting even further away.
If the Dodgers were to be sold to the public in the form of shares in order to rid us of the current ownership (whoever that currently is), I would happily buy my shares. I do believe that dividends should be paid and I do believe that those who own shares should benefit from their investment.
I also believe that shares should be non-transferable so that anyone who wanted out would simply sell their shares back to the collective, the way they do at my tennis club, so there would be no shares on eBay, etc.
I believe that those who attend games or buy season tickets should be allowed to own more shares than those who don’t attend since those who do attend contribute more to the team financially than those who don’t.
I think we all agree that further development of Chavez Ravine is bad for Dodger fans and worse for the surrounding community of Elysian Park. As a public entity owning the Dodgers, we could stop this. Judging by the lousy job City Hall is doing with our city’s finances, the City of Los Angeles should be forbidden to own even one single share of stock in a publicly owned ballclub.
I would love to see such a movement for public ownership of the Dodgers succeed. Unfortunately, I do not believe that commissioner Bud Selig will ever allow his fiefdom to be penetrated with public ownership no matter how good our argument as a community. So I guess that what I really hope for is that someone who loves L.A. as much as I do such as Eli Broad or David Geffen will do the right thing for our community and run our team, not as a silly example of vanity and excess, but in the way that good citizens of means do such good for our community.
I would gladly do it if I had a billion dollars. Since I don’t, I am prepared to do whatever I can to help whoever will end this public nightmare that has been created at the most Beautiful Ravine on Earth. And if Mr. McCourt won’t sell, we have to do what is the hardest for those of us who love the Dodgers to do and that is to stay away from Dodger Stadium until it becomes financially untenable for him to hold onto the team. Let’s see how intransigent he can be if attendance drops by a million or two.
== Comedian Matt Iseman, host of the Versus show “Sports Soup” (linked here):
The McCourts have turned the once-proud Dodgers into an incompetent team that regularly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. As citizens of L.A., we cannot allow the Dodgers to encroach on the territory so ably and reliably filled by the Clippers. We must purchase back los Doyers.
To sweeten the deal, we can give the McCourts their own reality show on E! called ‘Courting with the McCourts’ … Jamie can court her employees while Frank goes to court to prove he not only owns the Dodgers but also holds the deed to the Louisiana Purchase.
Plus, if we owned the team, I could ask Vin Scully to call my drive to the ballpark and that would make the traffic on the 5 so much more bearable.
I am in. Where to I give my check for $97?
== Chad Moriyama, editor of MemoriesOfKevinMalone.com Dodger blog (linked here):
I’m a bit of a skeptic by nature, so I have to wonder whether fans would be this committed to begin with. I assume that the divorce story is mainstream enough to disgust even the most common fan, but whether that’s enough for them to actually take action or not is something else entirely. After all, these are the same fans that were asking for Frank McCourt’s autograph last month, so I’m not exactly on solid ground with the majority of fans.
Perhaps what worries me more than anything is the fact that the skeptics aren’t so much typical “haters” or naysayers. In fact, they are quite accomplished and I get the feeling they know how this would shake out.
And even if the legal issues weren’t there, I wonder if it would be for the best in the long term anyway. While true that it would avoid disasters like the current ownership, I don’t think community ownership is ever going to be as effective as a single owner, though I absolutely wouldn’t mind being wrong.
I will say that this would make a great story, and in the short term, I don’t see how it could be any worse than the road of doom and gloom that most Dodgers fans are already heading down.