Fred Claire sighting at Dodger Stadium
So rare, Fred Claire could not remember the last time he attended a game at Dodger Stadium.
"I don’t remember the year, but it’s been awhile," Claire said.
Of course, in his 30 years with the Dodgers he never was at a game expected to be as lightly attended as Tuesday’s. Which may only be prelude to the smallest crowd in years for Wednesday’s afternoon game.
"The fan base is obviously still here," Claire said. "When this organization is winning and the public is accepting of what’s happening, the crowds will be here. The players realize that. Everybody involved realizes that."
Claire was careful not to offer any observations about the bankrupt Dodgers’ organizational troubles.
"I don’t make anything of it," he said. "I’m going to stay diplomatic."
Claire said he had terrific memories of his time spent with the Dodgers in public relations and management.
"Great franchise, great people involved," he said. "I’m interested in seeing the Dodgers be what they can be."
The Dodgers’ last title came under his watch as GM in 1988. He spent 12 years as the general manager until being fired in 1998. In a strange move, Fox fired both the GM and manager Bill Russell at the same time. Was the problem the lousy players or the lousy managing?
Claire consults, works with Special Olympics and occasionally writes columns for MLB.com.
"I have a lot of old friends here," he said. "I was with a friend and just thought I’d stop by."
As reporters started to swell around him behind the batting cage, Claire excused himself.
"I’m drawing too much attention," he said.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Former Dodgers General Manager Fred Claire in 1997. Credit: Vince Compagnone / Los Angeles Times