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Steve Lopez: Lots of security, few fans at Dodger Stadium [Live blog]

Dodgers-stands

  LopeztalkbackI just got to Dodger Stadium, and my buddy Nathaniel Ayers is confused.

"There's nobody here," he said, which isn't far off the mark.

There might be more cops, security guards and stadium employees than fans.

But if you saw Wednesday's news, the employees might not get paid next month. Owner Frank McCourt has houses next door to each other in Holmby Hills and Malibu, but The Times reported that he might not be able to make payroll. 


It's becoming more like a minor league operation every day, but at least the food is half price at the ballpark Wednesday.

Plenty of seats available folks, roughly 50,000 or so.

Come on out to the park and say goodbye to the McCourts.

WITNESSING HISTORY?

[Updated at 12:23 p.m.: I may be witnessing history.

Dodger fans are notorious for late arrivals, but today's game has begun and I've seen more people at Tommy's Burgers on Beverly Boulevard than I see in the ballpark. Is this the end -- a new low for the Dodgers under McCourt?

Help me out, folks. What was the lowest attendance in Dodger Stadium history? When you figure that out, please come to the ballpark.

This is embarrassing.]

THOSE UNIFORMS

Frank6 [Updated at 12:42 p.m.: The Dodgers are wearing some vintage uniforms today with no names on the back. Three possibilities:

-- McCourt couldn't afford to send the regular uniforms to the laundromat.

-- They actually wanted to wear these uniforms but the person who stitches names on the backs was busy installing new curtains at one of Jamie McCourt's mansions.

-- The Dodgers figured that even with names on their backs, we still wouldn't know who these players are, so why bother?]

IN THE SUN TOO LONG

[Updated at 1:10 p.m.: So this guy comes out of the sun to sit next to us in the shade and says he almost gave up his piece of a season ticket plan after last year's lousy Dodger season.

The quality of the team went down and ticket prices went up, says screenwriter Tom Ropelewski. He and his mates intended to drop out, but the Dodgers offered a deal on some cheaper seats.

Ropelewski said he actually likes the looks of this Dodger team, so obviously he was in the sun too long.]

Lopez-nate

MINOR LEAGUE BALL

[Updated at 1:19 pm.: To begin the third inning, the Dodgers just flubbed an easy-out pop-up to short left field. A guy named Russ Mitchell is playing third base for the Dodgers. Aaron Miles is at second and Dioner Navarro is the catcher.

Andre Ethier, the only Dodger anyone wanted to see, is not in the lineup. My guess is he quit.

On the bright side, there could be as many as 15,000 fans here now. You know, I've always wanted to see minor league baseball in Southern California, but Rancho Cucamonga and Lake Elsinore are too far.

Thank you, Dodgers. Now I can see minor league baseball without leaving L.A.]

B for Brooklyn

[Updated at 1:26 p.m.: Oh, now I get it. The Dodgers have a "B" on their hats today, so I thought they sent the B squad onto the field. Gibbons, Mitchell, Miles, Navarro, Gwynn. But the B is for Brooklyn Dodgers.

I was going to wear my Brooklyn ballcap to the park today but feared I'd be savagely beaten by idiot fans who thought the B stood for Boston, as in Red Sox. Fifth inning. Guy named Soto, with two homers all season, just hit his third. Cubs 1, Dodgers 0.]

SLIPPING INTO COMAS

[Updated at 1:45 p.m.: Now a guy named Pena, batting eighth in the Cubs lineup and hitting .162, just hit a home run that nearly landed in Eagle Rock.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0.

A fan threw the ball back onto the field; probably someone worried that Frank McCourt can't afford any new ones. Now Marlon Byrd, a Cub with no homers, just launched a three-run blast into orbit.

Cubs 5, Dodgers 0.

All the fans near me have slipped into comas, much like the Dodgers themselves.

DODGER RALLY

[Updated at 1:57 p.m.: Dodger rally! Runners on first and third, no outs. Sacrifice fly and the Dodgers are on the board. My buddy Nate Ayers is awake and cheering.

I think I just saw Frank McCourt buy a half-price ice cream. He handed the vendor an IOU.

Matt Kemp is up. The best player on the field. Go Dodgers! NO! Weak ground ball. To second for one, back to first, double play.]

FANS LEAVING

[Updated at 2:04 p.m.: Memo to Dodgers: Fans are beginning to leave, but Nate Ayers and I are still here. He brought his glove along with him.

We occasionally take swings at the batting cages on Sepulveda, and we are not much older than shortstop Juan Uribe, who I see is now out of the lineup due to lack of interest or perhaps an arthritic condition.

Translation: We are available for pinch-hitting or relief pitching duty. Today. Right now. You could do worse, and in fact you are.]

DREAM WAS ALIVE

[Updated at 2:44 p.m.: Top of the eighth and I'm starting to feel some sympathy for bumped-aside Dodger owner Frank McCourt, who can't make payroll. Why should he?

If the Dodgers were paid based on merit, maybe three or four players would be getting paychecks.

Meanwhile, some fans along the first base line are trying to start a wave to break up the boredom. But it doesn't work when there's no one sitting on either side of you.

The Dodgers are so weak, a 3-2 count qualifies as a rally. Now Tony Gwynn just walked. The dream is alive!

But Aaron Miles, showing no patience, swings at a pitcher's pitch and hits a lazy flyball for an out. It's up to Jay Gibbons, hitting .000, to keep the rally alive. He swings. He connects.

The Cubs first baseman catches a feeble foul pop, and I'm wondering, can you hit lower than .000?]

SILVER LINING DEPARTMENT

[Updated at 2:50 p.m.: There won't be much traffic leaving the stadium. My Dodger Dog was half price. We didn't get beaned by a foul ball and carried out on a stretcher, though that might have been preferable.

"This is about as bad as it gets," says disgusted die-hard Tom Ropelewski, the screenwriter, who waited 'til the bitter end for something to happen.

Final score: Cubs 5, Dodgers 1. But it wasn't that close.

One last thought: I have tickets to eight more games this year. Anyone interested in a really good deal?]

-- Steve Lopez

Photos from top: Empty seats at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday; Frank McCourt; Lopez and Ayres.  Credits: Steve Lopez / Los Angeles Times; Reuters

 
Comments () | Archives (74)

Nice job. Are you trying to give Simer's some competition?

Great play by play Steve..if you call that playing. I checked Stub Hub last night for some tickets and they wanted $50 for the field seats. Way to much to a minor league game. I started in 62 with the Dodgers and maybe in 12 I'll get to another game.

Maybe their all working at Obama's shovel ready jobs!
Hey Steve Lopez you should get one of those jobs too!

GO ANGELS!

I agree with oldtimer. I went to a college game a few weeks ago and loved it. No parking hassles, $10 for a front row seat between two competitive teams, funny and harmless banter between fans, and players who try every play. We are blessed in socal to have great collegiate parks too, and you don't feel bad about where your money is going. It's going to be hard to go back to watch overpaid pros.

PLEASE STOP IT

You sir, are NO TJ.

Wow, poster "NickInLA" congratulations!!! You are the winner of the Only Sucker Who Believes Frank McCourt Sweepstakes!! You bought his spewing nonsense hook, line, and sinker, hoo boy!!!

Seriously, dude, get a clue.

If you need to sign a front-loaded $BILLION dollar deal in order to make payroll of about, what -- $10 Million (seems he needed $30 million to cover the 3 pay periods in April and the first half of May) -- then guess what? You are not running a business properly!!!

If someone wants to give me $3 billion dollars I can take over and run the Dodgers, too. Doesn't mean I'm qualified to. Though I would probably do a much better job, admittedly.

btw, thanks Steve, great article. "can you hit lower than .000?" Hilarious. "The Dodgers are so weak, a 3-2 count qualifies as a rally". Awesome.

It took 10 years to find Bin Laden. Hope they can find the two punks who beat up the Giants fan quicker than that. And until that happens, Dodger Stadium has a big UNSAFE sign hanging over it.

Since Opening Day beat-down, fewer fans, more cops. Second game attended was actually kinda intimidating with LAPD and Stadium security in every aisle, you didn't know what degree of fandom was too much. Went to last Saturday night's game, few fans, not so many cops, less than 10 minutes out of the parking lot (yeah, we stayed until the end). The Dodgers Publicity/Special Events have been promoting like mad and they still aren't drawing people in. Sad because it should be all about the game, the beauty of sitting in the Stadium on a warm summer Saturday evening as the sun goes down in Chavez Ravine, lights up , Vinny at the mic, Nancy Bea with her animatronic smile providing the soundtrack, kids cheering for their team, glove in hand thinking they can catch that foul ball that comes their way.
Thanks for today's postings, Steve-I don't feel so bad about missing today's game.

I am life long Dodgers fan, but I am boycotting dodger stadium until McCourt and his nutty wife leave the city.

I would rather listen to Vinny from home.

Growing up I was the biggest Dodger Fan around.
Garvey
Lopes
Cey
Russell
Baker
Smith
Yeager
Knew all their stats. Followed the games on radio and the few times the game was on tv, I never missed it.

When O'Malley sold the team...I became an Angels fan.

Steve, I hope you consistently write that McCourt has to go NOW! He wants forgiveness for pulling every penny out of a great organization.

Now, Let's talk about your ticket deal!

I live in Glassell Park, not far from the stadium. I have not gone to a game in years. The place is overpriced, horrific advertisements all over the place. And now Frank McDork running the place into the crapper.
I won't go back until he is gone, period!

He has lost the favor of the fans and he must go.

Get someone with enough $$$ to get us a good team again.

Ive become numb to the outrageous prices at Dodger Stadium. When it was introduced a few years ago, it was cutting edge. Now it seems like the norm.
Parking for the Laker games is the same if not more.

The Times needs to do a story on the Buss family to see where that money is going.
Oh wait, the Lakers are winning so no one cares.

I took my kids to the game Sunday. It was the first time in years I felt safe at Dodger stadium. In the past I've been intimidated by drunken gang members after the game. It's nice there is so much security. But I guess that guy getting beat up by thugs and the fact that the team isn't playing very well is keeping fans away. It was the emptiest I've ever seen the park...oh well at least I didn't have to wait in line to buy a Dodger dog.

MacCourt GO HOME you have raped OUR team and OUR city. Don't blame your ex wife. JUST LEAVE. YOU ARE A LIAR AND A LOSER. JUST GO AWAY!!!

I was at the game last night. Decent-sized crowd, but the heavy security makes a visit to the ballpark about as enjoyable a visit to the airport.

I like going to Dodger games now. There's no disappointment when they lose. No expectations. If they score a run, what a delightful surprise. Actually win? What a treasure! No worry about where they are in the standings - no one wants to look. Post season jitters? Forget it, no one's going anywhere. Just relax, no pressure. Unlike the Lakers who take you through a malestorm of emotions and nail biting and the nagging worry that they might not make a third consecutive championship. Who needs that pressure? Enjoy the relaxing, no-pressure comfort of the Dodgers.

Has anyone else noticed that the Dodgers don't post the attendance? Hmm.

I tried to get an ice cream in the bottom of the fifth, but after waiting on line for an inning and a half I was told they were sold out. I then ask for a frozen lemonade but was told they were out. I realized again how lame the owner McCourt is so I took my money and left. I'll be back when McCourt is gone. So much for half priced food and a half pro team.

Love it!!!

Gangsta's staying home? Parking a breeze. Half price grub? Time to go to the Dodger Game!

Nick In LA is..clueless
I just want to know what Frank did with all the money he made in the past 7 years.
When the tickets prices, parking went through the roof, no more dodger games!
Unlike sheepish bandwagon fans, i didnt wait til this season

Some guy named Steve with a blog tried to write an aritcle:
If they were winning games and hammering teams, the ball park would be full. Maybe. I have seen games across the country that are not selling tickets for prime time games. That is the way it is, these days. Maybe a little research by the writer, some guy named Lopez? How about down playing guys names with; Some Guy Named... PLease. Dude, you only say that because no one has ever paid you to play any game. well maybe a softball game. then again, probably not. Yes you can string a sentance or two together, but you are average at best. Went to see the Cubbies play three times and had a great time, as I always do at Dodgers stadium. Love the Cubs but always support the local teams.
Who care who owns the team? I go to see athletes throw down.

 
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