The Dodgers v. Urbanism: NoCal 1, SoCal 0?

I hate to admit this with a bunch of co-bloggers from the Bay Area, but I think that the northerners have one here.

Ever since my Grandpa told me stories about dodging trolleys outside Ebbets Field, and then took me to the Dodgers’ 1972 Oldtimers’ Day, when they retired the numbers of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Sandy Koufax, I’ve pretty much been hooked on the team. For a few years in the late 90’s, I left, because they were owned by Rupert Murdoch, who is the Prince of Darkness (or the closest equivalent). But when Murdoch sold the team, I came back.

Perhaps not for long. The wonderful Streetsblog LA reports this not-so-wonderful story. Apparently, Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt:

believes it to be the city’s responsibility to help deliver people to the stadium via public transit so he can turn a profit.That’s not exactly how he phrased it, instead he mixed his message on last season’s Dodger Shuttle, the bus service that moved an average of just over 700 people to and from the stadium for the second half of the season and post season:

“The trolley has been a fantastic success,” McCourt said. “But it’s a few buses. We need robust, muscular public transit for Dodger Stadium to be a vibrant place. But that applies to the whole city, doesn’t it?”

Putting aside the reality that a 2008 federal law makes it difficult for agencies to provide transit service to sports teams, the Dodgers have refused to do anything to help the city cut the $400,000 price tag to run shuttle service for the season. As originally reported last week at Blogdowntown, the team refused to help line up sponsors for the shuttle, in violation of its agreement last season with the City Council.

What garbage. Here’s a guy making millions off of baseball fans, but is apparently unwilling to do the most minor thing to help the city and help fans get to the ballpark.

Frank, this is LA: we’ve got other things to do. And it’s not like your team has been hanging lots of pennants recently.

McCourt probably moonlights as an AIG executive, coupling underperformance with an astounding and grotesque sense of entitlement.

I think that a couple of decades ago, the City of Oakland had it right: just seize the team via eminent domain and leave the Masters of the Universe out of it.

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Reader Comments

3 Replies to “The Dodgers v. Urbanism: NoCal 1, SoCal 0?”

  1. McCourt is right that the public transit system in L.A. is a mess. Try getting to Dodger Stadium, or anywhere downtown, from UCLA or the West Side for a weeknight game. In New York, by contrast, it’s a $2 subway ride to Yankee Stadium — and the Steinbrenners didn’t pay for the subway system. Same in San Francisco, although it’s a mystery to me why anyone wants to watch the Giants play.

  2. “McCourt is right that the public transit system in L.A. is a mess.”

    And so his response is to make it WORSE.

    David, you are of course correct to observe that the Steinbrenners didn’t pay for the system. But the NYC system was put in place literally decades ago, with a very different urban form.

    If we are going to persuade people to take transit, then maybe we should provide them with some options to, you know, TAKE TRANSIT.

    As for the mystery of the Giants, you don’t understand: everyone in San Francisco is so breathtakingly brilliant and sophisticated that they can understand the deep metaphysical principles behind just how awful the Giants are.

  3. I really have no business defending the Dodgers, since they beat my beloved A’s in the 1988 World Series, but keep in mind that McCourt makes a ton of money off of parking and has little financial incentive to help fans avoid paying the exorbitant ($15) parking fee. The Dodgers have one of the most stable attendance bases in the game, so he’s not exactly going to be losing fans with this attitude — particularly with Manny back on the team and a very weak NL West. If you ask me, his biggest mistake was not the shuttle but was hiring Ned Colletti (from the Giants, no less) to be the GM. But that’s for another blog.

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Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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