Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Rich Get Richer at Dodger Stadium

Last week Angels GM Arte Moreno, by chance or design, did a small kindness for some fans. We wondered, would Frank McCourt try to demonstrate his PR savvy with a similar gesture?

Apparently not. SoSG recently wrote about the Dodgers' front office elitism regarding public transportation to Dodger Stadium. Now that snobbery—under the guise of customer service—has crept into the stadium. On the Field Level, in fact. From T.J. Simers at the LA Times:

No signing bonus for the 'riffraff' at Dodgers games

A new rule at stadium denies field-level access to autograph seekers who don't have box seats, another example of McCourts' let-them-eat-cake attitude toward average fans.

One of the worst things about Dodger Stadium is that most fans are denied access to the entire stadium. Until this season, you had to buy Field Level seats—the most expensive seats in the park—to even have a chance at getting close enough to the players for an autograph. But at least the worst Field Level seat gave you a chance.

Now, according to Simers, the Dodgers' policy has been amended to deny non-box seat holders (i.e., everybody except those closest to the field) access to autographs in order to alleviate pre-game foot traffic around box seat holders. Most of who, Simers notes, show up after the game has started.

I've scored a few autographs (thank you, James Baldwin and Kaz Ishii!) and even a bullpen session baseball on the Field Level, and it saddens me to see the Dodgers further penalize their economically developing fanbase to placate an inconvenienced few. It's bad enough that Dodger Stadium's non-roamable tiered structure reinforces a physical separation of fans based on ticket prices—a class metaphor if ever there were one—but rewarding those who don't need rewarding (see sixth picture) will only result in the same group of people getting autographs from the same group of players, over and over.

Dodger baseball may still be one of the more affordable sporting events in town, but these types of rules only serve to increase the distance between the team and its fans. "The McCourts have taken a snooty approach to the unwashed for some time now," writes Simers, and we can only watch as the gap gets wider.


Rob said...

Remember the $2 tickets and what subsequently happened to Milton Bradley? Keeping the riffraff away from the players strikes me as a good thing.

Orel said...

If you consider someone spending $40-130 for a Field-level seat riff-raff, then yes.

Steve Sax said...

I'd like to see what Milton Bradley, plus one coke bottle, would have done to that Bubble Bobble-playing kid. It would have looked like a Tarantino film, I tell you.

Eric Karros said...

If you do a googlesearch on the word "non-roamable," your post is the second result listed.

jmk said...

I encourage everyone who sits in the "cheap" field level seats to bring a camera with video capability and a 10 year old kid to the game. Have one person video the kid getting turned away by the ushers from the fancy empty seats and post it online. Maybe we can embarrass the Dodgers into some Class and Common Sense.

Steve Sax said...

Jeremy, that's an excellent idea. Better yet, let's get a video of said kid getting carted away by security when he tries to get an autograph...of Frank McCourt.

what_difference_does_it_make said...

I've been to many games this season and I've had seats all the way at the top of the stadium and I've had seats almost next to first base and it's true the lower you go (seat wise) in the stadium, the better everything is. for example at top deck the restrooms are filthy,they have concrete walls with poor halogen lighting and they have this long urinal that 15 people go on at the same time and when you go wash your hands the water pressure is low and the soap sucks. Now if you happen to go to field level they have porcelain floors with individual urinals great lighting with automatic faucets and here's the kicker...Dyson "air wall" hand dryers! They even have a wider selection of beer at field level!