Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dodgers Invest More Money In Off-Field Upgrades

Not sure how to take the Dodgers' announcement yesterday that the Dodgers are increasing payroll...just not team payroll Rather, the Dodgers are deploying money toward the front office team with the hire of a new Vice Chairman:

LOS ANGELES - Civic and business leader Steve Soboroff is joining the Los Angeles Dodgers as vice chairman with responsibility for leading efforts to improve the fan experience at the stadium, strengthening ties to the region’s community and philanthropic organizations, and expanding conservation and sustainability programs at Dodger Stadium. He will report directly to Dodger Owner Frank McCourt.

Soboroff, who begins in the new role today, will coordinate the implementation of recommendations from former Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton’s team to enhance safety, security and the overall fan experience at Dodger Stadium. Soboroff will also step up efforts by the Dodger organization to expand the positive impacts of the Dodgers throughout Southern California.

“Steve understands this city as few others do, and his contributions have made Los Angeles a better place,” said McCourt. “Not only will he infuse great ideas and energy to the Dodger organization, but he will use his trademark ‘get-it-done’ approach to extend the Dodgers’ positive impact on Los Angeles. It starts with a quality fan experience in the stadium, and extends throughout the Southern California community.” [...]

"You will see me in every section of the ballpark checking things out, listening to fans, and taking strong actions in a number of areas. And I'm in a hurry," he said. "The Dodgers are one of the great professional sports franchises in the world, and an important civic institution in Southern California. Frank has empowered me to set a new standard when it comes to the fan experience and the Dodgers' impact on the Los Angeles community. ... The fan experience starts with a safe, comfortable, family environment, and extends from there."

Soboroff said he is not working with a contract, he has no equity stake in the club and isn't seeking any. Nor, he said, does he plan another run for public office, having lost a mayoral bid in 2001. He said his new role is "not about football or real estate development" but as a "public policy guy," he "can't think of a better place to make an impact" than with the Dodgers.

It's one thing for Frank McCourt to spend money toward increased LAPD presence and retaining of Kroll Inc. as a security consultant to make Dodger games safer, in the wake of the Bryan Stow tragedy on Opening Day (and as what many in the media classified as a late response to the situation).

But hiring another highly-compensated, "respected civic leader" to the front office staff, and having one of his primary responsibilities be "checking things out" around the ballpark? I mean, I get the intent and everything, but we really could use a better second baseman than Juan Uribe. And maybe a couple of bullpen arms that aren't found on the scrap heap, as well.

Maybe we can get Soboroff to spend some of his time walking around the dugout and making an assessment of team improvement opportunities, as well. I have a feeling that on-field performance, though not mentioned in this press release, is also correlated with "fan experience" levels.

Welcome to the circus, Steve!

25 comments:

Loney Fan said...

I understand your frustration Sax, but I would rather watch a crappy Dodger team in a great environment. It is horrible that Stow is in a coma. It also sucks that we cannot drink half price beer because the stadium has gotten out of control. Let's wait to see what impact he has. We can't call out McCourt for the state of the fan experience and then get mad at him for spending money to try to fix it.

NicJ said...

What does "fan experience" entail?

Hopefully it means shorter foodservice waits, a solution to the horrible parking problem, friendlier stadium workers,
And maybe even THE NEW HD SCOREBOARD I WAS PROMISED THREE YEARS AGO!!!

MR.F said...

I hope after Steve's observations, his final recommendation to Frank to improve Dodger fan experience is that Frank sell the team.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

What became of those mobile concession stands?

Steve Sax said...

SF up 1-0 over the Rockies.

This is tough, but I think I'm pulling for the NL West-leading Rockies.

MR.F said...

This is easy. I am pulling for the NL-west leading Rockies.

Steve Sax said...

Ty Wigginton just hit a three-run HR to give the Rox a 4-1 lead. Cain saw ten batters in the second inning.

Steve Sax said...

More importantly, Ty Wigginton badge (Rox, HR)! (Though I already had Wigginton in my display case.)

Mr. Customer said...

The Giants could be 0-161, and I'd still be pulling for the Rockies.

Steve Sax said...

@Loney Fan, fair point; adding Soboroff is a good step in a positive direction. Adding Beltre would have been a good step, too.

And we should trade Loney for Pujols straight up.

MR.F said...

High five Mr. C!

http://www.indiescreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/95-Internet-High-Five.jpg

Pistol Pete Reiser said...

@ MR. F


I think I broke my colon laughing at that hi-five.

Spank said...

I broke my brain trying to type Mr.F's link.

Josh S. said...

MLB taking over financial operations of the Dodgers.

See ya, Frank.

Mr. Customer said...

Say what now?!

To the internet!

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Who needs Susan Lucci when you've got the McCourt Saga?

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

MLBTR is already littered with shitty trade ideas.

Mr. Customer said...

If this is the beginning of a Tom Hicks style ousting, I will be MOST pleased, even if it sucks in the short term.

Steve K said...

http://twitter.com/#!/BillShaikin/status/60808569829855232

Spank said...

It was bound to happen. The payroll loan was probably the last straw.

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

I'd prefer a Hicks-esque removal to what the Padres went through.

Steve K said...

From the Dylan Hernandez article about Soboroff:

"In September, Soboroff submitted an op-ed letter to The Times in support of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. The letter was sent a week after former owner Peter O'Malley said McCourt should sell the team."

I wonder if that had anything to do with the hiring.

karina said...

OMG, Steve K! *speechless*

MLB taking over the Dodgers sounds that the team situation is worse than we think.

karina said...

high five, Mr F! that was awesome

MR.F said...

High-five Karina!