Boycott the Dodgers?

If Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is going to be so contemptuous of his fans, then maybe they should return the favor.

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.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.