It’s no big secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers have had its fair share of off field issues within the last year. They have managed to go from one of baseball’s most illustrious franchises, to a team struggling to make ends meet, all thanks to an ongoing court battle for ownership of the team. Attendance has fallen, they have asked for cash advances from advertisers to pay players and now one coach has opened his mouth, adding more fuel to the proverbial fire.
Davey Lopes has long been a well respected member of the Dodgers organization. Drafted by the team in 1972, Lopes spent ten years with Dodgers and helped lead the franchise to their fourth World Series title since moving from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. Recently, Lopes has spent the last two decades coaching for several different franchises and even earned his second World Series win with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, before heading back to LA this past offseason, back to where it all began.
Lopes enjoyed his time in Philly, but due to a difference in what he was worth between himself and Phillies management, he decided to make the move. But now Lopes doesn’t approve of what has happened to the Dodgers and the many problems surrounding the team. On Tuesday morning, Lopes spoke to the Philadelphia Daily News about his time with the Phillies, comparing the two franchises.
“I have nothing but great memories of this ballpark, and the fans, I consider the best in baseball. The intensity level coming into the ball park every day, I miss that tremendously. As you’ll see when you go to LA with the empty seats. They’re something you’re not used to seeing in L.A,” Lopes said.
When asked about his move west this season and the drama surrounding the Dodgers, Lopes seemed anything but happy with how it has gone.
“It's different. It's been good, yeah. But it's different. It's not like what I remember. Put it that way,” he said. “It is what it is, for now. We'll see what happens in the near future.”
The Dodgers have had one problem after the next this season and this is just one more story that has kept them in the spotlight. It comes just days after ESPN reported that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt got advances from team sponsors to help meet the Dodgers’ payroll for the month of May and this was after he took a $30 million loan to pay for the team’s bills in April.
But they’re the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’re the Yankees of the west coast, meaning they’re one of the most marketable franchises in sports. So why are they having such a tough time making a profit?
With all the bad press surrounding the team, many of the locals have decided to stay away. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times last week, attendance is down 7,013 per game. Add in a 10% drop in television ratings and it is clear that the fans don’t think they are getting their money’s worth.
For now the only thing that the team can do is go out and put a quality product on the field. At 28-33, they are only five and a half games out of first place, which is certainly not insurmountable. They need to continue to win games and hope they can win back their fans, despite all the negative media attention.
Photo Courtesy of: ASSOCIATED PRESS