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Dodgers fans outside stadium protest McCourt ownership

Chanting 'McCourt must go,' 75 to 100 Dodgers fans implore others to join a boycott of the team over the ongoing ownership issues.

July 09, 2011|By Jim Peltz
  • A view from the top level of Dodger Stadium reveals thousands of empty seats during Saturday's game.
A view from the top level of Dodger Stadium reveals thousands of empty seats… (Kirby Lee / US Presswire )

The Dodgers aren't the only ones struggling with attendance. A protest of the team's ownership also drew a relatively small but boisterous crowd Saturday in front of Dodger Stadium.

About 75 to 100 people took part in a "Save the Dodgers" rally to protest Frank McCourt's continued ownership of the club, which he recently placed in bankruptcy proceedings amid an ongoing struggle with Major League Baseball over the team's future.

"My kids are 4 and 2, and I want to bring them to games, but I'm not going to bring them here, and I'm not going to a game and give that man any more of my money," said one protester, Rob Stelmar of La Mirada. "He needs to sell the team."

The protesters — most of whom wore Dodgers jerseys, T-shirts and caps — began gathering about an hour before the Dodgers' 1 p.m. game against the San Diego Padres, crowding around the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Elysian Park Avenue near one of the stadium's entrances.

Led by one protester with a bullhorn, they chanted "McCourt must go!" and "Boycott the Dodgers!" to passing cars heading into the stadium as four Los Angeles police officers kept a quiet watch nearby. Several protesters also held signs, including one that read, "McCourt Please Sell the Dodgers."

The game's paid attendance was announced as 29,744, although that figure appeared generous. The Dodgers won, 1-0.

The protest was organized by Roger Arrieta, 39, a web graphic designer in West Covina who launched the website SavetheDodgers.com, a Facebook page and a Twitter account to protest current ownership.

Arietta said he was not disappointed by the rally's turnout. "So far, so good," he said, adding that he would consider additional rallies if the ownership battle drags on.

Sonia Fernandez of La Puente said she decided to attend Saturday after reading about it on Facebook.

"I'm a lifelong Dodger fan, and it really breaks my heart to see what Frank McCourt has done to our team and to the illustrious history of this organization," Fernandez said. "We deserve better in Los Angeles."

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch declined to comment on the rally.

james.peltz@latimes.com

Times staff writer Dylan Hernandez contributed to this report.

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