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Buy Dodgers? It's food for thought

If the Fan of the House columnist purchased the team, changes could involve Tony La Russa and a new concessions policy.

April 18, 2013|Chris Erskine
  • If the Fan of the House owned the Dodgers, he'd make some changes. One of them involves Tony La Russa.
If the Fan of the House owned the Dodgers, he'd make some changes. One… (Rob Carr / Getty Images )

I'm considering buying the Dodgers.

New ownership seems wise at this point, though I will confess that my judgment may be impaired after wolfing down four Dodger Dogs the other night. Sodium poisoning soon set in, and then there was this 2-year-old billy-clubbing everyone around us with his little souvenir bat, sharp as an elbow.

"Great, now he's armed," grumbled the guy next to me.

I was with my peeps in the right-field pavilion. It's where the real fans reside, the working men and women of Los Angeles, plunking down $27 for admission and the all-you-can-eat buffet they serve in this part of the park.

Sometimes, I just stop by Dodger Stadium for dinner. If that includes getting waled on by 2-year-olds, dancing Gangnam style, that seems a small sacrifice to make.

It's time for Dodger baseball!

As incoming owner, the first thing I do is get us a better announcer. Sure, the TV guy they have now is a pretty face and there's a hint of Beethoven in his amazing voice, but does he really know the game?

Next thing I do as owner is turn the entire place into all-you-can-eat concessions. That's based on what's going on out here in the right-field pavilion. It's got a great vibe, partly because it's the only real value available at the old ballyard anymore. Do the math.

OK, I'll do the math: At a regular Dodgers concession stand, two dogs, peanuts and a soft drink will run you $24.50. In the pavilion, you get unlimited grub, and admission, all for $27. That means your ticket is running you $2.50. Add a free bag of popcorn to your tray and you've beaten the house.

And who eats just two Dodger Dogs? Well, usually I do. Dodger Dogs are like martinis: One isn't enough, and three are too many.

Two seem just right, though around the seventh inning I always find myself craving just one more dog.

So, two Dodger Dogs are just right, and three are even righter. Four is complete misery, though I'm not passing judgment. One dude I ran into Tuesday night had five before the game even started.

There are two more things I will do as Dodgers owner, three if you count bringing in Tony La Russa as manager, but that seems a given. He's probably coming in anyway, unless the Angels panic first. I'd wager on a La Russa-Pujols second marriage.

But enough about marriage, let's get back to the important stuff.

After hiring La Russa, I'd bring in the wandering beer vendors, mysteriously absent in Dodger Stadium for decades. The only explanation for their absence is that baseball fans don't like beer, but I sense otherwise.

Former owner Peter O'Malley says that, to his knowledge, beer vendors have never worked the stadium, and dates the policy to the team's original L.A. venue, the Coliseum, where such sales were prohibited.

The last thing I'd do as the new Dodgers owner is take back the concessions. Currently, the team contracts with Levy Restaurants to run the stands, and the counter clerks are almost always courteous but glacially slow.

"In my 15 years as a season-ticket holder, I have never once seen a concession stand employee act with any kind of urgency," Brian Gadinsky said after a long wait earlier this season. "There can be one person in line, or 50, the pace is the same.... It's unnerving."

Gadinsky suggests nightly cash bonuses for counter clerks, and a season-long competition between stands to improve performance. Both ideas will be implemented under my management.

By the way, sampled the new "street tacos" the other night, and found them lacking. For $7.50 they arrived in a tub of their own hemoglobin, looking like the sludgy goo that sits in Little Tokyo windows for five hours. To sell a taco like this in L.A. is like selling lousy tea in London.

So I'd fire Levy, then hire back the workers, giving them incentives and direction. The person taking your money would not be the same person who walks 12 steps to grab a carton of nachos and — squirt- squirt-squirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt — cheeses the nachos, then dodges her co-workers as they attempt to grab a bag of peanuts.

Who came up with this work flow, the TSA?

Listen, by the time we're done, those concessions will look like Tinker to Evers to Chance. Or better yet, Russell to Lopes to Garvey.

"Turn two!" would be the new motto.

Or, in my case, turn three or four.

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