MLB Franchise Notes: Dodgers Owners Put Stamp On Franchise In First Full Season
In L.A., Bill Plaschke wrote, "This was the summer it was fun to be a Dodger again." If there is an "overriding theme to the tumultuously delightful season in which Los Angeles' most enduring sports power regained its hold on a city's heart, that is it." For the first time since '98, "when the venerable Peter O'Malley sold the team into years of chaos, the Dodgers gave Los Angeles real hope for the future." Guggenheim Baseball Management "brought back fun" in its first full season as team owner. Improved amenities, "cleaner facilities and updated between-innings entertainment made the formerly cramped and tense Dodger Stadium a more fun place for the fans, whose regular-season turnout produced a league-leading 3.7 million attendance figure." The new ownership "brought back a connection" (L.A. TIMES, 10/20).
BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Cardinals Chair & CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said of the franchise's success in the 2000's, "We had great teams in that era, but I knew that that wasn’t sustainable because as that group aged, we would need younger players. With the new labor agreement that was coming in, teams were holding on to their players. We were opportunistic prior to that by getting players from other clubs, but we made a conscious decision back in the ’03 and ’04 time frame that we were going to throw a lot of resources and make every effort to build from within. So we had a strategy to do that. Rather than giving up draft choices, we tried to accumulate draft choices" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/20).
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR CAN MAKE: N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said the Red Sox' one-year turnaround from the bottom of the AL East to playing in the World Series is "as dramatic as any I can remember because the Red Sox had so quickly and badly damaged the amazing brand that they had built when John Henry and Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino got the team." Lupica: "For this to happen one year later, I can’t remember anything better than this in baseball” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 10/20).
BEERS ON ICE: In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted the Brewers, coming off a 74-88 year and the suspension of LF Ryan Braun, "have decided to freeze season-ticket prices" for '14. The Brewers drew 2,531,105 fans to Miller Park this season, down from '12, "when the team drew 2,831,385 fans" (JSONLINE.com, 10/18).
RYAN'S SONG: In Ft. Worth, Jim Reeves wrote about outgoing Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan under the header, "Ryan Branded Rangers With Sense Of Place, Commitment." Reeves: "How can one of the team’s majority owners admit that Ryan is irreplaceable, that there are no more Nolan Ryans on the marketplace, and then still allow him to walk away?" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/20).