Went to a Dodger game, and a nap broke out

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times has a first-person report on buying Dodgers tickets for $2.55 each and going to a half-empty game at Dodger Stadium, which gets you scenes like this:

There were no lines to enter the parking lot, no lines to enter the stadium, and nobody clogging the concourses as we walked to our seats just in time to watch the first of many lousy pitches from Chad Billingsley.

Actually, I don’t think those were our seats. Because our section was virtually empty, we could pick any seat we wanted, so we pulled into a middle row and spread out like three people sitting in an empty theater before a bad movie.

We put our feet up on the seat in front of us. We spread our arms across the seats between us. There were no heads to block our view. There was little sound to distract our attention. Down below, the Dodgers and Reds battled each other as if they were Little Leaguers playing for a handful of parents.

It was actually pretty cool. Life in Frank McCourt’s Ghost Town is eerie, but it has its advantages.

Plaschke’s column is mostly a good reminder that official sales figures don’t reflect either actual attendance or actual ticket prices, especially in the age of StubHub. I know I went to a New York Red Bulls game a few weeks back, and sat in what were technically $20 seats, but paid only $5 apiece through a discount program the team runs for my son’s AYSO soccer league; and while press reports had it a virtual sellout of the 20,000 seat stadium, there’s no way more than 5,000 people were there. (Not that this made it any easier to get in and out of the parking lot.)

We are badly in need of legit attendance figures, especially when cities are basing subsidies on the amount of foot traffic a team is expected to generate — but unless the sports leagues see that as in their best interests, or we get an iPhone app that estimates attendance and lets us crowd-source this, don’t hold your breath.

McCourt sale to spur Dodger Stadium demolition, NFL land flip-flop?

This is so far into rumor-land that I don’t even know what to do with it, but here it is, courtesy of Yahoo! NFL writer Jason Cole:

Out of all the places in L.A. available to build an NFL-quality stadium (the Los Angeles Coliseum site is out of the running with USC in charge of it), the Dodger Stadium site in Chavez Ravine is the one most coveted by the NFL. That’s not new information, but the critical obstacle the past eight years has been [Dodgers owner Frank] McCourt, who the NFL has been leery of working with for the financial reasons Major League Baseball is now addressing…

There are some who see even bigger ideas with the Dodgers potentially in play. The idea of moving the team from Chavez Ravine to the downtown site where Anschutz Entertainment Group president Tim Leiweke has been proposing a football stadium has been met with some interest among people inside baseball and the L.A. sports scene…

If someone with extremely deep pockets (such as Anschutz) could buy the Dodgers, build a football stadium next to Dodger Stadium and then buy a football team, the marketing possibilities could be endless. … Or, there’s this idea: Anschutz, who NFL people think just wants another professional team to help build the traffic and convention business downtown, could buy the Dodgers and basically flip the stadiums. He could use the convention center space for a state-of-the-art baseball stadium, tear down Dodger Stadium and build a football paradise in Chavez Ravine. Of course, the cost would be problematic, but the idea for someone like Anschutz isn’t farfetched because it would build the value of the downtown area.

That’s all a heck of a lot of hand-waving speculation, and Cole provides exactly bupkis in terms of numbers making the case that this would cost out. (Or quotes from any named sources, for that matter.) Still, McCourt has explored the idea of an NFL stadium at Chavez Ravine in the past, so it’s not entirely crazy. Unless you consider anything to do with McCourt as inherently crazy, which probably isn’t a bad assumption.

Could Dodgers mess derail A’s move even more than it’s already derailed?

I haven’t chimed in here yet on MLB commissioner Bud Selig’s takeover of the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ finances — you can see a brief writeup I did for Baseball Prospectus here and more discussion during my chat here — because it didn’t seem to affect any stadium issues. But that could be changing, as the fine folks at Newballpark.org note:

The McCourt-Dodgers meltdown could have an unusual and for-now unmeasurable impact on the A’s depending on one decision: Who will be brought in to oversee the team now that MLB has seized it? According to ESPNLA’s Tony Jackson, the shortlist has three candidates:

* Stan Kasten, former Nats president

* John McHale, Jr., executive VP within MLB

* Corey Busch, frequent MLB committee member and former team exec

Yes, that’s the same Corey Busch who’s on the A’s stadium panel with Irwin Raij and Bob Starkey.

If it’s Busch, you can forget about him spending much time finalizing that never-finalized A’s relocation report he’s supposed to be working on. Unless, of course, the study is actually done, and it’s just waiting on A’s owner Lew Wolff and San Francisco Giants owner Bill Neukom to come to an agreement on how much the A’s would pay the Giants for territorial rights to San Jose. Something that’s not likely to happen without the involvement of Selig, who’s now going to be busy fighting with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt over the future of that team.

Add in that Wolff (as well as Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio) has been rumored as a possible buyer of the Dodgers (Wolff swears he’s not interested), and it’s a fair bet that nothing is going to be moving on the A’s situation until the Dodgers mess is untangled. Which, if McCourt files a lawsuit as expected, could take years. Good thing attendance in Oakland is up.

McCourt: The NFL so totally wants me to build a football stadium

Give Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (no, not that one) credit, he knows how to make headlines. When he’s not talking about the bitter divorce trial he’s engaged in, he’s … okay, this actually came up during his divorce trial anyway:

Court filings in the divorce case revealed that McCourt also remains active in planning for an NFL stadium in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

“There’s no question L.A. should have an NFL franchise,” he said. “It’s probably the worst-kept secret in Los Angeles that the NFL would love to be at Chavez Ravine. Other than that, I can’t comment right now.”

Yeah, that’ll distract the press from your marital problems in a hurry. There doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence that the NFL is working on a Chavez Ravine stadium other than McCourt’s oblique hint, but that still has the NFL rumor mill a-flutter that the NFL is turning its back on Ed Roski’s City of Industry stadium that’s supposed to bring in two teams and somehow pay for itself and instead is looking to L.A. proper. Because this is totally different from the last time McCourt tried to woo the NFL to his land and got nowhere. Totally.