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The Grinch that are the McCourts

The annoucement today that ticket prices for upper tier seats are going up by as much as $3 per ticket is outrageous.

The tickets for seats in the reserve and general admission sections are obviously those purchased by young people and less financially fortunate families who regardless of their financial difficulties continue to be fans and want to enjoy being at the ballpark. These are loyal fans to even want to enjoy a game from that distance.

Frank McCourt has clearly shown over the past five years that he doesn't care about anything more than the bottom line. He may give to a charity (needs write-offs) or he may offer some benign special ticket package making sure everyone knows about it, when sales are off but the truth is he's really done nothing for the fan that hasn't lined his pockets first.

Look at the changes he made to Dodger Stadium. They were not about providing better seating but rather more seating. There are seats in the field box level that are so bad they only give them to employees or they sell them to guerilla marketers who con people into thinking they're buying great seats only to be disappointed when they get to the ballpark and sit in them. These are seats that you litterally have to sit on a small corner of the seat in order to turn your body to see the game. If you sit back in the seat you're looking out in the outfield.

What about parking since Mr. McCourt took over it's increased 300% to $15.00 a car and you still have to walk about the equivalent of 4 blocks to get to the entrance.

We've recently learned that it's all about paying his $8 million salary a year and increasing his highly leveraged land asset. He bought the team for $355 million and it's now worth according to Forbes, $800 million. Not a bad profit for a land developer. Mr. McCourt is the antipathy of the O'Malley's. It's all about him and no matter how hard he tries to use the press to reflect a benevolent owner - it's easy to see beyond his words that the reality is that his self interest always comes first. Look at his wife's actions, Jamie McCourt knows what Mr. McCourt is about too. It's probably why she has no qualms about getting whatever she can get from him to maintain her extravagant lifestyle. It's easy for him to paint her as the villain but the question needs to be raised by those of us who are less naieve. Why does someone who shares a home and family with someone for all these years have such little regard for them? I would suggest that we all be a little less naive and gullible and open our eyes to seeing beyond the public relations efforts he obviously pays so much to conduct against her.

The Country is in a depression. Unemployment is over 10% and in Los Angeles it's probably as high as 14%. Yet the Dodgers are raising ticket prices. What is going on here? Is there no regard for others? Is this all about money and nothing else?

Let's look at some facts to reveal the true intent of Mr. McCourt. The Dodgers farm system is ranked 23rd. The Dodgers have paid $8.5 million in signing bonuses for draft picks over the past two years - the lowest figure among all major league teams. The Dodgers are now considered a non-factor in bidding for top amateur players in Asia and Latin America. In 2008, major league teams combined to sign 115 players from these countries for bonuses of more than $100,000.00. The Dodgers did not sign one. They passed up Sabbathia, Cliff Lee and Halladay and I would suggest they would've passed on Manny Ramirez if is wasn't for the fear of the outrage that would've been raised had he done so.

This has been his management decision while Dodger stadium attendance last year was 3,761,669 over the 82 games; an average attendance of about 46,000 per game. At an average $30 a ticket the Dodgers made over $100 million just in ticket sales. Assume that there are about 2.2 people per car - each game brings in $313,000.00 in parking. That's about $26 million a year just in parking receipts. That still leaves concessions, food, licensing, television, etc. Yet Mr. McCourt feels he has the need to raise ticket prices for the people who buy them.

There's little doubt that Mr. McCourt is in the real estate business and it's quite evident that the standard in that business is about one thing and that is making money. Now don't get me wrong - I'm as big a capitalist as the next guy and I believe we should be able to make as much money as we can - but I also believe that in this ideology what is lost is the idea of fairness and balance and it should not always be about thinking of me first. How I wish that the O'Malleys had kept their team. Since they've left the Dodgers have become nothing more than a business. I hope Jamie get's her pound of flesh even if it means cutting the baby in half. It would serve the greedy McGrinch right. Let's see if he does anything for the fans in the Free Agency market. He's already said they won't be going after Halladay. He'd probably rather build those condominums along the hillside where the Think Blue sign usually goes. It's a sad day for Dodger Fans.