Dodgers' fans deserve some different prizes

On Fan Appreciation Day at Dodger Stadium, they will give away such things as a Hello Kitty gift basket and high-definition camcorder kit. Bill Plaschke has some suggestions on what fans really want.

Oh, good, it's time for that annual ritual in which the Dodgers attempt to appease those unfortunate ticketholders who spend one inning trying to park and two innings trying to buy a hot dog.

OK, so they're attempting to appease everyone, which is why it's called Fan Appreciation Day, occurring Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium during a game against the horrid Colorado Rockies, which should be appreciation enough.

My favorite prize is four tickets to a regular-season Kings home game. The lucky winner will be considerably luckier if there actually is a hockey regular season.

My second-favorite prize is a lunch for two with Hall of Famer Tom Lasorda, which could be conveniently paired with three other prizes — a one-year supply of Coca-Cola products, a one-year supply of Wetzel's Pretzels, and a one-year supply of Frosted Flakes cereal.

Seriously, at this point, 24 years after their last world championship, the only prize that would make Dodgers fans feel appreciated would be another championship.

Well, that, and one of the new owners realizing that this sport is baseball and not basketball and TURNING DOWN THE STADIUM VOLUME.

The actual prize: The Dodgers grounds crew visits your house and works on your lawn.

A better prize: A revamped Dodgers infield for next season featuring Hanley Ramirez at third base and Luis Cruz in some sort of platoon at shortstop.

Ramirez has to be convinced to move to third base because he doesn't field well enough to play shortstop every day, especially in a pitching park such as Dodger Stadium.

Cruz may be a fan favorite and the season's best story, but remember, he's batting above .300 in only 74 games, which may be just about right.

"When we acquired Hanley, we wanted to be see if he was open to whatever Donnie [Mattingly] wanted him to do, and he was, so we'll see what happens," said General Manager Ned Colletti on Saturday.

The actual prize: A Las Vegas Experience that includes three nights at a casino resort.

A better prize: An ace.

I know, the Dodgers already have Clayton Kershaw, but they need another top-shelf starting pitcher to compensate for the possible long loss of Chad Billingsley and their bevy of middle guys, including Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Josh Beckett.

It sounds crazy to think the Dodgers could add a high-priced free agent such as Zack Greinke or make another deal for a big-money arm, but after what happened this summer, could they do anything that would surprise us?

"I think we have to look for another starting pitcher," admitted Colletti, later adding, "I think it's clear our owners have shown they are really excited about this thing and the possibility of bringing this town a championship."

The actual prize: Hello Kitty gift basket.

A better prize: Hello Carl Crawford.

If you listen to all the whining from Boston Red Sox fans — do they do anything else? — you would think Crawford is more foul than that infamous Popeye's chicken. Yet throw out his Fenway follies and you have a guy with National League skills finally going to the National League. His recovery from elbow surgery, and subsequent positioning in left field and at the top of the order, will change this team in ways that folks with short memories cannot imagine.

"This is a breath of fresh air for Carl,'' said Colletti. "When I talked to him after the trade, he was as happy as any player I've spoken to during that kind of call … you could sense his relief."