At first I was resentful at Peter O'Malley for putting the Dodgers up for sale (Jan. 7). I'm frightened by the future of corporate-run Dodgers, a multipurpose stadium and high-priced athletes.
However, beyond the resentment is much gratitude. Thank you, Mr. O'Malley. You brought tremendous joy to my childhood. I will always carry fond memories of afternoon and night games with my father. I will always remember being at Game 3 of the 1982 World Series at Dodger Stadium. O'Malley and his ideals of what a baseball team should be are the enzyme to those rich and pleasant experiences. I understand and appreciate O'Malley's decision. I hope Angelenos know exactly what they are going to miss in the O'Malleys' absence.
* Concern has been raised about the new owner moving the team from Los Angeles. I am not worried about the team moving. I am worried about the team losing its reputation as a class organization. The Raiders talk about a "commitment to excellence," but the Dodgers demonstrate their commitment in their treatment of their players, the condition of the stadium, the stability of management and the quality of the minor league system.
* The announced intent to sell the Dodgers should not leave the residents of Echo Park gleeful at the prospect of new team ownership.
It is almost certain that the buyer will be a faceless large corporation that will have to schedule many additional off-season events to service the huge debt that will be incurred upon purchase of the franchise and its facilities.
The result will certainly be additional traffic congestion and noise for neighboring residents who in the past savaged O'Malley when he tried to expand operations to include a potential NFL franchise. I doubt the new owner will be as understanding to residents' concerns.
* It can come as little surprise that O'Malley will not continue his legacy. Major league baseball owners have demonstrated they don't care about the long-term prospects for the sport, such prospects forming the guiding principles of the Dodger franchise.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the Chavez Ravine neighbors, remembering a bucolic past that never happened, humiliated O'Malley last summer, when he attempted to build on the singular success of the Dodgers. His heart must be broken.
* This should be a great day for all Angelenos--we will finally get some real tax monies from Chavez Ravine (the same one we gave away nearly 50 years ago). I for one can see nothing but good coming from this sale--providing we are smart enough to not put one taxpayer dime into the next owner's pocket. This sports business is strictly a private enterprise for-profit business. Let the chips fall where they may, but for our sake (the taxpayers), please keep us out of the deal, and solvent!
* It was with shock and disbelief that I learned of the O'Malleys' intention to sell the Dodgers. As a fourth-generation Angeleno born shortly before the Dodgers' arrival, I have come to think of them and Dodger Stadium as two of only a few things handled generally well by Los Angeles and its city government. My hat is off to the O'Malley family for all they've done for baseball and the city.
There is reason for trepidation on the part of Angelenos. Don't let this event turn into a mandate for the wrecking ball, a team exodus, nor a countywide rhetorical brawl. The citizens of Los Angeles (a la those of Green Bay, Wis.) should consider owning the team and stadium.
RICHARD NEWTON MEYER
* Two days into the 1996 baseball season, I was hired into the Operations Department at Dodger Stadium to handle the organization's Community Focus phone line, talking with neighbors and fans about their myriad concerns: the football issue, stadium noise, the usher a fan perceived as rude, the underdone Dodger Dog. The job was an incredible experience for me, a lifelong Dodger fan, and I knew I'd like working at Chavez Ravine.
What I didn't know until I got there was the way the O'Malley-styled Dodger organization treated its employees. Never, in more than 25 years of work experience in Los Angeles, have I felt privileged to be part of a company so saturated with consideration, courtesy and plain, old-fashioned "niceness" toward its employees. From maintenance personnel on up to Mr. O'Malley himself, each and every person made me feel a valued member of the Dodger organization. Only a company run by a family like the O'Malleys, fostering loyalty and pride, can produce such a corporate culture. I will treasure the summer of '96 for the rest of my life.
* Now that O'Malley has announced his intention to sell the Dodgers, I can tell the world what a great guy this man is. Since 1982, O'Malley has quietly contributed more than a quarter-million dollars for scholarships and educational programs for bright California Latinos. I know that he has also contributed generously to other community activities.
No PR. No press releases.
On behalf of all of the people he has helped, I wish to thank him for his efforts to help improve the community in which he lives.
Youth Opportunities Foundation