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Dodgers Just Want to Give the Fans a Fighting Chance

The Dodgers have sold all the seats in the right-field pavilion to the L.A. Unified School District for next Tuesday’s game, honoring all youngsters who have improved their attendance in school.

No word on the left-field seats, which remain unsold on what still could be another $2 Tuesday “Fight Night,” giving the rowdies a chance to show the kids what will be expected from them in the future at Dodger Stadium.

A week ago the folks in left chanted nasty stuff about the fans seated in right, and while it probably would be educational for some of the kids who might be coming to next Tuesday’s game, I’m not sure it’s part of L.A. Unified’s current curriculum.

A Dodger spokesman said Monday that it hadn’t been determined whether next week’s game would be another $2 Tuesday, which seems pretty insensitive to the goons who would probably like to make some future plans.

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YOU WOULD think it would be a no-brainer -- thereby giving the McCourts the chance to do the right thing here. They sell out the seats in right -- filling it with kids who have improved their interest in school enough to attend more often -- giving the McCourts the opportunity to announce there will be no $2 Tuesday next week against Florida. Everybody feels better.

But get this: The Dodgers not only have not made such an announcement, they recently e-mailed some of their customers offering half-price tickets on field-level box seats and lower reserved-level seats for the three games against the Marlins. Upgrade opportunities, if you will, for the goons.

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THE DODGERS, of course, just don’t get it. They are under the guidance of an outside crisis management team hired to make them look good because they just can’t get it right. It’s all about spin these days.

On Monday they sent me a copy of the original April 22 press release announcing "$2 True Blue Tuesdays,” pointing out that nowhere in the release does it say every Tuesday will be a $2 Tuesday. This is probably the Dodgers’ way of saying there will never be another $2 Tuesday.

They also will probably call today to say the goons will never get their hands on the half-price tickets because the offer is only for faithful fans who have previously bought Dodger tickets. Of course, faithful Dodger fans these days are beginning to resemble faithful Raider fans more and more every game.

They put out another press release Monday -- “Los Angeles Dodgers Enhance Security and Safety at Dodger Stadium” -- announcing that uniformed Los Angeles Police Department officers will be added to the security force beginning Friday. I’m sure the Raiders did the same thing.

The Dodgers also put out an 11-point “fan code of conduct” in their press release, and I’m sure the goons are rushing to the team’s website right now to read what they can and cannot do.

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A $2 night is good for Dodger business. They draw a larger crowd on a night when business would ordinarily be down, make more money from parking and concessions, and inflate the season totals in attendance, which allows them to set higher advertising and sponsorship rates at season’s end.

But now there’s no question that the Raider-fan mentality has begun to get a foothold at Dodger Stadium. It’s no longer a baseball game but chaos now on the $2 nights, which is why the Dodgers have called on increased security.

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I blame it on the loud music, of course, which at times makes people just go berserk. (I’m pretty sure I’d be writing like Plaschke if it wasn’t for the loud music.)

The Dodgers have added unsportsmanlike conduct to the Dodger Stadium experience, playing “Hit The Road Jack” when an opposing pitcher is removed and other derogatory sound effects when the opposition messes up.

I’m not sure you can go to a Dodger game anymore without the fans chanting something with the word “suck” attached. I don’t think you’re going to hear Vin Scully trying to decipher what the crowd is saying ever again.

Listen to the team’s postgame radio show with Dodger fans calling in to complain about being caught in the Dodger Stadium crossfire -- fans throwing food and drink at folks who dare to wear another team’s jersey. Sound familiar?

The upshot of all this is that some people will begin to stay away from Dodger Stadium -- just like what happened with the Coliseum and the Raiders.

“It’s not about the total volume of rowdiness,” said Pat Lynch, the general manager of the Coliseum, who has seen the good (USC crowds), the bad (Raider crowds) and the ugly (Raider crowds). “It might only be 5% who ruin it for everyone else, but then fewer people come to the games, the rowdies become more visible and the bad image takes over.”

I miss the good old days when you could count on the players on the field being the ones with the bad images. But now everyone wants in the act.

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JAMIE McCOURT has started a new program, “WIN -- Women’s Initiative & Network,” designed to give more women opportunities in baseball. If one could play third base, she could start right now for the Dodgers.

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GOOD NEWS for such big-time sports publicists as John Black, Steve Brener and Tim Mead in their quest to become No. 1 in L.A., now that Derrick Hall has accepted the same job he had with the Dodgers -- moving on to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Dodgers still haven’t recovered from Hall’s decision not to work for the McCourts, and have already dismissed his replacement while going outside to a crisis management specialist to fix the front office’s image. That might take a miracle worker, but he’s on his way now to work for the Diamondbacks.

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TODAY’S LAST word comes from Page 2:

I see where trainer Jeff Mullins’ horse, Buzzards Bay, placed fifth in the Kentucky Derby ...

... only a milkshake shy of winning it all.

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T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.


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