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As Dodgers seek ‘data,’ fans say all kids count

Hundreds of Dodgers fans e-mailed, most unhappy with the team’s new rule keeping everyone but the rich kids from getting autographs in Dodger Stadium.

“I bleed Dodger blue,” wrote Hector Javier Preciado. “I never felt that it was privileged royal blue.”

Two days later, and no one in the Dodgers’ administration has called Russell Wise, the fifth-grade teacher’s aide at Blythe Street Elementary in Reseda.

Wise e-mailed about Keanne, one of his students, who had been hoping to get an autograph, only to be rebuffed by the restrictions the unwashed now face at Dodger Stadium.

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A nice Dodgers move would have been to hire a bus and arrange for every kid at Blythe Street Elementary to attend a Dodgers game, making sure the players were waiting for them with Sharpies ready to sign. But that would have taken some thought.

“I attended the game last Tuesday with my boys,” wrote Chris Molony. “Like Mr. Wise, we too were not allowed to get anywhere close. We considered going out to the centerfield area, but we were told we could not get back into the stadium if we left the stadium level. I cannot express to you the disappointment in my boys after I had pumped them up for the week prior to the game.”

Several Dodgers fans, meanwhile, offered their tickets to Wise. “He can have my two dugout seats,” wrote Bill Shupper, “so he can have a better shot at getting autographs for his schoolkids.”

Tim Heiden, a Barstow police officer, said he has been blessed in life. “Please let me know whose autograph the little boy wants, and I will do everything in my power to see he gets it.”

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Hope the McCourts aren’t planning on driving through Barstow any time soon.

CALLED THE Dentist, the Dodgers’ new PR guy, and he said nothing has changed for the kids, but “we’ve had vigorous debate today about it. We need more data.”

Happy to oblige.

Kyle Daniels: “The move by the Parking Lot Attendant to ‘secure’ the box seats from autograph-seeking fans is flat-out LAME! If kids are alienated from the game, what do we have left -- although maybe we should keep the kids away from some of these players and their bad influences. Why don’t the players look out for their fans, the kids who sleep next to their gloves in their rooms decorated in Dodger blue?”

Eddie Alvarez: “How about pay toilets next? But only outside Aisle 40 and 41, and anything above field level.”

Josh Latzer: “I was one of those parents who had to explain to an 8-year-old daughter why she would not be getting an autograph. . . . Just another sad, pathetic reminder to the youth of today that money isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Shame on you Dodgers.”

The Dentist said discussions continue within the organization. “We’re hearing two sides and trying to bring it to a resolution,” he said. “We’re all ears.”

So we know the Dodgers’ new PR guy is hard of hearing. Try e-mailing him at fanfeedback@ladodgers.com to see if he can read.

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"[The Dentist] was legendary here in Bean Town,” wrote Dave Cook. “I am sure you are already seeing his magic at work.”

I know he can make kids disappear.

“To deprive certain children from getting autographs,” wrote Joel Delgadillo, “just because they’re not holding the right ticket stub? What the heck is this world coming to?”

From Mark Collum’s viewpoint, “I’m sure it was an errant spike-heel into an open peanut shell that sparked this new policy. Those $1,000 high heels do not do well on uneven pavement.”

Just remember, I’m not the one who dragged Frank’s Old Lady into this conversation.

The Dodgers said they received complaints about the crowded conditions in the field box seats, so the area is now off-limits to everyone without an expensive ticket in hand.

“So the snobs complain and then they get what they want?” wrote Matt Rogina. “Can the snobs then please complain about the lack of a true power hitter, a No. 1 pitcher and the large contracts given to Juan Pierre and Jason Schmidt?”

IF IT makes the unwashed feel any better, apparently even the rich kids are getting stiffed at times trying to get autographs.

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“I was in the Dugout Club last Tuesday,” wrote Mike Rizzi, “and the Dodgers advertise that there is a special place to get autographs after the game.

“After the game, EVERY player walked straight by, as if not one of those kids was there, everyone pretending to be on a cellphone or just ignoring the kids were there.

“Every kid was turned away without a signature from their on-field heroes, but fortunately for those attempting to get a signed ball, Joe Torre was more then willing to accommodate. As an adult, I was happy, but I just don’t see the kids preferring the manager [over the players.]”

Andruw Jones certainly isn’t doing much these days, and maybe the Dodgers ought to just have him signing autographs all night long.

FOR EVERY 100 objections received, one or two did agree with the new rule.

“Not to sound like a stuck-up snot, but 90% of the time the people swarming field level before the games for autographs are incredibly rude and don’t have a problem stepping on you or shoving you out of the way,” wrote Susan Lee. “This is not to sound racist, but a majority of Dodger fans appear to be ‘gangbanger types.’ ”

The type of fans the Dodgers attract is a different issue, and while a number of e-mailers wanted to express their unhappiness with the atmosphere in Dodger Stadium, what happens if all the kids go elsewhere?

“Nothing can match the autographs that my son and daughter get when we go to an Avengers game,” wrote Jose Bedolla-Lopez. “They may not be the most famous athletes, but to most 6- and 10-year-olds, it’s just the thought of any player signing a ball, jersey or even a used napkin.”

Now why don’t the Dodgers understand that?

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


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