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If Frank McCourt can’t field a champion, at least he can squeeze fans

Frank McCourt.

I just like typing those two words because I know how it rattles him to see them appear on Page 2.

McCourt has never figured out Page 2, the relationship on the rocks from the first meeting, when he said, “Dodger fans are the greatest in all sports,” or something mushy like that and I interrupted, wanting to know what he would have told Red Sox fans had his attempt to buy the team been successful.

He likes fluffy prose, specific questions almost always deferred for another time that never materializes. I’ve never been a fan of lofty rhetoric, and I would guess his idea of newspaper downsizing would be going from Page 1 in Sports to Page 3.

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OK, so we have our differences, which he probably considers irreconcilable, his spokesman replying Tuesday, “Mr. McCourt still chooses not to speak with you.”

Worse than that, he probably sees me now as one of Jamie’s guys since I wrote everything down she had to say in an earlier interview.

Yeah, the Screaming Meanie and I are really tight.

So even though he might be harboring bad feelings for some reason, I’m there for him today.

I don’t know anyone who has given the Parking Lot Attendant more publicity in this town than Page 2, free advertising for a team not always very good but intent on selling tickets and filling up the parking lots.

I’d like to think we’re doing business together, going one step further here to champion his work, while predictably so many others dwell only on the negative. Good thing Plaschke is out of town.

Recent newspaper stories have the Dodgers doubling ticket prices in the future while keeping the payroll down -- as if that’s a bad thing.

The way it’s been explained to me, McCourt was trying to do business in China. Arte Moreno isn’t satisfied just doing business in Anaheim, so what’s the problem? Good for McCourt if he can make a buck elsewhere.

McCourt’s people prepared a proposal for the Chinese, which included detailed plans on how the Dodgers might do business in the next few years.

As the proposal noted, “Currently, the Dodgers’ ticket prices are relatively inexpensive and there is substantial room for prices to increase without resulting in a decline of attendance.”

You have to admit, McCourt knows you folks pretty well. Start the season, and as sure as the Phillies are going to beat the Dodgers in the playoffs, 3.8 million of you are going to buy your way into Dodger Stadium.

You really aren’t all that demanding, a pack of baseball cards or a blanket and year after year -- even if the team doesn’t do well -- you still flock to Dodger Stadium. You’re very dependable like that, which makes it easier for those crafting a business model.

Why shouldn’t McCourt profit from your willingness to throw money away? Maybe you regard the Dodgers as part of your family, so why shouldn’t McCourt profit from those sentiments?

Give him credit, he’s on to something here. It’s why he’s interested in developing the area around Dodger Stadium, knowing 3.8 million of you will find your way there every year. If he builds restaurants, shops, whatever, you will be there for him.

As a good businessman, can he really be faulted for squeezing more money out of you? Why is he different than Disneyland?

You can huff and puff all you want about the price for parking, which will also go up in the Dodgers’ long-range plans, but you will park your cars in the lots. You will pay for higher ticket prices. You will do whatever is necessary to remain a Dodgers fan.

Manny Ramirez won’t be back. Joe Torre might be gone and replaced by Don Mattingly,who has no experience. No matter.

The Dodgers didn’t upgrade much this year. Work on improving the stadium has stopped. Yet, 3.8 million people will buy tickets.

So how can anyone criticize McCourt for taking advantage of such a situation? It’s not his civic duty to protect Dodgers fans from themselves.

Others might want to harp on tax breaks or such things for the McCourts, but I thought it time to put in a good word for McCourt, who is just doing what a good businessman should do -- figuring ways to get more of your money. Good for McCourt.

As you can see, I don’t carry a grudge.

UPDATES FOR Saturday’s show featuring Koufax &Torre, tickets still available at ticketmaster.com:

* Steve Simpson, the top guy at FS West, has stepped forward again in the name of charity, absorbing more than a $30,000 loss to air Koufax & Torre live Saturday at 7:30 from Nokia Theatre with no commercial breaks other than those obligated by the network’s affiliates.

He’s also picked up the tab, sending crews as far away as New York to bring back video to enhance the evening, which will also include Vin Scully’s thoughts on Koufax’s perfect game, Tom Lasorda blaming Koufax for ending Lasorda’s playing career and Billy Crystal’s ode to Torre.

* Steve Soboroff was there the night Koufax was perfect. He purchased four tickets -- $200 each -- and would like to give them away, inviting anyone who was at the perfect game in Dodger Stadium to join him Saturday night and swap memories.

If interested, e-mail

t.j.simers@latimes.com and arrangements will be made.

* Latest word is that Koufax still intends to show up.

t.j.simers@latimes.com


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