Dodgers Dugout: Why a shortened season works out perfectly for the Dodgers

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during a news conference in Arlington, Texas.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred
(LM Otero / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I’m happy to announce that Eric Karros has agreed to take part in our latest “Ask...” installment where newsletter readers get to ask questions of former Dodgers. See below for more details.

I can come up with only one positive to the lockout and the probable cancellation of games: The Dodgers excel at shortened seasons.

In 1981, teams played approximately 110 games because of a labor dispute. Result: Dodgers win World Series.

In 2020, teams play 60 games because of a pandemic. Result: Dodgers win World Series.

So, where should the 2022 parade take place?

Enjoying this newsletter?

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a Los Angeles Times subscriber.

As for the current lockout, here are some key facts:

—The first two series of the regular season will be canceled. That is March 31-April 3 at home against Colorado and April 4-6 against Arizona. Seven home games are gone. The season will hopefully now start on April 8 at Colorado with the first home game on April 14 against Cincinnati. At this point though, don’t hold your breath.

—The players will not be paid for the canceled games, but it is expected the union will challenge this. In addition, starting in April, players will be paid $15,000 a month by the union, which has been saving its licensing money for this type of situation. $15,000 a month sounds like quite a bit for you and me, but is less than what even a player making the minimum makes during the season.

—Think the players are greedy? Last year, the Atlanta Braves brought in $526 million in revenue. They spent $148 million on player salaries. That is 28.1%. The NBA and NFL spend about 50% of revenue on player salaries. The question isn’t “Why should the players get paid more when they already make more money than I do?” The question is “Do the players make their fair share?” Not everyone makes Max Scherzer money.

—As colleague Bill Shaikin put it: “In the absence of a salary cap, the union agreed to a luxury tax system: Teams can pay what they want, but with penalties above a specified total payroll. Last year, the Dodgers and San Diego Padres were the only teams to pay the tax, but five teams spent within $4 million of the amount that would trigger a tax. That, to the union, is a de facto salary cap. The union wants to enhance spending by raising the payroll amount that would trigger a tax; the owners want to restrain spending by raising the penalties.”


—The owners will get even more revenue when the season begins because of expanded playoffs, with 12 or 14 teams making the postseason.

—Remember, the owners locked out the players, the players did not go on strike.

—Lost in the shuffle in all of this: The economies of the cities that host spring training games is taking a tremendous hit right now. As well as the lost income for ushers, concessionaires, parking lot staff, etc. They will really be hurting if they depend on that income for day-to-day living.

—Again, I don’t want to bog everyone down with a lot of details. Check out the “Stories you might have missed” section below to find stories with more details on what the two sides are arguing about.

—The two sides met briefly on Thursday and perhaps will meet again today. I mean really, what’s the rush?

—Prediction as to when regular-season baseball starts? Memorial Day weekend at the end of May.

—If you are looking for refunds for tickets, the Dodgers have reached out directly to season-ticket holders (individual game tickets had not yet gone on sale). For spring training tickets, this is on the Camelback Ranch website: “If you purchased Spring Training tickets directly from the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, or Camelback Ranch-Glendale, single game, mini plan, group ticket and hospitality buyers will automatically receive a refund to their original point of purchase. Please allow 10-14 days for your refund to be received. At the conclusion of the 2022 Spring Training season, season ticket holders will have the opportunity to receive either a full refund for games that weren’t played due to the ongoing negotiations or a credit that may be applied to future Spring Training games at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. If you purchased tickets from a secondary ticket provider, including StubHub, MLB’s Official Fan‐to‐Fan Ticket Marketplace, please reach out to them directly to explore your options.”

—In the meantime, the minor league season has not been delayed. Tickets are cheaper, hot dogs are cheaper, beer is cheaper. Parking is plentiful. Maybe I’ll see you at a Rancho Cucamonga Quakes game.

Joe Kelly talks to fans

In an exclusive for the Times, Joe Kelly wrote an open letter to baseball fans. It begins:

“A plea: Don’t give up on baseball. It’s too important.

“I get it. You’re knee-deep in the millionaires vs. billionaires conversation that has dominated this offseason, looking for the signs of baseball stirring to life — images of ballplayers in sunglasses tossing baseballs in the shadows of palm trees, talk of rookies who look promising or players who deserve second chances. But none of those trusty signs of spring are here because of Major League Baseball’s lockout. I don’t blame you. This lockout feels like the last straw and you’re tempted to turn your back on the game. The usual criticisms of baseball have come bubbling to the surface. Baseball is slow, out of touch, selfish, steeped in traditions that no one even remembers anymore. Yes, I get it. The game has been trying to hold onto your loyalty for years now. This is it. Enough.

“But it’s time to take a breath and understand, deep down, that baseball is awesome, and the same critics who love to undermine America’s pastime know this. They know baseball can inspire, delight and define three-quarters of a calendar year. They cherish the game, and that’s why they take issue with the way things are being managed. Is it the money that is at stake here? No, it’s the game itself that’s at stake. And I — along with my friends from all corners of the sports and entertainment worlds — am on a mission to save it.”

Read Kelly’s entire letter to fans by clicking here.

What do you think?

I want to know what you think. Email me your thoughts on the lockout and please answer two specific questions:

1. Who do you blame for the current impasse? The players, owners or both.

2. Do you plan to continue watching or attending Dodger games after the lockout is over?

I have put both these items in a poll for you to vote in by clicking here.

I also would appreciate you emailing me your comments at Selected comments will start appearing in the next newsletter.

Ask Eric Karros

Former Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros, who played 12 seasons with the team, was named Rookie of the Year in 1992 and hit more homers than anyone in Los Angeles Dodgers history (270) has agreed to take part in our “Ask...” series, where former Dodgers answer questions posed by Dodgers Dugout readers.

If you have a question for him, please email it to me at Karros will answer selected questions and his responses will run in a future edition of this newsletter.

What’s next?

We get back to some fun things to do in the next newsletter, as readers start picking an all-time Dodgers team (three at each position).

Stories you might have missed

Plaschke: Blame clueless owners for selfishly canceling MLB games and hurting fans

‘Manfred gotta go’: Players throwing high heat at MLB’s decision to cancel games

Commentary: Rob Manfred canceled opening day, then spoke about it. Here’s what he should’ve said

Commentary: Angry negotiations leave league divided as Rob Manfred and owners keep players united

A continuing lockout, canceled games and a lot of anger. What’s next for MLB?

How the MLB lockout is affecting the Dodgers’ offseason plans

MLB lockout takeaways: L.A. Times writers discuss owners, money and free agency

And finally

The Dodgers (you remember them, local team back when baseball was a thing) score 22 runs against the Diamondbacks. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.