After Magic Johnson and the new Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group took control just as the 2012 season started, I think we all expected the team to come out and dominate from day one. The 2012 season turned out to be one of building and development and 2013’s MLB spring training is a great time to be a Dodgers fan. I think we are about to see the results of all those changes.
Here are my top ten reasons why it’s great to be a Los Angeles Dodgers fan as spring training kicks off for 2013:
New ownership: After taking over early in the 2012 season, I think it took some time for the new ownership group to learn the Dodgers’ systems and how things work. They’ve spent that time making tweaks and changes and slowly bringing in their own people. Now I hope we will start seeing the results of those changes and that makes it an exciting time to be a Dodger fan.
Ned Colletti’s moves finally coming together: I’ll keep repeating it to all who will listen, Ned Colletti is such an important part of the team and the team’s future. He’s lasted a long time, through the craziness that was the Frank McCourt era and is now in a position to make the moves I think he’s wanted to do for years. With the deep pockets of the new ownership group, he also now has the resources to make trades and acquisitions that do one thing, create a championship team.
Dodger Stadium renovations: I think Dodger Stadium is one of the purest, most beautiful ballparks in the country, but as a regular visitor, I know it lacks the overall baseball experience now presented by modern stadiums. The team has spent $100 million improving the stadium, but I still think it needs more amenities. Renovations for the public areas, which are supposed to be ready by opening day, include widening of the concourses, new high-def video screens and scoreboards, new and improved restrooms and even WiFi. I would like to see a Dodgers museum and other things to do and see even on non-game days.
It’s all about the pitching: I’m excited to see what Clayton Kershaw can do, especially playing with the prospect of a $200 million-plus deal coming when his current deal ends next year. I like how the team has spent the big bucks for Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu and want to see them earn those big paychecks with a whole lot of wins and a championship.
Magic Johnson: As a Los Angeles legend, Magic has a lot of love from Dodger fans, most of whom are also Laker fans. I’m excited to see Magic take a more high profile role with the team and also see more integration and co-promotions between the Dodgers and Lakers. The teams share a fanbase and I think Magic could be key in bringing the fanbases closer together as L.A. sports fans, not Dodger fans or Laker fans.
Dodger fans: Although I enjoy listening to a Dodgers game on the radio or watching one on TV, there is nothing like the shared experience of watching a game at Dodger Stadium, surrounded by other Dodger fans. I love going to games early in the season when we are all still checking out the team and how everyone is looking.
Matt Kemp: Kemp is such an important part of the team, it does scare me a bit. The impact of his absence was profound last season, when he was out 51 games with an hamstring injury. He ended the season with shoulder surgery but seems to be back to full strength. I also think if he stays healthy and the stars align properly, we will see him join the 50-50 club this year.
Vin Scully: Every Dodger fan will agree, there’s something truly magical to hear Vin Scully say “It’s time for Dodger baseball.” Hall of Famer Scully is starting his 63rd season calling Dodger games, which is an amazing accomplishment. Listening to Scully call a game is another reason it’s great to be a Dodger fan.
Sandy Koufax: In a move I think shows the new ownership group’s commitment to Dodger history, the team has hired baseball (and Dodgers) icon Sandy Koufax as a special advisor. He is with the team now in Spring Training and will be consulting with them during the regular season. I think this connection with the past will help current Dodger players focus on one goal, winning the World Series.
Dodger Dogs: Players, managers and owners come and go, but we Dodger fans will always have Dodger Dogs (grilled, of course) to keep us happy as we watch the team win. The availability of grilled Dodger Dogs is just another reason why it’s great to be a Dodger fan.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn’t make being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter [email protected]