You may have heard that things aren’t going so well for the Los Angeles Dodgers right now. They’re sinking to the bottom of the National League West. A terrible attack in the parking lot has led to LAPD Blue being as common a sight at Chavez Ravine as Dodger Blue. Oh, and there’s that little issue of a divorce and whether team owner Frank McCourt can cover payroll at the end of the month — a financial quagmire that Bud Selig called “historic.”
If discontent is truly the first step in the progress of a man or a nation, then one man is trying to help Dodger Nation progress past what has become maybe the ugliest period in franchise history. Roger Arrieta started his website, Mark Cuban Save The Dodgers in late April as a means to convince the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks to take over the team.
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In an email conversation with Arrieta, he talked about psychics, what he’d like to see in the Dodgers’ future and how things could possibly have gotten worse than Rupert Murdoch.
What has the response to the site been like so far?
So far, the response has been really great! People are so tired of McCourt and his tactics; they desperately want a change. In just a month’s time it has really started to gain momentum, and I expect it to fully go on overload once the process of taking the team from McCourt begins. Slowly, people are going to the site and leaving their stories, which is the main thing I want people to do. Leave what this team means to you, your thoughts on Cuban, your favorite Dodger memories, etc.
What was the “final straw” moment with Frank McCourt for you?
It’s hard to really pinpoint one moment. I know it really started going bad for me in ’09 when they announced they had separated. I couldn’t believe the timing of it. Why would you announce something like that right before the NLCS? I know, prior to this, fans were already getting frustrated because the Dodgers weren’t making those big moves to solidify the roster. Then all the dirt came out from that and how they used the money to fund their personal lavish lifestyles. Maybe, though, that moment was when I learned that the McCourts paid a psychic (Vladimir Shpunt) six figures to “Think Blue”! Seriously???
What do you hope to accomplish with the site?
As I was mentioning, the ultimate goal is for people to go to the site and leave their stories. I want it it to be somewhere where fans can show their passion for the Dodgers. Then I want Mark Cuban to see the site — see the responses — and see just how passionate Dodger fans can be. Maybe he needs just that little bit of convincing, and maybe these stories can push it over the top. Then, if he was on board and was pursuing the Dodgers, this could be the official site for the endeavor.
Have you heard any response from Mark Cuban?
No, I have not yet. I do mention him in some tweets, posted on his Facebook, even sent an email. I don’t know if he has heard of the movement, but if it keeps getting bigger and is covered by more bloggers and websites, I am sure he will notice it.
If you had the chance make a pitch to him, what would you say?
I would just show him how the fans have responded. Show him the passion that lies within them. We see the love that fans and players of the Mavericks have for him. We see his passion for his team and commitment, and we definitely admire that. We feel he is someone that can restore the Dodgers to that once proud and rich tradition they have had.
Beyond Cuban, is there a short list of candidates you’d like to see take over the team?
Aside from Cuban, the only others I have heard about is the group that Steve Garvey is involved with. I did hear someone mention Magic Johnson the other day, too. The point is simple: Whether it’s Cuban or any of these other guys, we need someone to come in fast and have the right game plan to turn this around. A committed owner to the fans and players. One that will not just say they want to win but actually proves it by doing what needs to be done to win. As an organization, the Dodgers need to win it all within the next two to four years. The 1988 season is a way distant memory and way too long for the Dodgers to go between championships. The new owner needs to come in and make an immediate impact to help this team and city heal.
Is there anything Frank McCourt could do to regain the fans’ trust?
I don’t think so. I think, to start making amends, he does need to sell the team and show that he is trying to do the best thing for the team and city. Trying to fight it until the end is not gaining him any fans. He just needs to step back, look at the big picture and realize the best solution is to move on from this. Then, I think, if he publicly acknowledges his mistakes and sells (the team), then people might just start to move on and put it behind them. I mean, we still aren’t talking about how bad Murdoch did, right?
Before Frank McCourt, Dodger fans didn’t think it could get any worse than Rupert Murdoch. Is this worse and if so, why?
I think it is worse just because when [McCourt] came in, he came in saying he was going to do this, field the best team, etc. Sorta like empty political campaign promises. So we had one failure then went right into a bigger failure that no one ever thought possible. The Dodgers have just got such a bum rap nowadays. They are the joke of the league. From the unfortunate attack on Bryan Stow to the Divorce of McCourts. Everything that has gone down this year is just really bad. People have seen the increase of police presence at the stadium as a good thing. Yes, it feels safer. But, seriously, it is really sad that you need that type of a police presence to go enjoy a baseball game with your family.
What does the team need to do to get going on the field?
I think this whole issue has to be resolved before they are going to start playing well. Even though MLB will step in to cover salaries, I would imagine it takes a toll on them. Think of how you would feel working for an employer and not knowing if that next check is going to bounce? Or just how the work environment has become a circus. Of course it is distracting them; they may say no but we know it is, and it’s evident by the play. This whole season might already be lost and we are in May. The next few weeks are key. What is MLB going to do? Are they going to step in and Save The Dodgers?
You can follow Roger on Twitter @SaveTheDodgers