Tough Times in LA: An Exclusive Interview with a Former Dodgers Employee
Imagine spending 20 years of your life working for one of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball history, then showing up for work on a Sunday morning only to be told by your boss that you no longer have a job.
On Sunday, August 8, this was the case for one such person, as well as nine other workers who walked away from Dodger Stadium unemployed.
The former employee, who requested to be referred to as "Antonio" to protect his identity, willingly spent several hours exchanging emails and messages to put this article together, despite his unfortunate distress and mental anguish.
Although team owner and chairman Frank McCourt has been under fire by most of the Dodger community for his sometimes questionable business practices, Antonio still showed compassion and respect towards the owner—his own termination notwithstanding.
"I know that Mr. McCourt is going through a difficult divorce and that the team is having a tough time economically, so I'm not letting myself get very upset because I know that God has something much better planned for me," Antonio stated.
Antonio was also quick to point out that the game attendance is not even close to what it was in years past.
"The last few home stands, operations sent workers home because not that many people are coming to games anymore," he added.
Despite no longer being employed by the organization, Antonio has been a Dodger fan since early childhood, and still cares deeply about the club—so much so that he didn't hesitate to mention a handful of issues that he thought need to be addressed immediately.
Most specifically, Antonio said he has personally witnessed at least four assistant managers letting family and friends through the turnstiles without tickets more than once. He has also seen with his own eyes several ushers engaging in the use of illegal substances while on the clock.
Antonio said that his main objective for being interviewed was to spread the word that a big part of management was dysfunctional and ineffective.
"I just want to let Mr. McCourt know about certain areas of his staff that need to be addressed—assistant managers, security officers, and security leads who I think do a terrible job. Many of them talk and treat people with disrespect."
"Frank McCourt needs to replace these individuals and hire people who care about Dodger Stadium and the future of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization like I do," Antonio added.
Antonio also stated that, when possible, he still plans on attending Dodger games as a fan to cheer on his favorite ball club.
Although the brutal economy and the McCourt divorce have had large impacts on the daily operations of the Dodger organization, they are hardly suitable excuses for not applying sensible management practices.
And it's not just in one area—operations workers, fans, and players alike have been affected by the lack of respectable management skills.
According to the Pittsburgh Pirates' television broadcasters, McDonald was seen in the Dodger clubhouse changing back into his street clothes immediately before the beginning of the game against the San Francisco Giants that Saturday. When approached by several Dodger players and asked as to what was happening, McDonald said that he had been watching an ESPN crawler report and saw that he was traded.
McDonald was already packed up and ready to go, even before being informed by any of his managers or coaches.
It's difficult to imagine finding out one's forthcoming job details and possible future residence location by watching a sports channel in a locker room.
Just like the situation with Antonio, there's no question at all that this scenario should have been handled much differently by management.
Operating a baseball organization during times of trials and tribulations isn't an easy task, especially with the state of today's economy and the current ownership situation in Los Angeles. But in times like these, managers throughout the organization need to step up their games.
It's not always about how the team performs on the field; although in the most successful organizations, the clubs who manage all aspects of the business properly usually are the most flourishing on the diamond.
There's a lot of stress in Dodgertown, and by opening up the newspaper everyday or just by browsing the Internet for a few moments, it's not difficult to see why.
For a baseball team who is going out every night and putting forth their best efforts to climb back into a pennant race, management certainly isn't doing them any favors.
And for a person like Antonio who has given 20 years of service to an organization, some type of recognition, appreciation, or honor is to be expected—not a termination.
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