This has been a disappointing and challenging year for the Dodgers and their fans.
The incident involving rowdy Dodger fans attacking opposing fans in the parking lot on Opening Day was just the beginning of the bad things that were to come for the Dodgers in 2011.
The McCourt divorce and team bankruptcy issue came to a head early in the year and affected both the team's performance on the field, and the fan's support of the team.
There are many things that need to be fixed for the Dodgers to compete in the NL West. I have listed some that I think are the most important, and most obvious.
I'm putting the number one thing they must do first, because if they don't do this one, the others won't get done.
There are many names being thrown around as possible new owners for the Dodgers including Mark Cuban, Steve Garvey and his group of investors, Magic Johnson, Philip Anschutz and others. I don't care who the new Dodgers owner is, as long as it is someone with deep pockets, and someone who will respect the Dodgers organization.
The new owner must care about rebuilding pride in the organization that the fans and the city once had. One way to do that quickly would be to put a quality product on the field. If the team is winning, the fans will come. If the team is winning, the pride in the organization will return quickly.
What does putting fans back in the seats have to do with winning? Well, a player who walks out on the field and sees empty seats is more than likely to be less motivated. Players sometimes say it doesn't matter to them, but it does.
Having fans in the seats helps motivate the home players to do their best, and impacts the opposing players as well. Large numbers of fans in attendance who are cheering loudly for their team can, at the very least, get into the heads of the opposing players and cause them to make mental errors.
I think the best way to get fans back is, of course, field a winning team. But another way is to make it very affordable for fans to attend. I say come up with a 6-pack for $60 package that includes parking, six tickets, six Dodger Dogs and a soda.
Get people in the stadium and they will spend money on other things. The key is to get the fans back in the stands.
This is one that cannot be accomplished without getting the ownership and bankruptcy issue corrected. During the offseason there will be quality starting pitchers available. However, if the ownership issues are not corrected, the Dodgers simply will not be able to seriously enter the free-agent market.
We won't know for sure which free agents will be available until after the season ends, so I can't really speculate on who the Dodgers should go after. However there is always quality starting pitchers on the free-agent market. The Dodgers need to spend some money and get a couple.
Once again, this depends on the ownership issue getting fixed.
The Dodgers bullpen needs help in middle and long relief pitching, and they need an overpowering closer that they can depend on to finish things up. Of course a second arm that can be used as a dependable closer so you are not wearing out the number one guy is important as well.
Free agency and trades are ways the Dodgers can fix this area.
This needs to happen, as the Dodgers cannot lose any of these players. However, once again, the ownership issue is going to make this hard to do at the moment.
Hopefully when a new owner is in place they will address signing these players to quality long-term contracts.
I know this is such an obvious issue that needs to be addressed I shouldn’t even have to list it, but I believe there is a real chance the Dodgers could lose all three players in the next couple years if the ownership issue isn’t taken care of. And that would be a shame.
For the average Dodger fan these steps to fix the Dodgers both as a team on the field, and as an organization as a whole is so very obvious. But to Frank McCourt it doesn't seem to be. That is why replacing McCourt is the most important thing the Dodgers need to do to compete in the NL West.