On the Fourth of July, a Dodgers Tradition Goes Silent

netchuc
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The Los Angeles Dodgers’ latest bonehead move was not signing another washed-up relief pitcher to an outrageous contract, and it wasn’t trading away a player who was popular with fans and teammates. This one was made behind the scenes, and it continues a pattern that is becoming uncomfortably familiar.

As I write this, Twitter is blowing up with explosions that will rival anything you will see tonight at your local Fourth of July fireworks display. It seems Dodger fan Bobby Crosby, who created DodgerFilms seven years ago, was approached by Dodger suits yesterday and told that he can no longer film anything at Dodger Stadium.

Have you heard of DodgerFilms? Perhaps you saw a clip of Bobby out in the Dodger Stadium pavilion filming himself catching Dodger home runs. Even Vin Scully commented and gave kudos to Bobby during a recent game broadcast.

That said, DodgerFilms is much more than a guy catching home runs. Here is a video where Bobby explains the current DodgerFilms situation himself.  I highly recommend you take a minute to watch.

I was particularly moved by the email Bobby received from a former Mariners fan (a fan with a spinal injury who cannot attend games), who is now a Dodger fan thanks to Bobby’s work. If you use Twitter, spread the news to your Twitter friends, let the Dodgers know how you feel, and use the hashtag #SaveDodgerFilms.

As I stated earlier, this is not about the plight of DodgerFilms exclusively, but rather a continuation of a pattern in which Dodgers ownership is showing an amazing amount of disregard for Dodger tradition and fan support – and in this instance, I am referring to the Dodgers supporting their fans.

This shrugging off of what the fans care about first appeared in the Time Warner Cable television fiasco. When ownership granted exclusive broadcasting rights to TWC, they removed the Dodgers – for the first time in their Los Angeles history – from any over-the-air TV broadcasting. Not one single game would ever again be allowed to go out free over the air to people who for one reason or another could not access cable TV sports packages.

Recently Nancy Bea Hefley hinted at retiring from playing the organ at Dodger home games. While Vin Scully has been the sound of the Dodgers since forever, Nancy Bea has been the sound of Dodger Stadium for the past 27 summers.

Nancy Bea wasn’t tired of her job – far from it – she simply sensed the new Dodger owners didn’t want her around anymore, as they had been cutting back on her playing time since taking over. Sure, they eventually extended her contract, but only after word got out, and Dodger fans reminded ownership what Dodger tradition meant.

Your home team on TV is an institution. In fact, in Los Angeles, it felt like a right – until the new sheriffs arrived. Nancy Bea playing at Dodger Stadium is an institution. Dodger fans took pride in the fact that we were one of the last stadiums in baseball to have a live organist, and the same one for a generation. However, the new “fan experience” had cut Nancy Bea’s playing time down to five minutes a game.

DodgerFilms has become, over the course of seven years, an online institution. The new Dodger regime has decided that one isn’t important for Dodger fans either.

When the new owners rode into town, we all rejoiced. Mostly because the McCourt gang was being run off – or at least pushed out to the parking lots. When they signed big name players and the team returned to the playoffs, we rejoiced. However, a team means much more to its fans than what takes place between the chalked lines.

There are a lot of things to like about the new owners, but I sure wish someone would inform them that until winning a World Series becomes a new Dodgers tradition, we would sure like to keep some of the old ones.

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