The Los Angeles Dodgers closed the season with a 2-1 loss at home to the Colorado Rockies on Fan Appreciation Day. It was a celebration of the highest attendance in baseball. The Dodgers did not come out to support the sleazy Frank McCourt in his final years as owner, but they did by the more than 40,000 at a time to donate to his checkbooks this year (since he still is a partial owner of the Dodger Stadium parking lots).
The Dodgers ranked first in attendance this year averaging 46,139 through 80 Home Games, which is ___ more than the next team; and the Dodgers total attendance (in 161 Games) was 3,691,131, which was 300,000 more than 2nd place St. Louis.
And the Dodgers’s uncomfortably paid tribute to all of us fans on Fan Appreciation Day with a blown out spectacle. It is LA. We can’t be as stiff as the St. Louis Cardinals who Vin Scully pointed out their workman like approach of simply shaking hands after they clinched the division. But I was a little uneasy by the Dodgers celebration.
There was an unlikely hero was center of the attention at Fan Appreciation Day. Possible team MVP Hanley Ramirez was interviewing possible NL Rookie of the Year Yasiel Puig (because Arsenio Hall doesn’t speak Spanish) when they made an unscheduled addition to the festivities. They began chanting “U-rib-e! U-ribe-e! U-rib-e!” and the fans belted it out too.
At the end of last year, Ned Colletti was still getting killed for his free agent acquisition Juan Uribe. Why? Because Uribe was epically bad over that time of his 3 year deal. He batted .200 or worse in more than 130 games. But Uribe has been unthinkably consistent over at 3rd this season. Dodgers radio guys Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday talked about how he is in the Gold Glove discussion. He is batting .278 in 131 appearances with 50 RBIs and 47 Runs Scored. The Yankees would have killed for that production at 3rd Base.
It’s a long, unlikely journey from where he was his first two years in blue while drawing ire from every Dodgers. And Sunday afternoon in front of a sold out Dodgers Stadium he grabbed the microphone and thanked all of the Dodgers’ fans–in Spanish–who dogged him when he was down. He just left out the down part.
Not everyone puts stock in “being a clubhouse guy” or “locker room guy.” It might not be important. But in baseball I tend to believe it more because there is so much down time over so many games. The dynamic Domincan and Cuban could have stuck to the script. Or they could have called over who the fans or the PR people would want in the pecking order of stars. Even if it wasn’t pre-determined or a big deal, it meant a whole lot to call out the most unlikely of stars of Fan Appreciation Day.