— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) February 11, 2014
By Jon Weisman
It’s tough to steal a show that features Vin Scully, but during tonight’s Town Hall at Dodger Stadium for season-ticket holders, Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten did his very best.
When one transistor-toting fan asked why there was a delay between the game action and Scully’s call on the radio, Kasten was quick with a zing.
“The delay is there for a reason,” Kasten said, “and it’s because we never know what Vin is going to say.”
While Kasten might have had the night’s funniest line, Scully might have had both the most heartwarming and also the boldest.
Heartwarming: “It’s nice to be a bridge (for generations of fans), not a toll bridge, not a bridge that has a traffic jam. I’d like to be that bridge for a little bit longer, God willing.”
As you try to read into those tea leaves (I have no insight into them), here’s the bold:
“Tonight,” Scully said, “I really have the feeling we are beginning one of the great stretch runs in the history of the Dodgers.”
Scully explained the latter remark in a couple of ways, most entertainingly in his telling of the story of the Dodger ownership transfer in 1925. Listen here:
Later, Scully characterized the level of dedication that he felt the current leadership brought to the Dodgers.
“You know the definition of dedicated?” Scully asked. “There’s two men; they’re partners in a clothing company, and one goes to Rome and has an audience with the Pope, and he comes back, and his partner says, ‘What kind of a guy is the Pope?’ And the other guy says, ‘He’s a 44 regular.’ ”
For his part, Kasten – who indicated that he was ready for fans and the media to stop referring to the current ownership as “the new ownership,” as opposed to just “the ownership” – said Dodger fans had every right to expect as much.
“We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Kasten said. “We just had to restore the Dodgers. We knew what we wanted – what we always were.”
“We’re the Dodgers. We’re supposed to contend every year. And I believe that’s what we’re going to do this year.”
Orel Hershiser, who joined new SportsNet LA teammates Nomar Garciaparra, John Hartung, Alanna Rizzo and Charley Steiner (along with a number of Time Warner Cable Sports executives) at tonight’s event, talked about how much the approach meant to him and his fellow Dodger alumni. Listen:
There was a lot of patting on the back tonight, much of it from the season-ticket holders who asked questions for the final 20 minutes of the program, but Kasten was questioned on the topic of paperless tickets. He said the team was prepared to deal with everyone’s issues.
“Like all new things, there’s going to be a period of time when people struggle with it,” Kasten said. “Every time so far that we have gotten on the phone and talked them through their questions, there’s going to be a very high acceptance factor. … Two or three years from now, we’re all going to be wondering what took us so long.”
Kasten also offered snippets on other topics. A sampling:
- Another player acquisition: “We have 59 players in camp. There’s going to be one more coming. Nothing I can say about that just yet. I’ll let the media go crazy with that.”
- The Australia trip: “We have so many resources to deal with problems, to deal with preparation, and so much planning, that the only downside we have is people using it as an excuse. And we won’t accept excuses.”
- Improved wi-fi: “For the second consecutive year, I’ve been promised it’s going to be here on Opening Day. This year I’m kind of sure we’re going to have it on Opening Day.”