Originally written January 11, 2013 on ChadMoriyama.com:
MLB.com: The Dodgers are making extensive upgrades to Dodger Stadium, and I have to say that it all sounds awesome. The most obvious upgrade — and the one senior vice president of planning and development Janet Marie Smith mentioned first — is the replacement of the scoreboards located above the right- and left-field pavilions with larger, 1080 high-definition LED boards, as well as replacement of message boards, including ribbon boards at the Loge level and outfield wall. The rectangular one that has been in left field since the last All-Star Game is being returned to the hexagon shape of the original. The boards will be 22 percent larger with an active viewing area 66 percent larger, allowing for more video and statistical information to be displayed. A new, sharper sound system comes with it, designed to direct sound to each seating section and minimize echoes. Worried that it’ll look too modernized and lose its charm? Don’t. The changes are actually quite subtle and they aren’t gaudy or ridiculous. Responding to complaints from fans, a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi and cellular antenna system will go live to support cellphone and Internet connectivity. There also is major work being done to widen concourses, expand and renovate restrooms, enhance food service, build new entry plazas and create bullpen overlooks for standing-room views of the game. Restrooms will be installed under the outfield pavilions and more wheelchair locations will be created. The Wi-Fi has long been a complaint among people covering/attending Dodger games, so I’m guessing this will be a welcome fix. For the players, a new clubhouse is being installed, along with an expanded weight room and underground batting cages. “That was a hot-button issue for Mark [Walter, chairman],” said Kasten. “He wants the finest training center in all of sports.” For the on-the-field product, this is the one improvement that could actually have an impact, so at least it isn’t all superficial. Playground areas will be created for children in the pavilion and Reserve Level that will include life-size bobbleheads. Smith said the franchise’s history will be celebrated by displaying retired uniform numbers at the Top of the Park, giant World Series rings representing the six World Series championships and a display of Gold Glove, MVP and Cy Young Awards at the Dugout Club as “an inspiration to fans and players.” Like most things the new owners have done so far, it all sounds great, so hopefully the honeymoon ends up lasting. Los Angeles Times: Bill Shaikin has an update on the ongoing Dodgers television contract negotiations. Whether the Dodgers keep their television broadcasts on Fox Sports or move them to Time Warner Cable appears to be a “50-50″ proposition, according to a person familiar with the team’s TV negotiations but not authorized to discuss them. The Dodgers’ discussions with MLB center on whether all of their guaranteed television revenue should be subject to baseball’s revenue-sharing program. At issue in a $6-billion deal: whether the team’s contribution to the program would be about $1 billion or about $2 billion. The league believes — and there are indications the court might agree — that the Dodgers must take some element of risk with any money not subject to revenue sharing. The Dodgers must contribute 34% of the annual rights fee to baseball’s revenue-sharing program. The team plans to launch its own regional sports network, in part to avoid the prospect of Fox or TWC paying a much higher rights fee. However, in order to get dividends from a regional sports network, the league believes the team should be required to take the accompanying risk of ownership. The Dodgers are looking at other ways to structure a deal that would shield that money from revenue sharing and satisfy MLB as well. I feel more uncomfortable now than before, when it was basically reported as a done deal with FOX, but it does appear that the team will be getting their due windfall at some point, regardless. Of course, none of this will likely affect 2013 anyway, but if the team is asked to take on extensive risk or if there’s a $1 billion difference in revenue from what the owners thought they would get out of the deal, I would have to think it would affect payroll somewhat. —– Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness: Somebody has to hit leadoff … right? —– FanGraphs: HGH testing in baseball? Public relations. So what we see here appears — to my admittedly skeptical self, at least — less MLB and MLBPA joining hands to do what is right and rid the game of a great evil and more an appeal to doping fears and the court of public opinion. Personally, I just hope its intrusion into the game is minimal. The public thinks HGH is a big deal, so why wouldn’t the MLB do testing and appear concerned as well? That way the MLB can beat their chest about being serious on PEDs, even though it makes basically no impact at all. It’s an idiot test to me anyway, as I’m not sure why an athlete would waste their time with it. Placebo effect, I guess. FanGraphs: David Laurila with the quotes of the year that he’s gathered. An interesting read.

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