No. 61: Los Angeles Dodgers

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 5:55 PM ET
By Doug Mittler | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 99
Title track: 49
Ownership: 57
Coaching: 54
Players: 59
Fan relations: 67
Affordability: 78
Stadium experience: 81
Bang for the buck: 63

The disastrous ownership tenure of Frank McCourt finally ended in May when he sold the club for $2.15 billion to an ownership group that includes Magic Johnson. Since then, the new bosses at Chavez Ravine have quickly demonstrated a Magic touch. The Los Angeles Dodgers vaulted 38 points in our overall standings, spurred by a 51-point surge in ownership and a 34-point rise in fan relations. On Day One of the new regime, general admission parking dropped from $15 to $10. Extra workers at concession stands have alleviated long lines and added staff at parking lot entrances are getting fans to their seats more quickly. Plus, the club now provides fans with Twitter access to senior executives, manager Don Mattingly and past and present players. "We needed to give our fans a reason to come back," says senior director of ticket sales David Siegel. Years of neglect by the cash-strapped McCourt saw Dodger Stadium drop to 97th in stadium experience in 2011, but plans are being formulated for a renovation of the 50-year-old facility, the third-oldest in baseball. The one thing that won't change is the classic view that Dodgers fans cherish. "The bleachers, the palm trees, the San Gabriel Mountains. We bought that. We won't mess with that," says team president Stan Kasten, who walks the stadium concourses prior to home games seeking fan input. The product on the field is also on the upswing -- the Dodgers jumped 37 spots in the players category. LA fans want marquee names, and the new regime has added Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino (and recently Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford) to a squad that already included Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Once again, Dodger Stadium is the place to be and be seen.

Doug Mittler

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