It's almost like the tale of two seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Last year, the team was going through a major slump. As Max Kellerman, of 710 ESPN's Max and Marcellus show explained several times, the Dodgers attendance was so low that it was dragging down the attendance of the entire MLB, making it look like less people were going to games. In reality it was just that Dodgers fans weren't going.
The year started off bad with the beating of Giants fan Brian Stowe, and it didn't get much better. Much maligned owner Frank McCourt did little to make the team better and did a lot to make a bad situation worse. He used the team like a piggy bank, and cut back on many things, like parking lot security. The fans refused to come to games, citing McCourt as a reason. The team wasn't doing too great either, with the exception of Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw and the red hot Matt Kemp.
This year though, the tables have certainly turned. It was announced just before the season began that McCourt had agreed to sell the team to the ownership group led by Magic Johnson, of legendary Laker fame. Even though the sale wasn't finalized until weeks later, the fans responded.. They came back in droves, selling out games and filling up Chavez Ravine once again.
Suddenly, hope was restored to a team who was in desperate need of it. The players responded to the return of the fans. The Los Angeles Dodgers are currently the best team in baseball. Yes, you read that right. Not just in the NL, but in all of MLB, with a 30-15 record. Sure, it's still early in the season, but that's far better than they were last season at this point.
Better yet, the Dodgers will be able to keep players who previously had one foot out the door. Andre Ethier, we're looking at you. It was no secret that players didn't want to play for a team who couldn't put fans in the stands, and can you blame them? Half the fun of being a professional athlete has to be hearing the roaring crowd.
It's amazing to see this kind of turnaround. It was supposed that the team was underachieving because of the bad ownership, but there was no real evidence. While there still isn't irrevocable evidence, all signs point to new ownership being to thank for the Dodgers turnaround.