From T.J. Simers at the LA Times:
Dodgers drop rule, will give all autograph seekers access
Club bows to wishes of fans and will give them field-level access before games.
The Dodgers, surrendering to the wishes of irate fans, announced Friday they have dropped a new rule and will allow all youngsters to seek autographs in Dodger Stadium in much the same way they have done for years.
No comment yet from the rich kids, but now everyone in the stadium will be given the same opportunity to stand on the dirt strip at the end of the Dodgers dugout and be ignored by the players while trying to get an autograph.
But despite the Dodgers' efforts to improve the situation, only a few players took notice. Andre Ethier, Delwyn Young and Matt Kemp were seen obliging some of the kids; Andruw Jones was obviously in the batting cage beneath the stands getting in some extra work.
The Dentist, the team's new PR guy, said a large number of fans provided "data," using the team's e-mail address published on Page 2 this week. They apparently made it quite clear they were not happy about kids' being kept away from the players.
"I read the e-mails aloud to everyone here and it helped," the Dentist said. "We decided to allow everyone to enter the field level the way they have in previous years -- through the end of batting practice.
"We had been concerned about crowding on the field level but that just doesn't seem to apply through batting practice. We'll try to funnel people down Aisle 27 to help with the cleanliness and occupancy problems in the field box seats, and we'll see what we can do about expanding the available area in center field for kids."
I know that before every game, I usually see the same players on the sidelines signing autographs: Andre Ethier, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Nomar Garciaparra. I've seen Jeff Kent sign one or two, but he's a rare one. I read somewhere else that fans could also get autographs after games, but most players walk by as if they're not there. I'm not that surprised. Hello. It's late, they're tired, and all they want to do is get out of there. That's how I feel at the end of my shift at work. Don't stop me, don't bother me, I just want to get home ASAP. But I am excited that they're changing the rules back. And it's not for the autographs. Well, at least not from current players. I'm long past the age and appearance of a cute kid because those are the only ones who get autographs anyway. And the possibility of getting a batting practice ball? Hello, I had one guy nearly run me over for one! Why do I go to batting practice then? It's for that chance. That chance of getting something memorable, whether it be an actual ball, or that impossible autograph, or my favorite ... a conversation with someone. Ok, so it was Steve Lyons last time. But it was still memorable for me. I can still remember that batting practice and the moments that led up to that conversation. I still remember the nervousness, the excitement, the "oh dear, I have his attention now what am I going to do?" thought that ran through my mind.
Speaking of Steve Lyons...
I came home and saw that I got a new message from one of my Myspace pals, DodgerGirl65. Her subject was "Steve Lyons." She's a big Steve Lyons' fan. I wondered what it could be. Turns out, her husband works at a night club and Steve Lyons walked in. Her husband got Steve on the phone and they talked. Guess who came up? ME! She told him that she has a myspace friend who is a Steve Lyons fan also, and that I had a picture of him with me. WELL... Steve goes and describes me (perfectly according to DodgerGirl65) and says he remembers taking that picture with me. Is that crazy or what???