McCourt Charging Dodger Fans $500 To Take BP

The Dodgers have won exactly one playoff series in 20 years and are likely to head back into NL West obscurity if they don’t re-sign Manny Ramirez, but that’s not stopping the team from charging ridiculous prices for things like spring training and the opportunity to take a few hacks in the batting cage at Dodger Stadium.

Ned Colletti Manny Ramirez

(”We don’t need you, Manny. We can win it all with Blake DeWitt!”)

Last week, the Dodgers charged fans $500 a head to take batting practice and get pictures taken with baseball superstars Russell Martin and Andre Ethier. It was all part of a big fundraiser to help a worthy cause. That cause, of course, being Frank McCourt’s effort to extort as much money as possible from Southern Californians while they think the team still has a chance to retain Manny. They’re also charging as much as $90 for spring training tickets in 2009.

Meanwhile, Ned Colletti is already rationalizing not signing Manny…

In his latest column, the LOS ANGELES TIMES’ T.J. Simers manages to make just enough sense to relay some important info. On the $500 batting practice:

The McCourts deserve credit in these tough times figuring yet another way to get into the pockets of fans, but I wondered where the money might be going.

“This was not a charity fundraiser,” the Dentist says, which is probably his way of saying the Screaming Meanie is due for another shopping spree.

If you don’t speak Simers, the “Dentist” is apparently a Dodger PR guy and the “Screaming Meanie” is McCourt, I guess.

Simers goes on to blast TIMES colleague Bill Plaschke for his man-crush on Dodger GM Ned Colletti. Plaschke and Colletti both clearly don’t realize that the Dodgers backed into the playoffs with a crappy team that was going nowhere without a superhuman contribution from Manny. Colletti’s already talking himself into life without Manny:

“Our six or seven young players are still the key to this club,” Colletti says.

“Manny was tremendous, but this is not tennis, one player does not make a difference.”

If the youngsters were the key all along, why did he spend $30 million on Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, and Esteban Loaiza in 2008?

Plaschke, who writes a spirited defense of the atrocious Pierre every season, thinks that the Dodgers should pass on Manny, trade for Jake Peavy and Adrian Beltre, and then rely on the young players to carry the team. But who are they going to trade? Delwyn Young and Joe Beimel? That might fetch them Kei Igawa.

Things seemed to have calmed on the Manny front for now, as Scott Boras seems more interested in getting Mark Teixeira a deal first. Boras may also want to see what the Angels do about CC Sabathia, as the Halos are another possible destination for Manny.