Larry Mantle |

Random post-vacation thoughts!

How’s that for a scintillating, must-read, title.  That’s what happens when I go on vacation – my sense of presentation deserts me.

What struck me strongly again today is how differently time moves when on the air versus the rest of my day.  Perhaps you experience that in your work as well.  It hits me strongest when I get back from vacation and the first hour begins and ends in what feels like just a few minutes.  It’s hard to believe a full hour has elapsed.  It’s as though I’ve entered some time-compression machine – very odd.

Last Thursday night I had the honor of receiving the Society of Professional Journalists’ honor for Distinguished Journalist in Radio.  It’s an annual award based on the body of a journalist’s work, not a specific year’s coverage.  Given that it comes from one’s peers, it’s particularly meaningful.  I had a great time at the dinner and am very appreciative of SPJ recognizing my work in this way.

On AirTalk, we were first to get public response to the severe beating of a San Francisco Giant fan outside Dodger Stadium on opening day.  Our lines were jammed with listeners who were fed up with the trend of fan behavior at one of our most valued public venues.  This isolated incident has brought to a head the less violent, but everyday boorish behavior of too many so-called Dodger fans. 

In the week when I was away, this attack has led many local news organizations ask how best to improve the stadium’s climate.  Sunday afternoon I went to Angel Stadium to watch a brilliant 15-strikeout pitching performance by Angel ace Jared Weaver.  What was as impressive as Weaver’s fastball was that the fans were there for baseball, not drunken revelry and expressing hostility.  It was a terrific environment for people who really enjoy baseball.  It’s clear that the drunkards at Dodger Stadium don’t care much for the sport; otherwise they’d be sober to take in the multiple layers of what they’re watching on the field.  For the majority of Dodger game attendees, who are real fans, it’s a huge distraction.

The challenge for the Dodgers is whether they’ll really be up for what it might take to discourage the non-fans from attending.  I’m not convinced you can convert them to well-behaved fans.  Their purpose in attending is to party.  Once you remove that option, I don’t think they’ll come just for the game.  Are the Dodgers willing to say “goodbye” to that segment of their attendance?  Though it’s a minority, I still think you’re looking at the loss of several thousand fans per game.  Hopefully, they’d be replaced by fans disgusted with the current behavior and who are longing to come back.  I just wonder if the Dodgers will take that economic risk.

Finally, thanks for your kind words about my son Desmond’s April Fools joke that he and our AirTalk production team played on me.  It was a fun morning.