The beauty of Dodger Stadium is poetic in nature. Chavez Ravine is a special sanctuary sitting above downtown Los Angeles where one can go to escape the traffic, smog, and stress of the city. The emerald green grass of the outfield is the most perfect landscaping I have laid my eyes upon, and the palm tree lined stadium perimeter is the quintessential symbol of the Southern California lifestyle. Angelinos have been enjoying Dodger Stadium for fifty years, and I hope that we have at least another fifty years of Dodger baseball at Chavez Ravine. This offseason the new owners plan to make some improvements and modernize our baseball temple. While I am against any drastic changes to Dodger Stadium, I am excited to see the beautification and enhancements that will be done this winter.
The new ownership made it clear that they planned to enhance the fan experience at Dodger Stadium. President and CEO Stan Kasten said that the improvements will mainly be in the stadium infrastructure, and none of the work will need to be done past Opening Day on April 1, 2013, although the totality of improvements could take several years as stated by Kasten:
“We’re on an aggressive timeline,” Kasten said. “We would like to do as much as we can by opening day next year. I suspect what we’ll have in place is going to be more than a one-year program. It’s going to take several years, probably, to do all the things we want. But our goal certainly is to do a lot of this by next year.”
In August, the Dodgers hired Janet Marie Smith to be the new Senior Vice President of Planning and Development. Smith oversaw the development of Turner Field, Camden Yards, and the renovation of Fenway Park. Smith mentioned that she liked the retro 1950′s style of Dodger Stadium (an aspect of the ballpark which I adore), and she would like to incorporate that into the design. Ashton Design, the Baltimore-based firm, was selected by the Dodgers to design the renovations with Smith overseeing the project.
Both visitor and home clubhouses will be upgraded. New indoor batting cages will be added for the Dodgers and visitors alike. The sound and video system will also be enhanced.
Other improvements I have heard mentioned include the much-needed upgrade for cell phone usage with Wi-Fi. We have all been frustrated as fans when we cannot use our phone to Tweet during the game! I have also heard from male fans that the men’s restrooms desperately need to be upgraded as well.
Infrastructure improvements include those to the power, water, and data systems. Other design ideas include new restaurants, lounge areas, kids’ areas, Dodger history displays, and interactive exhibits. I would love to see a kids’ area where children can perhaps practice pitching, batting, or trying on the gear of a catcher. Something fun and family friendly would be a great addition to the stadium in my opinion.
I’m all for the new design features and modernization of our beloved stadium as long as it’s not too extensive. As far as any plans in the future to build a new stadium, Stan Kasten and Mark Walter say that they are concentrating on enhancing Dodger Stadium and they have not looked that far into the future. Dodger Stadium is a Los Angeles landmark, a baseball Mecca, and a downright beautiful place to be. There’s nothing I look forward to more than to take my future grandchildren to watch my team play at Dodger Stadium. Even though it is now the third-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, at a mere fifty years old Dodger Stadium has plenty of life left in her.
What improvements do you think should be made to Dodger Stadium? Share your ideas in the comments section below.