The new Dodgers ownership continues to impress and delight me in many different ways. Today the Dodgers announced the details of all of the new renovations to our beloved Dodger Stadium for the 2013 season. Construction is still going on, and today the Dodgers had a press conference to announce the changes to the 51 year old stadium. Unfortunately I was unable to attend because of illness, but I wanted to share with you guys all of the details and a few pics of the construction.
As you know, I am a staunch traditionalist, and utterly against not only building a new Dodger Stadium, but also against most major renovations or changes. I believe Dodger Stadium should stand forever, and never be touched. Of course I do realize within my freaked out Dodger obsessed mind, that the Stadium is old, and getting older, and improvements must be made to keep the Stadium fresh. But the new owners have made me happy with about 90% of the renovations. If the GBM has made this Dodger fanatic pleased with the upgrades, then you know the Ravine is going to look nice.
I can still remember the first changes to Dodger Stadium during the Fox administration. They added scoreboards in right and left field, strobe lights behind the pavilions that went off when a Dodger hit a home run, and more seats along the foul lines. Years later, Frank McCourt made more changes, adding even more seats to the field level, including the current dugout club seats. As a result more seats were added along the first and third base foul lines, taking away more precious foul ground.
Naturally I didn’t like the changes, but had to live with them. As we celebrated Dodger Stadium’s sacred fiftieth anniversary season last year, a hot debate raged on between fans who wanted a new stadium built downtown, and the hard core fans who wanted to keep Dodger Stadium, and renovate it instead.
There was some god awful idea presented by Orel Hershiser that involved some kind of Monstrosity renovation, which would have taken away the view of the mountains and hills behind the Ravine, and removed the beautiful essence of the Stadium. (A franken-Ravine) Fortunately Magic Johnson and the GBM found a happy medium of improvements that once finished will preserve and protect the dignity, tradition, and uniqueness of Dodger Stadium.
Most of the new improvements revolve around new scoreboards in left and right field, improved Wi-fi all over the stadium, so you can actually make a call or sent a text while watching the game, (Thank god), a new sound system, more restrooms, and restaurants, and wider concourses, which are among the many minor changes being made to spruce up Dodger Stadium. Here is the official list of the changes, and a few images below of the construction that is still going on.
New High Definition video boards in left field and right field. Existing message boards, including ribbon boards at the Loge level and outfield wall, will be replaced with the new technology as well. (Does this mean the diamond vision is gone?) Don Mattingly‘s bunting, and Clayton Kershaw‘s strikeouts will appear crisper than ever on an upgraded diamond vision.
The unique hexagon shape of both scoreboards will be restored.
A new sound system directed to minimize echoes and sound migration outside the stadium.
A state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network and cellular antenna system to support cell-phone and internet connectivity from mobile devices.
Wider concourses and additional locations for wheelchair bound fans and their companions on all levels.
Expanded and renovated restrooms with substantially more fixtures.
Food service enhancements to loge, reserve and upper reserve levels including new stands, cooking facilities and menus. Details will be announced prior to the start of the season.
New Field Level entry plazas and bullpen overlooks to create standing room areas with a view of the game.
A new home team clubhouse, expanded and enhanced training/conditioning areas, and new batting cages for both teams
Stan Kasten had this to say about the renovations.
Dodger Stadium is a treasured piece of the Los Angeles community and we will respect that heritage while restoring and enhancing the venue for our fans in the 21st century. When the improvements are completed, the stadium will retain its classic look, but it will have a more comfortable feel.
Well said Mr. Kasten. Stacie and I have supported this ownership group since the first day they announced their intentions to buy the Dodgers. Once of those reasons was because Magic Johnson and the GBM originally said they would do everything they can to preserve and protect Dodger tradition and Dodger Stadium. The new owners are keeping their promises to Dodger fans. We’ve come a long way from the last two ownership regimes.
I’m not to keen on the whole standing room areas and the proposed “bullpen overlooks”. I think it’s kind of tacky and cliche. They have these lame walkways in the outfields of some of the newer stadiums, like progressive field, and Petco Park. Dodger Stadium is the exact opposite of those parks, and I am against the idea of trying to add those tacky standing room areas. There not needed, but I suppose I can live with it.
I also heard that there will be a walkway which will connect the pavilions to the rest of the stadium. Now that I think about it, I like this idea. This way, the pavilion hooligans will have the full run of the stadium. I’m very pleased the men’s bathrooms will be upgraded. I wonder if the infamous Dodger Stadium bathroom urinal troughs will remain? I kind of hope so. I know that may sound kind of gross, but you have never experienced a true bonding with other male Dodger fans until you whip it out in front of two dozen other true blue faithful, all urinating in unison. (urinals with splash guards please)
The Dodgers recently had to move their winter development mini-camp from Dodger Stadium to Camelback Ranch in Glendale Arizona, because the construction was still going on. Also being moved will be the Dodgertown classic game between USC and UCLA which has been annually held at the Ravine.
Dodger Stadium is like no other ballpark in Baseball. It has it’s own flavor and feel. The concrete concourses, the view of the majestic rolling hills behind the pavilions, the pavilions, the palm trees, there is no place quite like it. The architecture is unique, it’s design is beautiful. The Stadium remains as beautiful as the day it opened in April of 1962. I fell in love with Dodger Stadium the first time I saw it when I was a kid. When you walk in there you can feel the memories. You can still hear and feel all of the amazing moments. You can still feel Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, and Fernandomania, or Kirk Gibson’s home run. You can hear Vin Scully’s beautiful voice calling out to you.
Check out more of the construction photos here.
I hope one day I can take my future son to Dodger Stadium, and continue our family tradition. These improvements are meant to keep Dodger Stadium alive and well for another 50 years. The renovations preserve it’s dignity. Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine should stand for all time. Our beautiful Blue palace. A Dodger Taj-mahal. Blue heaven on Earth as Tommy called it. A place where our childhood never ends.