Friday, March 29, 2013

So, What's New at Dodger Stadium?

As you know, Dodger Stadium has undergone some changes- some significant changes.  All winter long construction crews have been working their tail off to finish before the start of the season, and it appears they are going to hit their mark- save a couple of minor details here and there.  Heck, what do you expect for $100 Million?  In realty, there was such a short amount of time to get so much done, I'm genuinely surprised they got this far.  This really was a monumental undertaking, and the Guggenheim ownership were obviously up for the task.
“We have worked extremely hard during the off-season to create the best possible experience for ALL our fans for the 2013 season,” Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten said. “The upgrades were designed with particular emphasis on the Top Deck and Reserve levels and outfield pavilions that had been essentially untouched since the stadium first opened. Our goal is to provide THE most pleasurable experience from the time fans arrive at the stadium until the time they depart, ideally after a Dodger victory.

“We are confident our fans will be delighted with what they experience at the stadium this season. We look forward to receiving feedback from our fans as we continue to work diligently to enhance their experience.” 
Kasten makes an important point here.  Our old owner (who shall not be named), basically neglected the fans who sit in the cheap seats.  All prior improvements during the past regime were geared towards the monied folks.  It's as if he wanted to make clear that he could care less about "certain" fans.  Anyway, Kasten has reset the table, and makes clear that the rest of us are just as important.

BTW, special recognition should go to Janet Marie Smith, Senior VP of Planning and Development, who is the visionary behind these changes.  She is known for her work with the Baltimore Orioles (Oriole Park at Camden Yards), Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park) and Atlanta Braves (Turner Field).

So, what's different at the Dodgers new home?  Well, here is a helpful summary:
Top of the Park (Upper Reserve Level) 
  • Expanded concourse area with enhanced views of the downtown skyline.
  • Two new and enlarged concession areas, including new stands, cooking facilities and menus. 
  • All new and enlarged restrooms, including a family restroom. 
  • New team store with ticket windows attached.
  • 5-feet high “retired number” sculptures.
(pic tweeted by LA Times reporter @BillShaikin)
Reserve Level
  • Entry gates extended out 30 feet to enlarge the concourse. Each gate will feature some special Dodger memorabilia, including oversized baseballs autographed by winners of the Cy Young Award and life-size bobbleheads featuring uniforms worn by the Dodgers through the decades. 
  • All restrooms enlarged. Family restrooms added along with water fountains. 
    (pic via @Dodgers on twitter)
  • New concession areas, including new stands, cooking facilities and menus. 
  • A team store on the left-field side and another will be completed on the right-field side on a date TBD. 
  • Kids play areas on the first-base and third-base side. 
  • Expanded concourse allows for more standing room with views of the game and more space for fans in wheelchairs and their companions. 
  • Life-size replicas of bobbleheads and MVP, Cy Young and Gold Glove awards at entry plazas
Club Level
  • The United Suite Concourse houses a display of Dodger yearbook covers, media guide covers and other team memorabilia. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation baseball display was relocated from the breezeway lobby reception area by the Dodgers’ office to outside the press box. A new display of team media guides was created in the lobby area 
Loge Level
    (pic via @Dodgers on twitter)
  • New concession areas, including new stands, cooking facilities and menus. 
  • All restrooms were enlarged. Family restrooms were added, along with water fountains and a fan service area. 
  • Patio boxes for group seating in a casual setting were created at the back of the concourse. 
  • Wider concourse and additional locations for wheelchair-bound fans and their companions and standing room with drink rails beyond the foul poles. 
  • Enhanced lighting. 
  • Murals depicting Dodger history
Field Level
  • New entry plazas to create standing room areas with a view of the game. 
  • Wider concourse, drink rails and additional locations for wheelchair-bound fans and their companions. 
  • Reduced number of Prime Ticket Club seats along foul lines to improve sightlines (from 1066 to 640), with wheelchair positions on the front row. As a result, there will be an additional six feet of foul territory on left field and right field foul lines
Lexus Dugout Club
  • Hallway leading to Dugout Club was repainted and received wood wainscoting treatment with display cases featuring Dodgers Gold Glove, MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards. This area is available to all fans on daily guided tours of the stadium.
    (pic via twitter @betovision)
  • In both left and right field, new and larger restrooms were created more conveniently located under the pavilions. Picnic areas were added.
(pic via twitter @marksaxon)
Video/Ribbon Boards
  • New High Definition video boards in left field and right field are the first 10mm 1080p light emitting diode (LED) displays in MLB.  While the new scoreboard structures are 22 percent larger, the active viewing area of both video boards is 66 percent larger than before. Existing message boards, including ribbon boards at the Loge level and outfield wall, were replaced with the new technology as well.  The unique hexagon shape of both scoreboards has been restored.
Sound System 
  • A new sound system directed to each seating section will minimize echoes and sound migration outside the stadium and will provide for a much more enjoyable audio experience for fans as they listen to live and recorded music and announcements before, during and after games.
  • A state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network and cellular antenna system to support cell-phone and internet connectivity from mobile devices will enhance the ability of fans and media covering games at Dodger Stadium to communicate. The project was part of a partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media and is expected to be completed in June. An entirely new electrical power grid with seven new substations was added to support these technologies.
  • A new home team clubhouse, expanded and enhanced training/conditioning areas, and new batting cages for both teams
(pic tweeted by @Dodgers)

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