The Los Angeles Dodgers held a press conference yesterday to go over this winter’s $100 million in Janet Marie Smith-led renovations to Dodger Stadium, which amount to: new hi-def scoreboards, ripping out the back rows of each section to add wheelchair seating and make for wider concourses, renovated restrooms, a new sound system, a bit more foul territory, and walkways over the bullpens. So, exactly the kind of low-profile but worthwhile enhancements you’d expect from Smith, who previously oversaw the renovation of Fenway Park.
The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin, though, can’t help noticing that unlike with Fenway, the Dodgers’ new owners are decidedly not saying that this means they’ll stay put at Dodger Stadium for the long run. Dodgers president Stan Kasten said yesterday: “Right now, we are here. I don’t know if that’s for 10 years, 50 years or 100 years.” To which Smith added: “This assignment is very different. … Whether the Dodgers are here for five years or 50 years does not affect the assignment they have given to me. The commitment to longevity is not a criterion of this investment.”
That doesn’t mean that the Dodgers are about to move, either — it’ll almost certainly take several years for increased revenues from the stadium improvements to pay back that $100 million cost, so they wouldn’t be doing this if they weren’t prepared to stay put for at least the medium-term. But it’d take several years to get a new stadium approved and built anyway, and with rumors still rampant about what else might happen at the Chavez Ravine site, you can understand why they’d want to keep their options open, just in case.