First look at redone Dodger Stadium shows Smith’s handiwork

The Los Angeles Dodgers home opener is today, which means the first opportunity for fans to check out the $100 million in renovations to Dodger Stadium that were done in the offseason. If you don’t have tickets, you can see a video here (though most of it consists of players batting in the new underground batting cage or team officials talking in front of a terrifyingly large bobblehead) or, perhaps more usefully, check out the graphics of the changes put together by the Los Angeles Times.

The Times graphics reveal a renovation that’s right in line with Dodgers renovation director Janet Marie Smith’s previous work at Fenway Park: Do everything possible to make the best use of space behind the scenes, while preserving the historic look and feel of the stadium overall. Fans like wider concourses and drink rails to watch the game without spilling their beers? Eliminate the back row of seats on each level, and make room for those. They want bigger, more hi-def scoreboards? Replace the current ones with new ones the same size and hexagonal shape as existed in the original stadium design in 1962, but with modern resolution. (As a side note, I also like how the Times graphics make clear that because it’s built into the side of a ravine, Dodger Stadium’s main entrances are actually level with the top deck of seating — something I never quite got until I visited the place myself.)

It all looks nice so far, and an example of how teams can get more use out of their current ballparks for a relatively low price. The Chicago Cubs should be listening, though given all the talk lately about them wanting to install a 6,000-square-foot video board at Wrigley Field, it sounds like they haven’t gotten the “unobtrusive” memo.

11 comments on “First look at redone Dodger Stadium shows Smith’s handiwork

  1. How about all video screen instead (see 4 photos) ?

    We may not be winning, but now we can see very fancy replays of why we’re not winning.

  2. Considering the snail’s pace at which most construction projects move, this is pretty amazing – in photos taken just a couple of months ago the entire bottom level of seats was gone so they could reconfigure the clubhouses, etc underneath.

  3. You can do a lot over the winter in Southern California. Or even not in Southern California — see how much the Red Sox did with Fenway over some recent offseasons.

  4. When I think of all of the 12 million unbelievably cool things that could have been done to retrofit Yankee Stadium…it makes me not want to watch baseball anymore.

  5. This is the best of all worlds. The last rows of seats in the field level were terrible anyway, so to replace them with standing room is pretty brilliant.

  6. I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority, but not everybody wants NEWER, SHINIER, BIGGER!

    Wrigley is pretty great the way it is. It might not completely maximize revenue for the Cubs, but Forbes has them 4th in revenue (behind only the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox), so their inability to put a winner on the field probably isn’t due to a lack of stadium-derived money.

    But new hi-def video screens and the like aren’t what every fan is after when they go to a game. I have a pretty nice hi-def TV at home. If I want to watch TV, I can stay there (and not spend $7 a beer). Heck, even the concourses behind the main stands wouldn’t need to be widened if people would just pay attention to where they are going and walk facing forward.

  7. Sure, they’ll use the screens for more ads and crowd “hydroplane races”. Maybe they’ll occasionally put up player stats too… doesn’t really help the game too much.

    Although, I can imagine the “fun” of being able to put up 12,000 sq ft of Mark Reynolds’ batting averages starting when he’s stepping up to the plate. :-)

  8. They’ve already added those. They’ve got some video screens they put up along the right field fence. I don’t think they use it for replays, but they do put the player stats up there.

    And yes, it is fun to see Cub after Cub with their sub-Mendoza-Line averages cycle through.

  9. Wrigley is a DUMP. I’m so tired of the nostalgia kick that some fans are on for the Dump that is Wrigley…nostalgia for what? The enjoyment of sitting in an antiquated stadium, watching DECADES of losing baseball?
    It’s not “great the way it is,” because today’s fans want and expect more…and the team wants to revenue streams that additional advertising and a reconfigured stadium could bring in…thus leading to more spending on payroll and development, and hopefully a (shocking!) winning team on the field!
    The cowtowing to the rooftop owners in the neighborhood is asinine…but the local alderman has received hundreds of thousands in lobbying money, so he is going to bat for the rooftop owners. Only in Chicago could you have a situation in which local businesses (rooftop owners) invest millions in developing extensive rooftops to essentially “steal” views of the game from another business, and then cry foul…and complain they could lose millions, if the Cubs are allowed to do what they want to do with their own stadium! It would be unbelievable, if not for the fact that this is Chicago…

  10. Dan:

    A) Re: “fans want and expect more”. Speak for yourself. As a fan (not of the Cubs specifically mind you), I find Wrigley completely acceptable the way it is.

    B) As I posted in my original comment, the Cubs are 4th in revenue in MLB (according to Forbes). So the ballpark has less to do with whether or not the Cubs can afford a winner than, say, giving ridiculous money to Soriano, or thinking some combination of Fontenot/Theriot/Barney/Izturis/Cedeño combination up the middle of the IF was good enough to win a pennant, or seeing Dusty Baker have Wood throw 120 pitches over and over again. Or Alex Gonzalez simply booting a routine ground ball.

    The Cubs were charging $80 for bleacher seats for games versus the Astros last year, claiming they were ‘premium’ games because it was on the weekend. That was two 100-loss teams. Without ads and super hi-def awesome video hologram boards that place is already machine for separating people from their money. Wrigley is not a hindrance for the Cubs winning. If they really thought they’d be better off in Berwyn or Hinsdale or Crystal Lake, they probably would have moved their by now.

    If you think it’s a dump, you’re free not to attend. As am I if they turn it into something not of my liking.

  11. There, not their. Ack.

    Or instead, I’ll claim the “asses” in “…they would have moved their (asses) by now” is implied, so the grammar is fine.