Any Hollywood icon born in 1962 is likely to have had a little work done—to keep things looking fresh. Dodger Stadium, the third-oldest venue in Major League Baseball, is no different. This past offseason, the Dodgers spent $100 million to spruce up the storied Chavez Ravine ballpark. “This was a major opportunity to upgrade this funky, fun 1962 building,” says Janet Marie Smith, the Dodgers’ senior vice president of planning and development. Smith, who has been with the team since 2012 and has a degree in architecture, gave us an early peek at the venue’s new amenities and features. “It’s less of a renovation in an architectural sense,” she says, “than it is a reimagining of how these buildings come together.” Construction crews are working to make sure all of the upgrades will be ready in time for Opening Day against the San Francisco Giants on March 26. Here’s a guide to the new, improved stadium.
Catch a Home Run
As always, if you want a decent shot at nabbing a long ball, grab a seat in fair territory near one of the foul poles: sections 51 and 53 on the left-field side and 50 and 52 along right field. These “porches” will put you in prime position to catch a deep fly ball.
Make an Entrance
For 58 seasons Dodger fans entered the stadium at their designated seating level. For 2020 a new entryway has been added for all fans, complete with statues of Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax. “At long last we gave Dodger Stadium a front door,” Smith says. “There’s now a welcome mat for fans visiting the park. [The area behind] center field will give us two acres of additional plaza.” Grab a seat in one of the outfield pavilions if you want close proximity to the new space.
Make a Quick Exit
The right- and left- field pavilions will put you close to the new center-field plaza entrance, where Metro buses will be picking up and dropping off passengers.
Tire Out Your Kids
For a child (and some adults), a baseball game can feel like an endurance test. So it helps that there’s a new location for kids to let loose. “Fans of all ages will have access to the batter’s eye [the area directly behind center field, where the batter looks],” Smith says. She notes that the 5,000-square-foot family area will have synthetic turf, a rubberized surface, and oversized baseballs. “It’s a place for kids to run around and engage in physical activity in a way that we don’t have space for in other parts of the stadium.”
Grab a Bite on Wheels
A staple of L.A. culture will now be a permanent fixture at Dodger Stadium. There will be three food trucks parked behind center field. One will serve Dodger Dogs, another will offer micheladas, and the third will scoop ice cream.
Walk It Off
Eaten one too many Dodger Dogs? Do a lap around the stadium, something that’s possible for the first time thanks to the relocation of the grounds crew equipment that was stored behind center field. “You can take in everything, from the glorious views of the San Gabriel Mountains from the top of the park to the new food o erings and kids’ area in center field, in one loop. The building was [originally] designed so that you’d enter on your level and stay on your level,” says Smith. “This is a radical rethinking of Dodger Stadium.”
Nab a Legendary Seat
For the third season in a row, fans can sit in the right-field seat where Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series Game 1-winning home run landed. Last season the seat went for $300; at press time the cost for this year hadn’t been set. Proceeds “go to the Kirk Gibson Foundation to raise money for Parkinson’s research,” Smith says.
Get Excited for the 2020 All-Star Game
On July 14 the All-Star Game returns to Chavez Ravine for the first time since 1980. “All-Star Game aficionados should work their way near the right-field foul pole,” Smith says. “We have an exhibit there that has a bat from every player that has appeared in the All-Star Game in an L.A. uniform since the team moved here in 1959, with the exception of about a dozen that we haven’t been able to get. We’re working on them.”
Snap a Selfie
“The original 1962 lockers that were replaced when we redid the clubhouse in 2012 are going to house memorabilia,” Smith says. “There’s going to be a row of them behind glass on display, and we’ll have one that you can sit in and take your photo.”
Chavez Ravine can get pretty toasty on a summer day. Get a seat in the back half of the loge level to avoid the sun.
Take in Some History
When we expand the gates around Dodger Stadium, that means that many of our former ticket windows will no longer be used,” Smith says. “The ones that will be retired are being used as display cases. They’re meant to be used as found objects.” If you see what looks like an old ticket window, walk up and take a peek and you’ll likely see some noteworthy memorabilia.
Forget the Stairs
Dodger Stadium is finally ADA compliant. “We have five new elevators for the 2020 season,” Smith says. “There is wheelchair seating in the pavilions for the first time. We’re thrilled about this.”
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The post An Early Look at What to Expect from a Newly Renovated Dodger Stadium appeared first on Los Angeles Magazine.