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SBD/April 2, 2013/MLB Season Preview
Dodgers Unveil Upgraded Roster, Venue, But Fans Still See Long Concession Lines
Published April 2, 2013
OFF WITHOUT A HITCH: In L.A., Jill Painter writes the Dodgers' opener was “an over-the-top affair, even by Opening Day standards,” and the fans “loved it.” Johnson last year “made headlines for sitting with then-maligned owner Frank McCourt right next to the Dodgers dugout in Petco Park.” But this year “there was no sign of the ugly past that had the Dodgers in bankruptcy court.” About the “only thing missing was a fighter jet flyover, which was probably canned because of governmental budget cuts” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/2). In L.A., Vincent Bonsignore notes “no major problems were reported” for the game. It marked the “ominous anniversary of the Bryan Stow incident,” and Dodger Stadium was “well protected with a noticeable -- although not over-bearing -- park security and Los Angeles Police Department presence” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/2).
RUSH HOUR: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth wrote the Dodgers' roster received “some notable upgrades" this offseason, but the “facelift that a fleet of fork-lift trucks and other earth-moving machines were able to pull off on Dodger Stadium over the winter is as equally if not more impressive.” The team during a five-month window “rushed through" a $100M+ retrograde. Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten said, "It's a Dodger Stadium as familiar as it's ever been, only it's much more comfortable and updated. All the changes are respectful of the vintage park that Walter O'Malley originally designed." Dodgers Senior VP/Planning & Development Janet Marie Smith said that the Dodgers researched L.A. city codes "required for restrooms in a building of such size.” They then “doubled the number of fixtures in all the men's rooms and increased by 50 percent what was mandated for women's rooms.” Smith said, "I'll eat my hat if we have lines for the restrooms after all we've done here." She added, "Mark's plan wasn't do just do one level at a time. We just went for it." And there is “still more to come -- including improved Wifi reception for cellphoners.” Smith: "We don't pretend we've done all we want to do. We just ran out of time for the time being" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/1).
MONEY MAN: Johnson said of contract negotiations with P Clayton Kershaw, “We let one man do all the negotiating and that’s Mark Walter, so he’ll handle that, that’s his role.” ESPN’s Dan Shulman added, “It’s not like the Dodgers have been shy about throwing around the money.” Hershiser said the “first number just became a ‘2’ as in two hundred million-plus” (“Giants-Dodgers,” ESPN, 4/1).