Dodgers Unveil $100M Worth Of Off-Season Renovations To Dodger Stadium
Dodgers Senior VP/Planning & Development Janet Marie Smith along with President Stan Kasten yesterday "unveiled the scope" of approximately $100M worth of renovations to Dodger Stadium they "hope will be finished in the next 80 days," according to J.P. Hoornstra of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. The move is "less of an extreme makeover and more of an expensive modernization with the goal of preserving Dodger Stadium's character." The new features include "two new hexagonal video boards above the left- and right-field bleachers." Kasten said that it is "the first 1080 HD scoreboard to be installed at an outdoor major-league stadium." All existing message boards "will be upgraded to the same definition." There also will be "a new sound system which the team said will minimize echoes and sound migration outside the stadium." Sound now will "be piped into the concourses and bathrooms." Additionally, there will be a new WiFi network and cellular antenna system to "support cell phone and internet connectivity from mobile devices," as the new network will "feature 1,500 data points inside the stadium." Also in the plans are wider concourses and additional locations "for wheelchair-bound fans and their companions on all levels." There will be "expanded and renovated restrooms with 'substantially' more fixtures." New field level entry plazas and bullpen overlooks will "create standing-room areas with a view of the game." Moreover, both clubhouses have been "demolished and will be bigger than their predecessors." Both teams will "have their own batting cages and workout facilities." None of the renovations will "affect the outfield dimensions, although Kasten said there will be about six feet of extra foul territory in front of the dugouts." The center-field hitter's backdrop will "be less cluttered than before and might be painted blue instead of the current black" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/9).
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: In L.A., Bill Shaikin reports the Dodgers will "expand concourses by removing the last two to four rows of seats on each level." The Dodgers under a city permit are "limited to 56,000 seats, although that capacity was exceeded" when former Owner Frank McCourt "installed baseline box seats." The renovations are "limited not by what the new owners can afford but by what construction crews can accomplish in one winter." Kasten said, "We also left out about another 100 things." Smith said that the Dodgers "have enough space to accommodate whatever modern money-makers the owners might want to add -- for example, the shops, restaurants and team museum McCourt had proposed beyond center field" (L.A. TIMES, 1/9). MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reported the Dodgers will "go green by installing new water valves, low-flush fixtures, waterless urinals, hand driers, automatic faucets and new power and lighting energy efficient systems." Playground areas will be "created for children in the pavilion and Reserve Level that will include life-size bobbleheads." Smith said that the franchise's history will be "celebrated by displaying retired uniform numbers at the Top of the Park, giant World Series rings representing the six World Series championships and a display of Gold Glove, MVP and Cy Young Awards at the Dugout Club as 'an inspiration to fans and players'" (MLB.com, 1/8). In L.A., Steve Dilbeck notes Smith "previously worked" at Fenway Park, Turner Field and Camden Yards. She said that the difference in her charge this time was the others were "concerned with revenue-generating features, while this renovation was focused on improving the stadium for fans." Kasten said that he "was hopeful after the renovations have been completed, Dodger Stadium will be considered to host an All-Star game, something it hasn’t done since 1980." However, Kasten did "ask for some patience from fans during the first homestand or two" (L.A. TIMES, 1/9).