Renovate Without Ruining Dodger Stadium

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Do not take away the metal awning. Do not take away the Palm Trees known as the “three sisters”. These iconic Dodger Stadium features better remain intact when construction finishes at the park. These historic landmarks are just two of the abounding features that make the stadium feel like home. The classic 1962 aesthetic has remained a constant for 58 years; and fans are hoping Dodger president Stan Kasten keeps it that way. With the stakes high and time running out, Kasten has every park-goer’s highest hopes riding on this project. Those hopes being that he can strike a balance. Renovate without ruining Dodger Stadium.

Longevity is definitely something to be proud of. However, renovation could fix some of the flaws at 1000 Vin Scully Avenue. For instance, making the pavilion wheelchair accessible for the first time in the park’s history is good enough reason alone to renovate. That is a perfect example of how to renovate without ruining. Still, will the changes beyond that be for the better? Change can be good and the horizon does look bright. Especially with so many exciting additions announced. Let’s take a look at what fans have to look forward to; along with addressing some valid concerns.

New renovations at Dodger Stadium promise more accessibility, inclusivity, and an overall better experience.

A Great Way To Renovate

The best way to alleviate any worries about the changes is to listen to Dodger Senior Vice President of Planning and Development Janet Marie Smith. Smith, who’s been working on the project since 2015, is in great spirits when speaking about the renovation. In an interview with Alanna Rizzo for SportsNet LA Smith says, “Stan’s mandate to us has been ‘don’t mess up the postcard view’ but make sure it feels really current”. This is reassuring and sounds like they are moving in the right direction.

Smith also goes on to detail how inclusivity and access are top priorities. “There’s been a huge investment being made in the circulation here at Dodger Stadium. We’re building six new elevators, four new escalators, and connecting them all so that fans have ADA accessibility.” As long overdue as they are, making these changes is objectively good and the park is far better for it.

Fixing the Batter’s Eye-Sore Ruining Center Field

Inclusivity is just one part of what the new Dodger Stadium is offering. In the same interview with Alanna Rizzo, Janet Marie Smith addresses the biggest eye-sore in Dodger Stadium. That being the unsightly black construction site of a “batter’s eye” the Dodgers had the misfortune of calling their centerfield. Smith says one of the biggest changes in the pavilion will be “the fact that our ‘batter’s eye’ will no longer be a tarp, and a scaffold, and all this kind of crazy concoction of stuff, but a real structure that’ll have a very clean look.” The center-field eye sore is and should be one of the top priorities when it comes to renovation.

Fenway Park has the “green monster”. Wrigley Field has the ivy wall. Dodger Stadium has something its own VP of Planning and Development calls a “crazy concotion of stuff.” Changing this is a great way to renovate without ruining. It vastly improves the park. The classic zig-zag molded roof; the hillside lush green back drop of Elysian park; and the Hollywood sign-esque “Think Blue” letters. These beautiful, and iconic characteristics should share the stage with nothing less.

Renovate Without Ruining The Sound

Another disappointing aspect of the old centerfield pavilion was the outdated speaker. Fans will be pleased to know that the old cylindrical speaker will be replaced with a new sound system. Hopefully one that can keep up to with 56,000 Dodger fans screaming “Let’s go Dodgers!” Dodger Stadium had twenty sold-out regular season games last year. Whatever speakers they put in will have their work cut out for them.

More Ways That Renovate Without Ruining

Kasten couldn’t have chose a better diplomatic voice than Smith. Whether it’s the Jackie Robinson statue at the new main entrance, or doubling the the bathrooms in the pavilion, Smith speaks with an optimistic and reassuring tone, and for good reason. Even a cynic would find it hard to argue that the stadium desperately needs these changes. However, there have been parts of the vision that Smith has mentioned that does give rise to concern.

Concerns Over Ruining A Beloved Park

Doubts start to arise when Janet Marie Smith tells Alanna Rizzo, “People aren’t watching the game with scorecards like when the park opened.” One doesn’t see many scorekeepers in the crowd these days but they are still out there. It’s true that a lot of people do enjoy “milling around” but there are still countless fans who stay-put and dissect the game thoroughly. Dodger Stadium needs to make sure they renovate without ruining. Making these changes will improve the park. But not at the expense of the stat-obsessed stationary Dodger fans.

Dodger Stadium is the largest ballpark in all of baseball. There are a multitude of ways to enjoy and experience a Dodger’s game. There will be no judgment cast on whether the more casual social fans are better or worse than the more avid ones. Fans are fans. There are many ways to support the franchise. There is only one way these additions will be considered a success. That is if they increase enjoyment for all.

Renovate For All, Ruin For None

Year after year Dodgers fans bring record breaking numbers to the park. The organization owes it to all of them to bring an improved experience. That means keeping all types of fans in mind when making these changes. Increased circulation is a good idea as long as it doesn’t result in distracting those sitting and watching the game. Home run seats in the pavilion sound great but as long as they don’t allow fans to interfere with possible home runs. How well Kasten and his team perform this balancing act will determine the success of this project. Keep all types of fans happy, because if it wasn’t for the fans, there wouldn’t be a project.

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I grew up and currently reside in Chino Hills, CA. I went to San Francisco State University to study writing and english literature. I love playing music, going to concerts, spending time with my girlfriend, friends & family, and of course, going to Dodger games. And although I am a gigantic Los Angeles Dodger fan, I am a lover of baseball first and foremost. Whether they win or lose (I prefer they always win) there is always something to learn and appreciate from a honorably played baseball game.