July 29, 2013

Photo Essay: Dodger Stadium, A Brooklyn Team's LA Home

When you go to a baseball game, you actually get to see very little of the stadium you're in. You get ushered directly to your section, and even if you wander about looking for variety in the concessions, you probably never leave your own level.

And it's usually so crowded, you can't make much of the stadium out from the sea of people occupying it.

So it's nice to go take a tour on a sunny, game-free day.

Dodger Stadium in particular is interesting because it's the country's third oldest major league baseball stadium (behind Fenway Park and Wrigley Field), and, in its 52nd season, is the oldest baseball stadium in the West. By seating capacity, it's also the largest extant ballpark in the world.

Of course, its groundbreaking in 1959 was not without controversy, the residents of Chavez Ravine having been evicted in favor of the new sports complex. Given the uprooting that its construction caused, it's nice to see the mid-century marvel of civil engineering preserved and restored when necessary, rather then being demolished like Yankee Stadium.

It's also nice to watch a ballgame in a stadium named after the team that plays in it, and not a corporate sponsor (something it shares with Yankee Stadium).

Dodger Stadium's aging architecture is, of course, old enough to need a facelift every now and then, and some upgrades to deal with high attendance, like expanding the plaza inside one of the entry gates.

It's also nice to see that the Dodgers remember their Brooklyn roots as the "Trolley Dodgers" who played Ebbets Field, making them the only (?) team named after the fans themselves.

The stadium has great sight-lines, which means most of the seating is sun-exposed, offering very little shade for afternoon games, especially at the Top Level.

Dodger Stadium prides itself in retaining many of the architectural elements that make it unique, even when they renovate or build an addition. When the seats were replaced after the 2005 season, they removed the "space age" 1970s seats and replaced them with new ones in the more muted color palette of the early 1960s.

The yellow seats, farther down towards the infield, are cushioned.

When you take a stadium tour, you not only get to warm the visiting team's bench...

...and look out onto the field from the visitor's dugout...

...but also go right down onto the field...

...catching a glimpse of the home team dugout, which was getting some improvements on an off day.

Upstairs in the Vin Scully Press Box... get a particularly good (and shady) view...

...but if you go one level up... can have your own private party in one of the United Club Suites...

...if you've got the cash (and the friends).

All the internal hallways - those not lined with Dodger Dogs - are decorated with memorabilia... retired jerseys...

...lit-up logos...

...MVP awards...

...and trophies.

On the tour, we also visited the top-secret Visitor Clubhouse, the only area we weren't allowed to photograph.

Though I'm usually reticent to split my loyalties between coasts - either I'm here, out West, now, or not! - but there's something nice and comfortable about becoming a fan of the Dodgers, my home team now, fellow transplants from New York.

And it's a fun stadium to catch a ballgame in, even if I have to go by myself...

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Elysian Park, Beyond Dodger Stadium
Flashback: Yankee Stadium, In Progress (Circa 2009)
Photo Essay: Rose Bowl Stadium, Renovated Again, and Open for Tours!
Photo Essay: Barlow Sanitorium, Neglected

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