Besides more than doubling their payroll from 2012 to 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers also spent about $100 million on upgrades to every level of their 51-year-old stadium. Here’s a quick rundown of what those inside Dodger Stadium have been doing all winter.
I went to my first game at the refurbished stadium this past Friday as the Dodgers faced the Pirates. I couldn’t wait to see exactly what had changed around my seats on the reserve level, where I attend every game. It’s the best mixture of view and price, especially if you grab heavily discounted tickets off StubHub.
This isn’t a full review of the entire makeover, just everything I could see on and from my little area. I hope to explore more of the park in the 15-20 games I make it to later this season. But for now, here are the pros and definite cons of what a portion of $100 million bought.
PRO: I got to the stadium before the gates at parking lot B opened to give myself as much time as possible to see what awaited me inside. But the first good change was actually outside the stadium. The number of disabled parking spots have at least doubled from last season, big news for someone like me. As mentioned in the video linked above, the gates have been pushed back, a huge team store has been installed as well as a nice garden walkway. A couple of jumbo-sized, cartoon-looking Dodger figures will be popular among newcomers with a camera.
But seriously, there were, like, 40 disabled parking spaces in that one lot. In my mind, the $100 million was all worth it before I even had my ticket scanned
CON: The concession lines feel like a trap.
By now, you’ve heard about all of the staff aces who got blow’d up on Sunday. David Price, Cole Hamels, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Cain and R.A. Dickey all allowed at least six earned runs. And there’s that really cool note about how Cain’s performance — nine earned runs, all in the fourth inning — hadn’t been replicated in Giants history since 1902.
But the offensive onslaughts got the best of some other great pitchers, too.
Jered Weaver, Yu Darvish, Yovani Gallardo, and Ian Kennedy combined to give up 16 earned runs in 22 innings and compiled a WHIP of 1.86. None of them were as spectacularly bad as anyone in the above quintet, but all were much less than what we expect from them.
Even more, Johnny Cueto wasn’t exactly sharp in his duel with Strasburg. That Nationals-Reds game was tied, 3-3, in the top of the second inning, and Cueto allowed 10 baserunners through six innings.
If you want to be really nitpicky, you could throw Justin Verlander into this crowd. He was much better than many of these guys — 7.1 innings, three earned. But you probably expected more out of him at home versus this edition of the Bronx Bombers. You certainly didn’t expect him to get owned by Francisco Cervelli and Jayson Nix (5-for-7, HR, 3 runs, 4 RBIs). It was Verlander’s first home loss since June 3, 2012, against the Yankees. But at least that lineup contained Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixiera, Nick Swisher, so it was a little more understandable than Sunday’s struggle.
Between the nine starters who really got hit around, you’ve got 16 All-Star appearances and 14 finishes inside the top 10 in the Cy Young voting. But, no, it was Justin Masterson and Jhoulys Chacin who were near-untouchable today.
Baseball: It’s back, and it’s just nuts.
We have all witnessed gruesome injuries in sports on TV, the ones with limbs turned in positions that nature never intended. Just off the top of my head, you’ve got Joe Theismann’s near-iconic broken leg; Jason Kendall hitting the first base bag wrong in 1999 and suffering a dislocated ankle, which came through the skin; Shaun Livingston’s knee injury with the Clippers in 2007 that almost led to his leg being amputated; South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore’s leg dangled in the air after he dislocated his kneecap and tore three ligaments in a game last year.
That’s just what I could remember without looking. I refreshed my memory on a few more through searching. I don’t think anything will “top” what happened to NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk in 1989 when an opponent’s skate cut his carotid artery. He nearly bled to death on the ice.