My Very Limited Review Of ‘New’ Dodger Stadium
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.
The lines are separated by plastic chain link, but good luck trying to figure out where to enter and where to exit. It seems like a ploy to get you to spend more than you want. Once I got all that I ordered, I just limboed back under three rows of chain link and maneuvered through many people. Those lines felt like “Hotel California.”
“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
But no awesome guitar solo.
PRO: There are more concession stands and more choices for your palate. Upton entering, I saw a new Mexican-centric concession stand (I forget the name) that offered burritos and fish tacos, which is a first on this level.
CON: Some of the other new food choices shouldn’t have seen the light of day.
Four new hot dogs — “Extreme Loaded Dogs” — have found their way into the park. They are basically Mad Libs for food.
“The Heater” is a Dodger dog topped with (hurm) buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese slaw. Excuse me for a minute …
“The Frito Pie” has chili, cheese and Fritos. That sounds close to being edible.
“The Doyer Dog,” which I’ve seen sold on other stadium levels in previous seasons, has jalapeno, tomatoes, onions, and nacho cheese sauce. And is slightly racist.
Let me say right now: I am not a hot dog person. Not at a ballpark, not anywhere. I can’t tell you when I last ate a hot dog. At ballparks, I’ll eat burgers, pizza, garlic fries, ice cream and/or peanuts, etc., but I’m not much for tube meats. But on Friday, I took a risk.
I decided to try out another one of these Frankenstein creations, “The Big Kid Dog.” It’s a hot dog with macaroni and cheese, and Fritos chips, as the fetish of using Fritos as a condiment inexplicably continues. I wanted to try this thing because it sounded so disgusting, I had to figure out why anyone would think this would be a good thing to sell at a ballpark.
I thought it would be awful, and my assumption was correct. The chips were stale, and the whole thing just doesn’t mix well together at all. I guess I’m not a big kid anymore.
I’m also not a person who takes a picture of food, but you don’t want to see that mess.
PRO: After that cuisine adventure, a look into the brand-new bathrooms was required. The biggest difference is that the troughs are out and the urinals are in. This may lead to more lines, but I’ll take waiting a few extra seconds in exchange for peeing in a giant sink with 10 other guys at one time. The new bathrooms are also extremely well-lit. The previous bathrooms had the lighting of a back-alley drug deal.
CON: There was one pretty major problem with the men’s bathroom closest to me: There is not a clear sign letting you know that, yes, this is the men’s bathroom. Overhead, there’s a sign with an arrow that points toward the men’s bathroom that reads, “WOMEN.” Seriously.
The women’s bathroom is actually behind the men’s bathroom (or in front of it if you’re approaching from the right), but the sign points to what is the men’s bathroom. I actually stood outside for a minute and spied on what kinds of people entered each bathroom to ensure that I make the correct choice and don’t repeat the embarrassing mistake that I made in a Phoenix airport bathroom last year.
I am not the only one who has been fooled badly by this oversight. I saw at least three women walk into the men’s room before quickly realizing they made a wrong turn in Albuquerque.
@spokes_murphy heh, I walked into the men’s room once by mistake. All faces forward to the urinal/wall. No one even saw me!
— Gillian Bauer (@GillianBauer3) April 6, 2013
$100 million spent, but they forgot a $15 sign.
PRO: The two high-definition video boards, as seen in the picture above, are huge improvements. The board over the left-field pavilion dwarfs what used to be there. It definitely enhances the in-game experience.
CON: Those boards also overwhelm the in-game experience. There is just so much stuff going on, you end up with a headache. It’s like watching CNBC.
The screen in right field has each team’s lineup offsetting the sides. During an at-bat, in between those lineups and team logos, you will see:
The time, the batter’s picture, his stat line for that day, his season stat line (average, hits, home runs, RBIs, etc.), his career against the current pitcher, that pitcher’s balls and strikes count, his season stat line (ERA, walks, strikeouts), the speed of each pitch, and either the Dodgers’ website address, Twitter handle, or a trivia question that looks absolutely microscopic from the reserve level.
It’s a bombardment.
The changes are a plus when considered en masse. The video boards are still very attractive, and the bathrooms were in dire need of repair. I’ll be sure to give a wide berth to the new hot dogs; I’m feelin’ fish tacos next time out.
And did I mention 40+ disabled parking spots??
It’s going to be a good season at the ballpark, especially once some of the kinks get ironed out.