When Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, it was gem of modern architecture, capturing in steel and concrete the cool, Kennedyesque spirit of the time. You can just imagine the cast of “Mad Men” cheering in the stands, or better yet, having a gin and tonic in the Clubhouse. The ballpark was also notable for its setting, perched on an Elysian Park hilltop with commanding views of downtown L.A. and the San Gabriel Mountains.
But the stadium, once so cutting edge, is now the third oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, and fans have complained for years about the venue’s shortcomings: long lines at bathrooms and concession stands, cramped public spaces, shoddy cellphone and WiFi service, and a general feeling that Dodger Stadium lacked the bells and whistles of a new generation of ballparks, from Baltimore to San Diego. More recently, safety concerns have also cast a cloud over the ballpark. There were complaints about rowdy fans, and then came the 2011 beating of a Giants fan in the parking lot.
The new ownership team of the Dodgers wants to banish those memories with upgrades to the stadium, bringing this gem of mid-20th Century architecture into the 21st Century and emphasizing a family-friendly vibe at Chavez Ravine. Changes range from bigger public spaces at the entrances to the stadium to more restrooms and concession stands to state of the art scoreboards.
But how many of the renovations will still not be completed when the players take to the field for opening day. Just this past Tuesday, platoons of construction workers were hustling to complete their work, and big parts of the ballpark like the Top Deck entrance, were still very active construction zones.
More photos and audio from Dodger Stadium below: