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Dodger Stadium

A panorama of Dodger Stadium.

Dodger Stadium is a large outdoor ballpark in Los Angeles, California at Chávez Ravine. It is located adjacent to Downtown Los Angeles. Dodger Stadium was privately financed at a cost of $23 million in 1962.

OverviewEdit

Dodger Stadium has been the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball team since 1962. The stadium hosted the 1980 MLB All-Star Game, as well as games of the 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, and 1988 World Series.

Built in the Los Angeles region of Chávez Ravine, the stadium overlooks downtown Los Angeles and provides breath-taking views of the city to the south, the green tree-lined hills of Elysian Park to the north and east, and the San Gabriel Mountains beyond the outfield pavilions. Player polls regularly rate Dodger Stadium's playing surface as one of the best in the league.

Dodger Stadium is the only current MLB park (excluding the most recently-built parks) that has never changed its capacity. It has always held 56,000 fans, due to a conditional-use permit limiting its capacity. Every time the Dodgers add seats, they always remove an equal number of seats in the upper deck or in the pavilion to keep the capacity the same.[1]

The stadium was originally designed to be expandable to 85,000 seats, simply by enclosing the outfield pavilion. However, the Dodgers have not pursued such a project.

A unique terraced-earthworks parking lot was built behind the main stands, allowing ticketholders to park at roughly the level that their seats are, minimizing their climbing and descending of ramps once they get inside the stadium. It was also designed to be earthquake-resistant, an important consideration in California, and has stood the test of several serious earthquakes.

One of the park's distinctive features is the wavy roof atop each outfield pavilion. Although beer was not available in the left field pavilion until recently, it is now available in both pavilions. Strobe lights were added in 1999; they flash when the Dodgers take the field, after a Dodger home run and after a Dodger win.

Dodger Stadium was one of the last baseball-only facilities built before the dawn of the multi-purpose "cookie-cutter stadium", or "concrete donut" era in stadium construction. Architecturally speaking, it has little in common with the concrete donuts; however, like the concrete donuts, it was built near freeways, away from the city center, to allow for placement of an expansive parking lot surrounding the stadium. With the construction of many new MLB ballparks in recent years, it is now the third-oldest park still in use (since the closure of Yankee Stadium at the end of the 2008 season), and the oldest on the West Coast. However, the Dodgers devote significant resources to the park's maintenance. For example, it is repainted every year, and a full-time crew of gardeners maintain the site. No plans are in the works to replace it. Renovations were made beginning in 2004 that initially added additional field level seats. After some criticism of the sightlines with these new seats, they were replaced with box seats.

As of 2008, Dodger Stadium is one of the minority of major league parks without a corporate-sponsored name; the others are Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Dolphin Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Turner Field, and Nationals Park.

For various reasons, Dodger Stadium, for a long time, once enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as a pitchers' park. At first, the relatively deep outfield dimensions were a factor, with the power alleys being about 385 feet (117 m). Home plate was moved 10 feet (3 m) toward center field in 1969, but that move also expanded foul ground by 10 feet (3 m), a tradeoff which helped to offset the increased likelihood of home runs caused by the decreased field dimensions. The extremely short outfield walls near the foul poles also make some balls that would bounce off the wall in other parks go for home runs. Also, during evening games, as the sun sets, the surrounding air cools quickly due to the ocean climate, becoming more dense, and deep fly balls that might be home runs during the day might instead "die" in the air for routine outs.

Recently, however, Dodger Stadium has actually been neutral with respect to home runs. [2] The stadium does depress doubles and triples quite a bit, due to its uniform outfield walls and relatively small "corners" near the foul poles. With some expansion of the box seat area and the removal of significant foul territory, the ballpark has become neutral for both pitchers and hitters alike. Baseball-Reference's Park Factor measurement of 102 for the 2006 and 2007 seasons is evidence of this.

Although the Dodgers have maintained that the distance to center field is 395 feet since 1980, it is still actually 400 feet to center, as has been the case since 1969. The two '395' signs erected in 1980 are to the left and right of dead center.[1]

With Citi Field having replaced Shea Stadium, Dodger Stadium is the only stadium with symmetrical outfield dimensions remaining in the National League and only one of four total in Major League Baseball. The other three symmetrical fields are Kauffman Stadium, Rogers Centre, and the Oakland Coliseum.

Pitchers such as Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton, Fernando Valenzuela, and Orel Hershiser became superstars after arriving in Los Angeles. The pitcher's edge is also evident in the fact that nine no-hitters have been thrown in the stadium, including two perfect games (by the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax in 1965, and by Dennis Martínez of the former Montreal Expos in 1991). Bo Belinsky threw the first ever no-hitter in Dodger Stadium on May 5, 1962 while pitching for the Los Angeles Angels. Thomas Matier was the first ever visiting pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Dodger Stadium.

The park's significant advantage was eroded somewhat in 1969, in general because MLB rules were changed to lower the maximum height of the pitcher's mound, and more specifically because the Dodgers moved the diamond about 10 feet (3 m) towards center field. This also gave the fielders more room to catch foul balls, so there was some tradeoff. Following the 2004 season, the stadium underwent a renovation which significantly reduced the amount of foul territory. Seats were added which were closer to home plate than the pitcher's mound, the dugouts were moved closer to the field, and previously open space down the foul lines was filled with new seats. To pay for an outstanding loan with the Dodgers former owner Fox News Corporation, current owner Frank McCourt (executive) used Dodger Stadium as collateral to obtain a $250 million loan[3].

Dodger Stadium was the first Major League Baseball stadium since the initial construction of Yankee Stadium to be built using entirely private financing, and the last until AT&T Park was built.

The 2008 season marks the Dodger franchise's 47th season at Dodger Stadium, two more than the number of seasons that the club spent at its storied ancestral home, Ebbets Field (1913-1957). Thanks to the 162-game season that coincidentally went into effect the year the stadium opened, adding 8 extra games (4 home games) per season, the Dodgers had surpassed the Ebbets Field game total by 2005, although they did not surpass the number of Ebbets Field seasons until 2007.

In the mid-1950s, team president Walter O'Malley had tried to convince the Borough of Brooklyn to construct a new stadium, complete with dome, to replace the woefully cramped Ebbets. O'Malley eventually got his stadium, except it was in Los Angeles and without a dome. With the replacement of RFK Stadium in 2008 and Yankee Stadium in 2009, Dodger Stadium will become the third oldest Major League venue in regular use, behind Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. Additionally, with the retirement of Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium, in 2009 the park claimed the title of being the largest capacity stadium in the Majors. The Dodgers organization previously played in the league's largest capacity venue from 1958 through 1961 at their temporary home, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which could seat in excess of 90,000 people.

The ballpark has had a good run of luck with rain. Prior to 1976, the Dodgers were rained out only once, against the St. Louis Cardinals, on April 21, 1967. That rainout ended a streak of 737 consecutive games without a postponement. The second home rainout, on April 12, 1976, ended a streak of 724 straight games. No rainouts occurred between three straight games from April 19-21, 1988, and April 11, 1999 - a major league record of 856 straight home games without a rainout. [4]

Famous players who have called Dodger Stadium home include Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Tommy Davis, Steve Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela, Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser, Mike Piazza and Manny Ramírez.

In addition to those of Drysdale, Koufax, and Sutton, the retired numbers of Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Tommy Lasorda, Walter Alston, Roy Campanella and Jim Gilliam are mounted below the pavilion roofs behind the outfield fence.

In a 2003 survey of Major League Players the playing field was voted the best in Major League Baseball.

Construction controversyEdit

The land for Dodger Stadium was purchased from local owners/inhabitants in the early 1950s by the City of Los Angeles using eminent domain with funds from the Federal Housing Act of 1949. The city had planned to develop the Elysian Park Heights public housing project which included two dozen 13-story buildings and more than 160 two-story townhouses, in addition to newly rebuilt playgrounds and schools.

Before construction could begin, the local political climate changed greatly when Norris Poulson was elected mayor of Los Angeles in 1953. Proposed public housing projects like Elysian Park Heights lost most of their support as they became associated with communist/socialist ideals. Following protracted negotiations, the City of Los Angeles was able to purchase the Chavez Ravine property back from the Federal Housing Authority at a drastically reduced price, with the stipulation that the land be used for a public purpose. It wasn't until the baseball referendum Taxpayers Committee for Yes on Baseball, which was approved by Los Angeles voters on June 3, 1958 that the Dodgers were able to acquire 352 acres of Chavez Ravine from the City of Los Angeles. Noted Los Angeles author Mike Davis, in his seminal work on the city, City of Quartz, describes the process of gradually convincing Chávez Ravine homeowners to sell. With nearly all of the original Spanish-speaking homeowners initially unwilling to sell, developers resorted to offering immediate cash payments, distributed through their Spanish-speaking agents. Once the first sales had been completed, remaining homeowners were offered increasingly lesser amounts of money, to create a community panic of not receiving fair compensation, or of being left as one of the few holdouts. Many residents continued to hold out despite the pressure being placed upon them by developers, resulting in the Battle of Chavez Ravine, an unsuccessful ten year struggle by residents of Chavez Ravine, to maintain control of their property.

The controversy surrounding the construction of the Dodger stadium provided the inspiration for Ry Cooder's 2005 concept album, Chávez Ravine. The album received a Grammy Nomination for "Best Contemporary Folk Album" in 2006.

The top of a local hill was removed and the soil was used to fill in the actual Chávez Ravine, to provide a level surface for a parking lot and the stadium.

A few years after the stadium opened, a minor land dispute arose. A nearby landowner claimed that a corner of his property had been paved over as part of the parking lot. He announced he was going to build a small hamburger stand on that small slice of property, selling "O'Malleyburgers", the buns to carry an imprint of Dodgers' owner Walter O'Malley, so that disgruntled patrons could "bite off his ear." Apparently a settlement was reached, as nothing much came of this incident.

Dodger Stadium was also the home of the Los Angeles Angels between 1962 and 1965. To avoid constantly referring to their landlords, the Angels called the park Chávez Ravine Stadium (or just "Chávez Ravine"), after the former geographic feature in which the stadium had been constructed.

Other notable events and settingsEdit

  • Just before the Dodgers' first game there in 1962, it was discovered that the foul poles were located entirely in foul territory. The Dodgers got special dispensation from the National League to keep the poles where they were for the 1962 season, but after the season they had to move the plate so the poles would be partially in fair territory as required by the rules.[1]
  • Birthplace of Emron Henry.
  • Dodger Stadium was used as the hiding place of the fatal disease in the 1965 movie, The Satan Bug.
  • The stadium was the site of a brief moment in the 1971 movie, The Omega Man, in which Charlton Heston was rescued by Rosalind Cash.
  • The Fleetwood Mac song "Tusk" was recorded and filmed at the empty stadium in 1979.
  • Dodger Stadium has also staged other sporting events such as boxing, a basketball game featuring the Harlem Globetrotters and a ski-jumping exhibition, as well as the baseball competition of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games.
  • The closing scene from the 1985 film Better Off Dead shows an aerial of John Cusack and his French foreign exchange student girlfriend Diane Franklin sitting on his black Camaro at home plate.
  • Pope John Paul II celebrated a famous Mass at Dodger Stadium on September 16, 1987.
  • The baseball scenes from The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!|the first Naked Gun film were filmed at Dodger Stadium, although the team represented in the film was the California Angels.
  • The stadium hosted the opening ceremony of the 1991 U.S. Olympic Festival.
  • Baseball games from Thursday April 30, 1992 to Sunday May 3, 1992 were postponed due to the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Three consecutive days of double headers were held later in the season.
  • Dodger Stadium was the site of media day for Super Bowl XXVII, played between the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills at the Rose Bowl in nearby Pasadena.
  • Dodger Stadium was also the site of "Encore - the Three Tenors", a 1994 concert reuniting internationally renowned tenors Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, conducted by Zubin Mehta.
  • This was the starting point of a popular reality show, The Amazing Race in its fourth season
  • A scene in which Paul Walker's character practices his street racing in the movie The Fast and the Furious was shot at Dodger Stadium.
  • In the opening scene of the 2003 movie The Core, the Space Shuttle makes a crash landing in Los Angeles after flying over Dodger Stadium during a game. Interestingly, the shuttle is shown flying from beyond the outfield toward home plate, which would take it from the inland toward downtown. In actuality, the shuttle's approach as depicted in the film would have taken it west to east toward downtown and not over Dodger Stadium.
  • Part of the 2006 film Superman Returns was filmed at Dodger Stadium, however a CGI backdrop for Metropolis was added behind the outfield.
  • In a scene from the 2007 film Transformers, an empty Dodger Stadium is depicted being hit by the Autobot Jazz's protoform, which crashes through the upper deck and lands in the outfield.
  • A scene from the 2007 movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was also shot at Dodger Stadium.
  • A Baby Ruth TV commercial seen in the summer of 2007 and in the post-season tournament, in which 50,000 fans are humming "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" due to their mouths being full of the candy bar, was shot in Dodger Stadium.
  • On November 6, 2008, Madonna is scheduled to perform at the stadium as part of her 2008 Sticky and Sweet Tour.
  • Many of the world's top rock bands have performed at Dodger Stadium, including acts such as The Cure, Kiss, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Michael Jackson (7 nights), David Bowie, Genesis, Eric Clapton, Depeche Mode (2 Nights), U2, the Dave Matthews Band and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The Police played at Dodger Stadium on their reunion tour.

Renovations under Frank McCourtEdit

At the conclusion of the 2005 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers made major renovations during the subsequent off-season.

The largest of these improvements was the replacement of nearly all the seats in the stadium. The seats that were removed had been in use since the mid-1970s and helped give the stadium its unique "space age" feel with a color palette of bright yellow, orange, blue, and red. The new seats are in the original (more muted) 1962 color scheme consisting of yellow, light orange, turquoise, and sky blue. Two thousand pairs of seats were made available for fans to purchase for $250 with the proceeds going to charity.

The baseline seating sections have been converted into retro-style "box" seating, adding leg room and a table for fans. Other maintenance and repairs were made to the concrete structure of the stadium. These improvements mark the second phase of a multi-year improvement plan for Dodger Stadium.

In 2008, the Dodgers announced a $500 million dollar project to build a Dodger museum, shops, and restaurants around Dodger Stadium.

  • Dodger Way - A tree-lined entrance will lead to a landscaped grand plaza where fans can gather beyond center field. The plaza will connect to a promenade that features restaurants, shops and the Dodger Experience museum showcasing the history of the Dodgers in an interactive setting.
  • Green Necklace - The vibrant street setting of Dodger Way links to a beautiful perimeter around Dodger Stadium, enabling fans to walk around the park, outdoors yet inside the stadium gates. This Green Necklace will transform acres of parking lots into a landscaped outdoor walkway connecting the plaza and promenade to the rest of the ballpark.
  • Top of the Park - The Green Necklace connects to a large scale outdoor plaza featuring breathtaking 360 degree views spanning the downtown skyline and Santa Monica Bay, the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains, and the Dodger Stadium diamond.[5].

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit


Preceded by:
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Home of the
Los Angeles Dodgers

1962 – present
Succeeded by:
Current
Preceded by:
Wrigley Field
Home of the
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1962 – 1965
Succeeded by:
Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Preceded by:
The Kingdome
Host of the All-Star Game
1980
Succeeded by:
Cleveland Stadium

Template:Los Angeles Dodgers Template:Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


Current ballparks in Major League Baseball
National League American League
AT&T Park | Busch Stadium | Chase Field | Citi Field | Citizens Bank Park | Coors Field | Dodger Stadium | Great American Ball Park | Marlins Park | Miller Park | Nationals Park | PETCO Park | PNC Park | Turner Field | Wrigley Field Angel Stadium of Anaheim | Comerica Park | Fenway Park | Kauffman Stadium | O.co Coliseum | Minute Maid Park | Oriole Park at Camden Yards | Progressive Field | Rangers Ballpark | Rogers Centre | Safeco Field | Target Field | Tropicana Field | U.S. Cellular Field | Yankee Stadium

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