When fans were welcomed back to Dodger Stadium for the 2021 season, there was plenty of cause for celebration. While the stands sat empty due to pandemic protocols during the 2020 season, the boys in blue brought home the 2020 World Series Championship trophy, and the 60-year-old ballpark got a $100 million facelift.
As one of the oldest and most beloved American ballparks, the Dodgers’ owners knew it was important to preserve the historical look and feel of the stadium while updating it with modern features and amenities. To that end, they hired the most accomplished and sought-after ballpark designer in the country, Janet Marie Smith. Smith’s body of work includes renovations of Baltimore’s Camden Yards and Boston’s Fenway Park, and converting the Olympic stadium in Georgia into the new home of the Atlanta Braves. Her masterful work on the Dodgers’ renovation project is a testament to her talent; the new features feel fresh and welcoming to fans while maintaining the midcentury modern design elements and integrity of the park.
“Dodger Stadium has always been and remains the most beautiful place ever built to play or watch the game of baseball, and these renovations will enhance every aspect of the fan experience with modern and family-friendly amenities,” Dodger President & CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. “This latest project continues to demonstrate ownership’s commitment to give a first-class experience to the best fans in baseball.”
If you’re like many baseball fans, a trip to the ballpark is about more than just the game. Each stadium has its own history and personality, and half the fun in being there is the opportunity to take it all in. Whether it’s getting there early to shop and check out memorabilia, grabbing a snack, or just taking a stroll to stretch your legs, there’s a lot to explore in newly-renovated Dodger Stadium:
Being billed as the stadium’s new “front door”, the new Centerfield Plaza spans two acres and includes unique offerings like an Airstream trailer turned into a baseball cap stand, a vintage ice cream truck, and a Dodger blue fire truck with taps for soft drinks and beer. The Gold Glove Bar displays the many Gold Glove Awards won by Dodgers players, as well as other awards including the 2020 World Series Trophy.
Other offerings include a Shake Shack, the Centerfield Overlook Bar, a beer garden, and a speakeasy in right field. There are lots of retail shops, food and drink, and new kids’ play areas throughout the plaza, including greater access for those with special needs. The new plaza also pays homage to Dodger history as the new permanent home of the “Legends of Dodger Baseball Plaques”, the Jackie Robinson statue, and a new statue of famed Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax.
Renovations to the Left and Right Field Pavilions include new restrooms, air-conditioned bars with views into the bullpen, the creation of standing room areas at the top of each pavilion, and enhanced ADA seating. New “Home Run Seats” just beyond the outfield wall promise to greatly increase your chances of catching a home run ball in your mitt. And a midway at the lower level of the outfield pavilions displays memorabilia and has interactive exhibits and games.
If you’ve visited the home of the Dodgers in the past, you probably noticed that it felt like three separate structures: the Left Pavilion, Right Pavilion, and stadium. Now, for the first time in its 60-year history, fans will be able to walk around the entire stadium. New elevators, escalators and bridges create a 360-degree connection so no matter where your seat is, you’ll have access to the whole park. The Left Field Pavilion, Right Field Pavilion, and Centerfield Plaza are all connected, and the new connections also provide easier access to the Dodger Stadium Express stop in Lot G.
The Dodgers’ organization is hailing their new PA system as the best sound system in major league baseball and it’s no wonder given the amount of time and money spent on the upgrade. Dodger Stadium’s new sound system was designed with fans in mind, ensuring that the National Anthem, play calls, organ music, and players’ walk-up songs can be heard loud and clear from any seat in the park. The redesign also took into consideration events besides baseball so Dodgers Stadium can continue to be an event destination in the off-season.
All images courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers