A report by MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick suggests that an unidentified bidder has reportedly raised the thought of selling the naming rights to Dodger Stadium, an establishment that will be celebrating it’s 50th birthday this season.
Why the idea? Well the investment bank that is marketing this bankruptcy sale has listed naming rights for the stadium among the varying value creation opportunities.
The thought has presented itself before, but was ignored because current owner Frank McCourt felt that the fans would simply ignore any changes.
How true is this fact? More true than most might speculate.
As many know Dodger Stadium lies on an area in Sulfir Canyon known as Chavez Ravine, a name stamped to the area after a 19th century Los Angeles Councilman named Julian Chavez. It was the home to many Mexican-Americans in the 1940s because of housing discrimination taking place in other parts of Los Angeles.
But with each passing year came the realization of Chavez Ravine being a prime spot for real estate. That was when a plan was developed by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander to construct a new city to be known as Elysian Park Heights. The project was set to include two dozen 13-story buildings and more than 160 two-story townhouses, plus renovated playgrounds and schools.
In 1953, all support was lost when the city elected Norris Poulson to be it’s next mayor. The housing projects were just memories. The properties were sold back to the City of Los Angeles from the Federal Housing Authority, who was to oversee the building of the community. The sole clause in the sale was that the land would be used strictly for public purpose.
The purpose would eventually become known as Dodgers baseball in Los Angeles beginning with the team’s migration from Brooklyn in 1958. On June 3rd of that year the team inherited 352 acres from the City of Los Angeles and rapidly begun construction on Dodger Stadium.
For fifty years this has been the home of the Dodgers. But for three seasons, the Anaheim Angels called Dodger Stadium home, referring to the park as “Chavez Ravine Stadium” in observance of the land and refusing to acknowledge the tenants of the stadium.
It was at Dodger Stadium that Sandy Koufax threw his Perfect Game, where Kirk Gibson did the impossible (as Vin Scully perfectly described it) and hit a walk-off home run against Dennis Eckersley and the Oakland A’s in the 1988 World Series, where Fernando Valenzuela would create the first “mania” known as “Fernandomania” (subsequent trends would include Nomomania and most recently Linsanity), where Eric Gagne mowed down teams en route to 84 consecutive saves, where Steve Finley sunk the Giants with a walk-off home run to clinch a playoff spot, where Russell Martin, Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew and Marlon Anderson connected on four consecutive home runs, and many more spectacular moments that simply do not do the stadium justice.